If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that life can change in the blink of an eye, without any warning. With the rapid spread of COVID-19, this disease proved that social status, gender, etc. – none of it mattered because this virus showed no mercy to any one type of person. And sadly, Amanda Kloots experienced its wrath firsthand.
In the early spring of 2020, the Broadway Star and Tony Award Nominee Nick Cordero was hospitalized after feeling sick. With no pre-existing conditions and the picture of health, Nick Cordero and his family could have never guessed how quickly their worlds would be turned upside down over the course of the following 94 days.
It Was Love at First Song and Dance
They were both performers – and in the world of theatre, their paths were lucky enough to cross. Amanda’s professional resume includes being a Rockette and performing on Broadway, film, and TV for over 16 years. Nick was a trained actor and singer, and aside from being featured in major stage roles, he was trying to pursue a musical career of his own.
It was in 2014 that the two talents would finally meet. They were both featured in the musical Bullets Over Broadway, in which Nick was actually nominated for a Tony Award. But this would not be the beginning of their courtship, as Amanda was already married to someone else.
An Unexpected Relationship
When Amanda and Nick had met, she was still married to her first husband. “You could tell very quickly that Nick and Amanda were falling for each other,” the couple’s friend Caissie Levy said. “He just adored her and was totally wowed by her. She felt the same about him.”
At 32 years old, Amanda divorced her first husband and decided to take control of her career. The musical they were working on had finished, so Amanda began to launch her fitness company while Nick continued securing roles in shows like Waitress and A Bronx Tale. And this is when they began to pursue their dreams – professional and for each other.
A Rising Star
Up until 2014, Nick Cordero was a name that really wasn’t on anyone’s radar. Sure, he had been working for most of his life to make it big in the world of theatre, but it was his role in Bullets Over Broadway that finally got him the recognition he deserved. Zach Braff, who would later become one of Nick’s best friends, realized Nick was not only incredibly talented but incredibly kind.
Through their friendship and his outbreak role, Nick became more popular within the Broadway world and other celebrities. These friends with big names include Debbie Allen, Donald Faison, and Donnie Wahlberg. By 2016, Nick was lucky enough to have starred in four major Broadway shows.
From Friends to Forever
They started as coworkers, grew to become friends, and then fell in love. Following Amanda’s divorce from her first husband, Nick and Amanda became an item. And from the moment it all began, the two knew they were meant for each other – and Nick was ready to make it official. They were getting ready to celebrate Amanda’s birthday in 2017, and he knew there was no better present to give her than an engagement ring.
During their getaway to Woodstock, New York, he got down on one knee at a castle overlooking the Hudson Valley – what could be more romantic than this?! Later that year, they tied the knot in their beloved city of New York, 30 floors above Manhattan, at the ever-glamorous Skylark.
Soon to Be a Party of Three
Wasting zero time, Amanda and Nick started making the most of their new lives together. From celebrating birthdays, traveling, and making the most of their newlywed single life – they truly looked like they were living the fairytale so many of us wish for.
But the sweetest part in their newlywed bliss, was when they announced on Thanksgiving 2018 that they were expecting their firstborn child. Nick had captioned this picture on his Instagram account saying, “We’re extra thankful this year. Amanda and I are excited to announce that we’re having a baby boy!!!! Lil Cordero will be here June, and we couldn’t be happier. We’ve always wanted to be parents, so this is the greatest gift.”
A Star Is Born – Also Known as the New Elvis
After 56 hours of being in labor, Amanda popped out a seven-pound-fifteen-ounce Elvis Eduardo Cordero. Making their wildest dreams come true, little Elvis didn’t know just how lucky he was to have the most loving and skilled parents in the world. Nick’s costar Constantine Maroulis even said, “He was born to be a parent. They both were.”
In Amanda’s Instagram posts, she mentions how Nick said, “There was nothing better than having a sleeping baby on your chest.” And in a series of photos, that’s exactly where she would always find her two boys, snuggling, with Elvis resting on his dad. Unfortunately, those snuggles would only be fleeting moments for Nick…
Chazz Palminteri Provides a Celebrity Escort for Baby Elvis’s Arrival
Two years after they said “I Do,” Amanda and Nick would welcome the newest member into their two-person show. Making them parents and a trio, their son Elvis stole the show in June of 2019. In an interview with People, Amanda said, “I have wanted to be a mom my entire life. I would have 5 more kids if I could!”
As this rockstar had made his way into the world, it was nothing short of a coincidence that Nick’s friend – who just so happens to be the legendary Chazz Palminteri – bumped into the squad as they left the hospital. So, of course, the family had quite the celebrity escort on their way home, with Chazz as their personal chauffeur. How fitting for a family like this.
Celebrating a New Year of Life
Reaching new milestones, the time had come to celebrate Nick’s 41st trip around the sun. Although he had a three-month-old baby, that couldn’t stop Nick from living his life – a motto he always referred to and even wrote a song with that title. Gathering his closest friends and family, he rang in his new year of life at one of his favorite bars in Laurel Canyon, California.
According to Amanda, Nick’s birthday wish had come true. He was surrounded by his wife, son, his best friends, and had his health. At that point in time, there was nothing more he could’ve been thankful for. Amanda said that even after he blew out his birthday candles he said”
When it comes to Amanda and Nick, timing is everything. Every significant moment in their lives is cherished by the date that it happens – their individual Instagram accounts can attest to this. The day the picture below was taken, was the beginning of the next chapter of the Kloots-Cordero’s lives. These youngsters were about to become homeowners!
On this same day a year prior, they had announced that they were expecting Elvis to arrive within the following months. Pictured above, they had just found out that they were going to be closing on their dream home. They had always wanted to live in Laurel Canyon, especially on the famous Love Street. When the Zillow listing had popped up, it almost seemed too good to be true. Thankfully, the deal was sealed around Thanksgiving 2019.
Home Sweet Home in Sunny California
And on February 1, 2020, this little family paid their future residence its first official visit. While it was their dream home, they had big plans to make it even cozier – a place that truly reflected the essence of who they were. But before anything was done, they wanted to relish in this new moment and exciting journey. A quick snapshot of what was supposed to be their “before” photo prior to any renovations being done.
Seated on the floor in their living room, this picture and moment represented so much for the Cordero/Kloots clan. A fresh start, a new chapter unfolding as homeowners and parents, the place where the roots of their family would be planted. But only 2/3 of this trio would get to experience what life in this very home would be like…
Together, They Had the Fairytale Life
Together, Amanda and Nick had it all. It seemed like all the puzzle pieces of life had fallen into place. At least from the outside looking in, they had the fairytale romance and life that every person imagines for themselves. There was nothing that frightened the pair, as they always had each other to lean on. And every birthday and milestone was that much more important because it was something they experienced together.
This sweet photo was posted on Amanda’s Instagram on March 19, 2020 – her birthday. She had captioned it by saying, “Today is my birthday! I’m so thankful today for my family and friends! I’m thankful for our health, and the ability to all be together today. Nick and I love to dance, we love to sing, and we love to smile. Here’s to another year of doing just that!” This was exactly one week before she would realize this caption wouldn’t be true.
The Last Family Photo
While their lives were falling into place, the world around them was falling apart. It was March 2020, and the spread of COVID-19 had become a worldwide pandemic. In the midst of remodeling their new home, maintaining their careers, and trying to raise their nine-month-old son, everything had to shift to focus on surviving and staying healthy. Weirdly enough, Nick had a cold for a while that he just couldn’t seem to shake…
At the time, they could have never known that this picture would be the last family photo they would ever take together. After several weeks of being sick, they figured that what Nick had was more than just a head cold. Seeking medical attention, they headed off to the hospital to get a handle on what exactly was causing Nick to feel so ill.
A Misdiagnosis That Would Change Their Lives Forever
Due to the scare of the contagious virus, Amanda and Elvis weren’t permitted to enter the hospital with Nick. This would be the one thing that they couldn’t do as a family. So for over an hour, Amanda and her screaming baby patiently waited while Nick was having tests run and meeting with doctors to figure out what was wrong. But the waiting wouldn’t end there, as Nick would never leave the hospital.
At first, the doctor’s diagnosed Nick with pneumonia. So he had to be admitted to be treated immediately for this condition. But as days quickly passed, Nick’s symptoms were only getting worse. And what he actually had ended up being Amanda’s worst nightmare – Nick had the coronavirus. Day one of this fight had begun.
From Their Community to Strangers, People Internationally Were Rooting for Nick’s Recovery
Just like that, Amanda’s family was under attack, and her husband Nick was fighting for his life. Already having an online presence, Amanda used her social media platforms to document exactly what was happening during Nick’s hospitalization. Like so many others, this struck a chord worldwide – showing that the virus can happen to anyone, anywhere. And the world responded to Amanda’s call to action for prayers, positivity, and hope.
In hopes of synchronizing the universe with Amanda’s prayers, she started playing Nick’s song every day at 3 pm in hopes that Nick would know she’s thinking of him and wishing they could be together. Then neighbors had organized a band to play the song – a private concert to help keep Amanda’s faith alive. And everyone on the block sang along – while socially distanced.
There Was Never a Day That Amanda Didn’t Go to the Hospital to See Nick
Every day, Amanda went to the hospital to be with Nick. Whether she was permitted to go in for five minutes or could only get as close as the hospital parking lot – she was there. She would sing his song, speak to the open air as if he was there – because she believed it mattered and that in some way, Nick would know. Regardless of the countless traumas he had endured, she believed Nick’s spirit was still there and holding on.
Since his first visit to the ER on March 30th, Nick had been intubated, put on a ventilator, had two mini-strokes, and even had his leg amputated. Sadly, this is a shortened list of the complications Nick endured because of the coronavirus. Remember, prior to having COVID-19, he was perfectly healthy without any pre-existing conditions. It had been 38 days of him being hospitalized with minimal signs of improvement at this point in time.
Amanda’s Family Stepped up When She Needed Them the Most
As time progressed, it became harder and harder for Amanda to grasp this new reality. The fact was, her husband was in the hospital and would be for an unforeseen amount of time. Taking care of herself, their child, their home, and trying to care for Nick at a distance is more than anyone should have to deal with. Thankfully, Amanda’s mom, sister, and brother rushed to her side. They stepped in as chefs, cleaners, but most importantly, as family.
In an effort to keep their minds distracted and to do something entrepreneurial that honors Nick, Amanda and her sister got to work. Like the positive people they are, they look to inspiring messages to get them through the hard times and thought others could benefit from this too. Thus, “HOORAY FOR” was born. A t-shirt business developed by the Kloots girls that display uplifting words on a classic white tee.
The Final Countdown
The days had turned into weeks and eventually into months. Time was passing, the world was spinning, and Nick was still in the hospital. During all of this, Amanda’s updates on Nick’s situation had gone viral and reached millions. Everyday she was flooded with messages, songs, and gifts from people who both empathized and sympathized for Amanda and Nick.
From neighborhood drive-by’s, mini-concerts, and posters saying #WakeUpNick – Amanda was surrounded by so much love. But the love she wanted the most couldn’t be there. With so much encouragement from all corners of the world, only time, science, and medical attention could contribute to Nick’s potential recovery. And even with those things, a recovery couldn’t be guaranteed.
Gone but Never Forgotten
After a brutal 95 days, Nick left this world on July 6, 2020. Surrounded by family and friends, they sang and prayed for him in his final moments. Taken far too soon and by surprise, the world had lost another amazing father, husband, performer, and friend to the coronavirus.
Celebrating his life, Amanda held a small memorial for people to share their stories and reminisce on their best memories of Nick. Commemorating their love of arts and theatre, the song I’m Here from The Color Purple was played as a moving moment for the words to resonate with those that were present. Nick may be gone, but it would be up to Amanda and Nick’s loved ones to make sure that his spirit would always live on.
Through Stardom and Strife, Amanda’s Rockette Sisters Are Always There When She Needs Them
More than a month had passed, and the grieving process was far from being over. Amanda’s family had been by her side since Nick was hospitalized, but they, too, had needed to return home. Though it seemed scary, it was time for Amanda to start understanding what life would be like for just her and Elvis in their new home without Nick.
Luckily, Amanda’s friends and Rockette sisters showed up just in time. There was no way they were going to let one of their best girls cry alone. For what was supposed to be her first weekend on her own, her friends had put everything on hold to be with their fellow dancer. It was a weekend full of emotions, but it reminded Amanda that so many people will always look out and care for her and Elvis.
Like Father, Like Son
Losing a loved one is never easy, especially when you’ve only had three years of life to spend with one another. Just as their life was starting, it came to an end. But that doesn’t mean that Nick would no longer be a part of the family he had helped create. And Amanda was never going to let Elvis forget exactly who his father was.
With talent like Nick’s, the world of Broadway would remember his legacy forever. With his breakout role in Rock of Ages, that was just the start to put Nick on the map. So it was only deemed fit to have his legendary outfit from the show recreated for his son to rock. A small and sweet reminder that Nick would always be close by.
Nick Will Never Be Too Far From Elvis; Especially Thanks to This Customized Teddy Bear
But having a matching wardrobe as his dad wasn’t enough. Amanda wanted the home to be filled with keepsakes of Nick, so that as life continued to happen, it would be like Nick was right there with them, every step of the way. Losing his father at just one years old, Elvis might not be able to cherish any memories of his beloved father, but he would have enough memorabilia to always feel his presence.
Most babies might have a special blanket or pacifier, but Elvis has the most special stuffed animal in the world. Before Nick would get ready for a performance, he always wore one robe to get ready in. One of Amanda’s close friends repurposed the robe into a memory bear for Elvis to have with careful handling and thoughtful design. He may not be able to lay his head on his dad’s chest, but a part of his dad will always be close by.
Their Dream Home Would Always Be Incomplete Without Him
Before Nick had passed, he and Amanda had worked on the redesign of their house together. Everything from the color schemes to furniture placements – they did as a pair. But Nick would never get to see how it all came together or be a part of raising his family in this house.
Covering the house in Nick’s momentos will never be enough to replace his presence, but it’s the best Amanda can do to feel close to him. And with all of Amanda’s followers whose hearts ached for her, they tried to shower Amanda in keepsakes as well. With Nick’s hit song “Live Your Life” becoming the motto for this whole experience, someone had customized this rug and sent it from India to be put in her Love Street home.
Amanda’s Fitness Career Has Taken Off
Moving on will never be easy for Amanda, but it’s the only to stay focused on doing what’s best for her and Elvis. While she may have lost Nick, she gained a skyrocketing fitness career. Today, she has over 650,000 Instagram followers that tune into her daily workout routines.
Not only is Amanda’s business and physical fitness something to commend, but it’s her optimism and positivity that never wavered throughout Nick’s hospitalization. This alone is the sole reason so many people were drawn to Amanda. Because even in the worst of times, she chose to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And for her, staying active and moving her body was the best kind of medicine to help keep her happy thoughts flowing.
And She Became a TV Co-Host
When it comes to Amanda’s successes, we’re here for all of them! While she’s currently managing and running her own fitness program, she wasted no time in securing another side hustle. At the beginning of 2021, Amanda became the newest co-host for The Talk on CBS.
Now, this makes sense! She’s gorgeous, well-spoken, and has always had a tremendous stage presence – of course; she should be back in front of an audience regularly. Whether it’s talking about pop culture or current events, you can catch Amanda and a panel of other familiar faces chatting it up every week from your TV screen.
A Little Bit of Nick Can Be Found in Their Handmade Artwork…
They may have said their final and formal farewells back in July, but that could never keep them separated from Nick. Instead of having a traditional burial, Nick’s body was cremated. While some people might keep the ashes in an urn on the mantle or maybe spread them amongst nature, Amanda got creative on what she and Elvis would do with Nick’s remains.
One of Amanda’s close friends owns a pottery business in Los Angeles and had actually invited Amanda and Elvis to create some pieces using Nick’s ashes. This was a first for both Amanda and her friend, as this had never been done before. But the friend truly wanted Amanda to have something unique and special using the ashes, and it worked. Amanda even said that it was “A way to turn something sad into something joyful.”
And in a Special Piece of Jewelry That Will Be Passed Down to Elvis
But the craftsmanship didn’t stop at the pottery making. Amanda was always a huge fan of the work of Stephanie Gottlieb, a renowned jewelry designer, and curator. Nick knew this and would turn to Stephanie whenever it came time to get Amanda some bling.
So naturally, Nick had Amanda’s engagement and wedding ring customized by Stephanie. But now it was Amanda’s turn to go to her. So in December, Amanda received her best present yet. A ring that was specially designed using some of Nick’s ashes, his birthstone, and had his initials engraved. For now, this is another ring that bonds Amanda to Nick. But once Elvis is older, it will go to him.
Nick Was Here – and Amanda Will Make Sure That Elvis Never Forgets It
As important as it is to have memories of Nick covering her home for Elvis to see, there’s so much more of Nick Cordero that can be found all over this world. So even when Elvis leaves the house, there are still places he can go to walk a day in his dad’s shoes. The Bourbon Room in Hollywood just happens to be one of those places. And Amanda thought it was about time to take her son to see his dad’s old stomping grounds.
This was the last stage that Nick Cordero ever performed on. When Elvis and Amanda arrived at the theatre, Elvis did not want to be put down. But eventually, he ended up not wanting to leave the stage. The Bourbon Room employees were giving Elvis a standing ovation, like the one his dad used to get after an epic performance. Although Elvis would never see his dad perform, he seemed to fill his shoes quite well during the visit.
Their Story Is Now Published for the World to Know
Amanda and Nick’s love story may differ from The Notebook, but it’s just as heart-wrenching as any movie or book we’ve ever known. And it’s real. Transposing her posts into words, Amanda, with the help of her sister Anna, wrote Live Your Life: My Story of Loving and Losing Nick Cordero.
It’s really chilling when you think about it. Almost one year to the day that Nick got sick, Amanda received the first copy of her memoir about Nick. A year that she could never have predicted would end in tragedy. A year that started with her husband by her side but was only left with pages and pictures of what he had left behind.
Living Their Lives Without Nick
Taking it day by day – that’s exactly what Amanda is doing. Growing stronger, loving harder, and clinging to every memory she can of what life was like before Nick. Her grieving process will be timeless, but her journey is never-ending. Amanda continues to be a light for herself, her family, and for those that experienced similar pain because of this virus.
It’s people like Amanda that give us hope and truly inspire those around us. As she celebrated her first birthday without her husband by her side, she said the following, “Life is precious. Time is precious. Health is precious. Treasure it all and don’t take it for granted because it’s the best birthday gift you can give yourself and to anyone.”
Amanda Got Vaccinated
Once the news started to spread about the release of a precautionary COVID-19 vaccine, the world finally began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately for Amanda, that light seemed pretty dim. It was too late for her; she had already lost the love of her life to this awful virus. She couldn’t help but question, what if the vaccine had been created before? Would Nick still be here today?
Nearly seven months after Amanda said her last goodbye to Nick, she was able to join the world in becoming vaccinated. On her Instagram post, she captioned it, saying, “I cannot tell you how emotional I was and still am right now. I had Elvis beside me and “Live Your Life” playing in the car. I have been terrified since Nick has passed, as a single mother, of getting this virus, and now I am one step closer to safety.”
She Used Her Platform to Encourage Others to Exercise and Vote
While Amanda has been able to reach her fitness fans and followers virtually, there’s nothing she loves more than teaching in person. Yes, you can still correct form and connect with others behind a screen, but there’s nothing that can replace an in-person experience. With elections around the corner, Amanda wanted to do something extra special to not only have people exercise but to encourage them to exercise their right to vote.
Partnering with Gigi Caruso, these two boss babes hosted a socially distanced workout class that was sponsored by Self Magazine and the “I Am A Voter” campaign. Together, they were able to do something that focused on health and wellness while motivating everyone to get out there and vote.
The 2021 SAG Awards Honored Nick Cordero in Memoriam
In 2020, the world suffered tremendous losses. People said goodbye to their friends, family members, and even some of the world’s most adorned idols. This year at the 2021 SAG Awards, everyone stopped to reflect and honor the actors that were lost – and of course, Nick Cordero was on this list.
Amanda was so moved knowing that he was being recognized, even almost one year since his passing. She shared her emotions on Instagram by saying, “I want to send a huge thank you to the SAG Awards for honoring Nick in the in memoriam last night. It meant the world to me to see his name and picture up there. Nick loved acting and being an actor.”
Nick Took Every Opportunity He Could to Connect With the People Who Inspired His Career
When Nick was earthside, he loved to perfect his craft at any chance he could get. Whether it was practicing making music or studying monologues and different character roles, he always looked forward to the next audition and opportunity to be on stage. And in an industry where it’s all about who you know, Nick made sure to keep his networking skills just as sharp as his theatrical ones.
Over the years, Nick connected with various stars, including Debbie Allen, Bernadette Peters, and especially Andrea Martin. When it came to Andrea, there was no bigger role model that inspired Nick. He even had said that “This woman’s been making me laugh most of my life, and what’s best is she couldn’t be a kinder human being.”
Wearing Nick’s Last Costume, It Was Like the Show Would Still Go On
From time to time, Amanda likes to visit places that Nick would often frequent. It’s as if she’s experiencing what a day in his life was. Recently, she went to The Bourbon Room, which ended up being the last stage Nick ever performed on. And for just a moment, she popped into the dressing room. When she walked in, it was like time had stood still.
Everything had been left untouched as if all the cast members were set to return any day. Though the pandemic still looms over everyone’s head and live performances are yet to be rebooked, she had to know what it felt like to be Nick at that moment. So she slipped on his final costume and immediately felt his presence. No wonder the jacket had huge angel wings, for her very own angel.
Their Home Is Supposed to Be a Place of Happiness, So She Decorated It Accordingly
For someone who has undergone such an immense loss, Amanda always has a smile on her face and a positive outlook on life. Her strength is so admirable that her fans and strangers alike can’t help but follow her on social media for a source of light amongst their own sadness. But being positive is part of Amanda’s mantra and incorporates it into every aspect of her life – even her own home.
From the moment you walk up to Amanda’s home, it automatically warrants a smile. She painted her front porch with several colors that made up a small rainbow. She loves colors, and these can definitely brighten any day. To the left of the front door, a star is painted within the stripes, which is symbolic for Nick because he always will be her rockstar. Although Nick would never live there, he would always be a part of their home.
Her Latest Therapy Regimen Includes Horseback Riding
Despite maintaining her positive outlook on life, Amanda is only human. She has her fair share of dark days, just like anyone else. But in order to stay strong for her son and herself, she is taking all the right steps to grow and heal during her grieving process. Most recently, Amanda has added horse therapy to her routine.
With a quick scroll through Amanda’s Instagram profile, you’ll find quite a few pictures of either her or her son Elvis spotted with a horse. So it’s no surprise that horse therapy is now not only something that makes her happy but a source of energy and release for her emotions. She said, “Horses are magical animals, and riding through the hills of Malibu while looking at the ocean is truly healing.”
The One Tool That Has Helped Amanda on Her Toughest Days
Since Nick’s passing, there have been so many first moments that Amanda has had to experience without her husband by her side. Her first birthday, their first anniversary apart, and unfortunately, so many more. If Amanda can get by, what is the magic force that’s driving her?
It may seem simple, but it’s easier said than done. Amanda just tried to “focus on getting through and asking for help.” Instead of ignoring her emotions, she embraces every feeling, honoring it. And she also is no longer afraid to ask for help and lean on her support system. Without the constant love from her friends and family, this would be a lonely journey for her.
Fans and Followers From All Over Showed Their Support Any Way They Could
Even before Nick had taken a turn for the worst, the world was reaching out to Amanda and her family to show support in any way possible. From video clips, singing songs, sharing tips, and sending presents – they were trying to make up for the missing piece of her puzzle. But the most beautiful thing she had received was the artwork featured below.
Prior to Nick’s diagnosis, they had done one final family photoshoot. An artist, Shani Levin, came across this photo and wanted to do something special to recreate the moment with her acrylic painting craftsmanship. With careful strokes and an eye like no other, Shani recreated one of the most special and final moments the family would have together.
Now, Sundays Are for the Family
Growing up, Amanda’s father would sometimes surprise her and her sister’s by doing something fun. This would become known in the Kloots’ family as an “Uncle Wiggly Adventure.” It would be pre-planned by her dad but a complete shock to the Kloots women and always meant that they would be spending time together. With Nick gone, it reminded Amanda that even though her family had downsized, it was as important as ever.
Now, Amanda dedicates every Sunday to doing something fun with Elvis. And if one of her family members is able to go along for the ride, it’s just an added bonus. From beach trips to hiking excursions, the activities range far and wide – but the focus is always the same. Family comes first, it always has, and it always will.