Things You Might Not Know About Jon Bon Jovi And Dorothea Hurley’s RelationshipPublished on July 19, 2018. Updated April 22, 2020
John Francois Bongiovi Jr., aka Jon Bon Jovi, has been one of the world’s most popular rock stars for decades, but he and his wife Dorothea Hurley have defied the odds when it comes to rockstar marriages and have been going strong for almost three decades. Despite being one of the most popular couples in the music industry, there is still a lot that fans don’t know about them. Three decades of marriage has brought the pair through all of the highs and lows of fame which have made for many challenges and also triumphs for the couple. Here are 12 things you never knew about the amazing couple and their relationship:
12. How They Met
Like so many other couples, John Francois Bongiovi Jr. and Dorothea Hurley met in school! The adorable pair first met back in 1980 when they were in the same history class in high school, and at the time Hurley was actually dating a friend of John’s. “I was doing nothing to help my studies along,” Bon Jovi recalled later. “It started with just trying to look over her shoulder at test answers, to making small talk.” After Hurley’s boyfriend enlisted in the Navy, however, things changed between the pair and he didn’t wait too long to make his move. “He left town, and hey, you know the five-second rule when you drop a piece of toast on the ground? I gave him three weeks. We started dating, and that was the end of that,” the rocker shared.
11. The Breakup
Although the two have most definitely been in it for the long haul, the pair did have a brief split in the mid-’80s. Four years into their relationship, the pair broke-up just as Bon Jovi was heading into stardom, and the rocker began dating actress Diane Lane. His romance with Lane only lasted a short while as she also reportedly began dating Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora, and John and Lane’s fling was over by 1985. He later revealed in an interview with Behind the Music that he knew he only wanted to be with Hurley and shortly after his breakup with Lane tried to win her back. “I went to her mom’s house, and did the whole, you know: ‘You’ve got to come with me. I wanna be back together [thing].” He joked, “And she fell for it.”
10. Business Partners
Although they have been married for nearly 30 years, the rocker and his wife are more than just romantic partners. The pair are known for their philanthropic efforts and together run the JBJ Soul Kitchen which encourages a “pay it forward” system. “When you come into this restaurant, there are no prices on our menu. So if you are in need, you participate,” Bon Jovi explained. “And that means bussing the table, washing a dish, working in our gardens. If you are here to just enjoy a meal and affect change directly by buying a Pay It Forward card, you are paying for your meal and for someone else’s that are here in the restaurant or are going to come tomorrow, and you don’t know the difference between who are in need and who are not in need.” Additionally, in 2006 they started the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation which has helped to build 500 affordable housing units, and when it comes down to it Bon Jovi says it is all thanks to his wife’s hard work. “My wife does all the work and I get all the credit,” he joked.
9. His Dark Days
To many, Jon Bon Jovi has always seemed like the poster child of being famous yet humble and down-to-earth, but behind his charm and infectious grin, things have not always been easy for the star, and it was his wife who helped him through. In a 2016 article, the rockstar opened up his “dark days” including some of his worst which were from 2013-2016 after his longtime friend and guitarist, Richie Sambora, just up and quit the band without notice. “There was a lot of darkness really,” he said. “I was going through a difficult period and it felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders.” He continued, “It was a very, very difficult time that I haven’t fully rebounded from yet but my wife has been phenomenal. Without her, I am not sure how I would have coped.” After going through such difficulties following Sambora’s abrupt exit and the end of not only their working relationship but their friendship, Bon Jovi was reminded of another dark time in his life back in 1991 after the release of “Slippery When Wet” when he contemplated jumping out of his moving car. “I am not ready to share it in full but it was not pretty,” he admitted. “But I am working towards it. It was similar to that period in retrospect. I found acting at that time which gave me a release. There was no release this time around but there were just as much difficulties.”
After getting together in 1980 and then breaking up and getting back together, Bon Jovi was soaring to stardom by 1989 and he decided it was time to make things official with his longtime girlfriend. Instead of a big grand proposal, the rocker basically decided to skip that part. “It was 1989 and our album New Jersey was out. We had the No. 1 album, the No. 1 single, and we were playing three nights at the Forum in L.A. We were staying at the St. James’s Club, which is that beautiful art deco hotel on the Sunset Strip across from the old Hyatt House. I pulled the curtain back in my room, and there’s a billboard of me staring right back. I turned to Dorothea and said, ‘I got an idea. Why don’t we go right now? ‘She said, ‘You’re out of your mind.’ I said, ‘Come on. What’s better than this, right now, this moment?'” he explained of their quick decision to marry. Despite how crazy it must’ve sounded, Dorothea accepted and they jetted off to Las Vegas.
With only a one day break in his Bon Jovi tour, the pair set off to Las Vegas to get married as quickly as possible at the Graceland Wedding Chapel without telling anyone. “We didn’t tell a soul. We took a little shuttle plane, jumped in a cab, and didn’t even stay the night. The cab driver was the witness. We got back to L.A. before closing time, and that was a Saturday, so we didn’t see anyone on Sunday. Then on Monday, it was on Entertainment Tonight: Guess what, Bon Jovi got married! But in that moment, we decided it was just about us,” he shared. Afterward, the singer got a lot of backlash from everyone, especially his manager who was worried that the marriage would lessen some of the female fan base. “We did it for us and didn’t give a damn,” Bon Jovi recalled. “I got a lot of heat from it, between the band, my parents, Doc [McGhee, Bon Jovi’s manager]. Everybody was pissed off. It took me a couple of days before I realized that I don’t give a s*** what anybody thinks.”
6. Not Always a Saint
Through almost their entire relationship, John has always been famous and has had many allegations of infidelity leveled against him. Surprisingly, he is the first one to admit that he wasn’t as great of a partner to Dorothea as he could have been, especially in the early stages of their relationship and fame. “I’ve not been a saint. I’ve had my lapses,” he said. Back in 2007, however, he made it clear that being unfaithful to his wife is certainly not something he does or wants to do. “I don’t look at this week’s hot starlet and think about trading in or trading up,” he said in an interview with Best Life magazine. “I don’t have a mistress on the side or another family across town. You’re never going to read that story about me. I have no regard for that whole lifestyle.” He also admitted he often felt guilty for the things he missed because of his busy touring schedules, “I missed tons of birthdays and school plays. But it’s not like Dorothea came in halfway through the movie and didn’t know who she got. She’s been in it the whole game. She understands what it means. It’s my life, and it is what it is.”
5. Having A Family
Four years after their Vegas wedding, John and Dorothea expanded their family when they welcomed daughter Stephanie Rose on May 31, 1993. Two years later they welcomed son Jesse James Louis on February 19, 1995, and went on to welcome two more sons, Jacob Hurley on May 7, 2002, and Romeo Jon on March 29, 2004. Despite his fame, the couple always wanted to shield their kids from the spotlight as much as possible and as Dorothea explained in a 2016 interview, “That’s his life, not ours.” “We never really drag the kids to things,” she said. “I never pointed at the TV and said, ‘There’s Daddy!’ We try hard just to give our kids a normal life.” Every parent’s worst nightmare happened in 2012 when their eldest child, Stephanie, suffered a scary overdose on opioids during her first year in college. “I’m shocked as much as the next parent with this situation and had no idea,” Bon Jovi explained. “Steph is a great kid. Great GPA. Cool school everything about it is idyllic. She was doing great, then a sudden and steep decline.” Luckily, Stephanie recovered and now the rocker calls it a “terrible speed bump we got over.”
4. Home Life
While to many, Jon Bon Jovi is one of the most iconic rock stars of his time, off stage and at home, he is really just a regular husband and father. “I don’t know who that guy is,” he joked of his larger-than-life rock star persona that everyone else sees. He notes that for him, family has always been the priority, and most of the time his kids could care less that their father is famous. “I’m the one with the dad voice, and if you’ve got to use the dad voice, I can bring it out,” he said. “I have a temper. Definitely. I’m not an angry dad. I’m not like that. But you do get your buttons pushed.” He added that when he asked his kids if they wanted to go to one of his concerts during Bon Jovi’s “This House Is Not For Sale” tour, it didn’t go well. “I asked if they wanted to go to the show and they said, ‘Um, no. No thanks,’ So that’ll keep you humble,” he joked.
3. The Rock Star Life
With so many people all over the world fawning over him for decades and with his career showing no signs of slowing down, many fans don’t understand how Dorothea can be comfortable with her husband living the “rock star” life, but according to Bon Jovi, it all comes down to trust. “I have been around far too long for her to be worried about me on tour,” he explained. “The greatest thing is when you trust each other to say: ‘you wanna get drunk? Great here’s the bottle’..or ‘you want to crash the car? Crash the car but be home by six.’ When you have that kind of independence and trust, nothing really matters. Independence. That’s true adoration. The rest of it is a cliché.” He added that having such an independent and confident wife in Dorothea has helped greatly. “The fact she’s independent and isn’t needy or possessive helps and she is just a very strong woman.”
2. Making It Work
Regardless of trust, it is clear it can’t be easy for making music and touring to be front and center of Bon Jovi’s life for the entirety of their marriage, and he credits his wife for his success calling her “the glue” for their family. “I’m the crazy visionary with all kinds of things flying, and the seams are all splitting. She’s the one following me with the glue and the thread and needle, keeping it all together.” For Dorothea, it is all about balance and always being on the same page in their relationship and in the direction their life together is going. “I think because we grow at the same rate. We grew equally and not in opposite directions,” she explained. “Somehow I became the poster boy for a long-married rock star. But I’ll accept the mantle because I’m so happy,” Bon Jovi added.
When it comes to the band’s millions of female fans, Dorothea couldn’t be happier that her husband and his music have created such passionate and loyal fans, but as it turns out she hasn’t always been one of them. “She wasn’t always the biggest fan of my music,” he revealed in a 2002 interview, saying that she was more interested in the music of David Bowie or The Clash, but has since “learned to like” Bon Jovi’s songs. Regardless of if she liked the songs or not, he also doesn’t deny that the band’s love ballads have been heavily influenced by his love for her. “She’s the muse for all the syrupy ballads I write. It’s obvious. I try to relate it without being too saccharine. Yeah, it definitely comes out in the songs,” he admitted.