Undercurrents

Man, Woman, Man

Freeman never suspected that his strapping bride had been a groom four times, according to King. "Arthur was impotent," he says. "He smoked a lot and smelled bad, so we slept in separate rooms." In seven years of marriage, they didn't have sex, King contends, not once, never.

Freeman died of lung cancer in 1997. Andrea's first reaction was to redouble her efforts at being a woman. "I figured I would pick up the pieces and be more of a lady," King says. But Andrea overdid it with hormones, and her blood pressure shot up, landing her in the emergency room. She questioned her life and her sex change. She turned to prayer and joined the Catholic Church.

In 1998 King, whom his neighbors knew as Mrs. Freeman, stopped taking hormones, bought a closetful of men's clothes, and began surreptitiously cruising bars, trying to pick up women. "I just wanted to see if I could do it," he says.

And in 1999 he called Loudon. His timing was perfect. She'd spent the last 14 years in a loveless marriage, trapped in the mountains of North Carolina. Accustomed to being pampered and adored, she found herself married to a man who once gave her a set of tires for Christmas and washing machine parts for her birthday. "I had no friends," she says. "I didn't go out in 14 years."

They met again face to face, and she knew King was a changed man, or woman, as the case may be. "I saw it in his eyes," she says. Convinced her first husband was now and forever a man, Loudon ditched her second husband -- to whom she is still legally married -- without so much as a goodbye. "He went to work in the morning, and when he came home for lunch I was gone," she says.

Loudon moved in with King in Lake Worth, where the couple resided until they sold the place earlier this year for $58,000 and bought the motor home. When King got sick, they needed a more stable address and purchased a place at the Royal Manor trailer park in Boynton Beach.

Looking at King today, you'd never guess he still has a woman's plumbing. Sure he still has breasts, but he straps them down for performances. The Kings (Loudon has taken on that last name though they are not married) are a hit on the condo circuit, and they're booked, not solid but booked, through the season.

Because God set him straight, King now devotes his life to spreading the Word. Even his current stage name has its genesis in the Bible: David King is King David transposed. "I have a purpose in my life," he says, "and that is to help other transsexuals. If you find faith, maybe you can overcome these desires. Why go through something like this if you don't have to?"

Before he got sick, King told his story to eager media outlets including the Palm Beach Post, The National Enquirer, Inside Edition, and German TV, hoping to jump-start his career yet again. Now he's praying the publicity pays off in more mysterious, lucrative ways, because at $2500 a pop, the weekly chemotherapy treatments are quickly draining his savings. "If we can just get a book deal or get on Oprah, I figure the Lord will take care of us," he says.

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