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Tyler performed softcore for a year and a half before porn stars Celeste and Ashlyn Gere convinced Tyler to enter the hardcore industry.
Tyler did only lesbian scenes at first. Her first on-screen girl/girl scene was in American Pie (1995). This was followed by a scene with her real-life longterm off-screen lesbian lover at the time, Jenna Jameson, in VR69 (1995). Her relationship with Jameson is documented in Jameson's autobiography. The two were together off and on for several years, and reportedly remain close friends to this day.
She was rewarded for her success a few months later with her own exclusive Vivid contract. To improve her popularity, Tyler obtained breast implants. She also began to work with male porn stars such as Rocco Siffredi in Nikki Loves Rocco (1996). Nikki Tyler retired from the porn industry in 1999. However in a 2002 interview she claimed she never retired. Her website has not been updated since 2004 and now points to Jack's Playground.
According to Jenna Jameson's autobiography, Nikki lives in California with her husband and young daughter. The autobiography also states Tyler has had two other lesbian relationships, one with Jesse Jane and the other with Briana Banks.