Fresh off the heels of the award-winning One Night in Miami and their Freeform series Love in the Time of Corona filmed last year amid the pandemic, actors and off-screen couple Leslie Odom Jr. and Nicolette Robinson are teaming up yet again for another project but this time, it's much more personal. Ahead of Father's Day on Sunday, the couple is partnering with Bayer Aspirin for the Your Heart Isn't Just Yours campaign celebrating heart attack survivors and their second chance at life, including individuals like Robinson's father Stuart K. Robinson.
Releasing the duet "Second Chance" that also uses Stuart's heartbeat as a guiding rhythm, Odom revealed to PopCulture.com while he and his wife of nine years "love working together," the partnership was also an opportunity to open up serious discussions between the two of them. "This was a chance for us to have some conversations that we hadn't had," Odom told PopCulture. "About the trauma of it and about the experience, so it wasn't too difficult or taxing. 'Second Chance' was not only writing about the second chance for Stu, but it was really a second chance, another chance for us to look at what the experience was like."
In what could have been considered kismet, Odom reveals when he was approached by Bayer Aspirin, he mentioned his "personal connection" to the campaign and how his father-in-law had a "major heart event a while back" that not only changed Stuart's life but their entire family's. "He has four stents now in his heart and — doctor-directed — takes a Bayer aspirin every single day," he said, admitting Stuart had to change his eating and fitness habits as well.
"This was a chance though, for us as a family — and I don't think we're unique in this — but we really haven't talked about it since he went through it. We kind of — I don't know, out of superstition or whatever — we kind of just put it behind us and just got out of there as fast as we could. But this was a chance for me to ask Stuart some questions I'd never asked him about. Going into that surgery and how he was feeling and ask my wife about how she was feeling. So it was a wonderful little healing thing that we got to do with Bayer."
Odom hopes this campaign alongside the song he wrote with Robinson honoring heart attack survivors will "serve as a reminder" for everyone. "The way Stuart's cough was for him, it was a cough that got him to the doctor to have that cough looked, checked out was what led them all the way to his heart," he said. "Maybe this will be that reminder for somebody to take care of yourself and not just for you, but for the people that love you."
Stuart's health scare not only put Odom's father-in-law's wellness in perspective, but the Hamilton actor admits it also opened the door to his own self-care and accountability. "I had to change some things around my diet, cut out processed foods completely. I still do the Sriracha, which you know and some of my sauces, like soy sauce. But anyway, besides that, [I] cut out processed foods mostly," he said, revealing the family also got a treadmill and thankfully live in a beautiful neighborhood that drives him to remove all the excuses to go out and be active.
Admitting how he's "either on the treadmill or walking the kids every single day" in light of leaving Broadway, which was almost "24 hours" of complete activity, Odom stresses he is "trying to get some of those hours back of cardio in my life," but is not "totally comfortable" doing the hiking or biking thing just yet like they used to do. "The Peloton and the treadmill is really about removing the excuses because I got to stay healthy no matter what."
According to information collected by Bayer Aspirin from the CDC, a heart attack occurs in the U.S. every 40 seconds and per the American Heart Association, nearly 1 in 4 heart attacks happen to people who have already had them. With the hopes to inspire people to talk to their doctors, Bayer Aspirin wants to further educate heart attack survivors, and their families on the importance of sticking to your aspirin regimen, if one has been recommended by their doctor. While aspirin is not appropriate for everyone, be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin such a regimen. For more information on Bayer Aspirin, head to their official website.