Jon Bon Jovi Opens Up About Health Challenges and Where He Stands With Richie Sambora (Exclusive)

The rocker and his bandmates are getting candid about 40 years of stardom in a new series, ‘Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story.’

Jon Bon Jovi and his eponymous rock band have been “livin’ on a prayer” for 40 years, and they’re taking a look back at their roller-coaster journey in the spotlight in a new limited series, Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story.

The four-part series, which premieres April 26 on Hulu and Disney+, tracks the band from their breakout single, “Runaway,” in the early 1980s, all the way up to the present day, where they’re gearing up to release their 16th studio album, Forever, despite their frontman suffering from vocal cord deterioration, which caused him to have surgery in 2022.

“Day to day, I’m working hard on it,” Bon Jovi told ET’s Nischelle Turner at the iHeart Studios in Los Angeles, noting that he’s hard at work on “vocal therapy” any chance he gets. “Nothing else matters until I work on getting better. It’s up to God at this point. I’ve done everything I can do.”

Despite the difficulties, the iconic frontman insisted he isn’t giving up, and also assures, “I won’t fake it…. the legacy matters too much.”

“I won’t compromise who we are as a band live, because I’d like to think we’re a pretty darn good band,” he continued. “I sang on the new record. I’ve done MusiCares and nailed it… When I woke up after that night, it was the first time in a decade the only voice in my head was mine — fear wasn’t there, doubt wasn’t there — and [my wife] Dorothea texted the kids and said, ‘He’s back!'”

His health issues weren’t the only tough subject to tackle in Thank You, Goodnight. Bon Jovi and his band also had to grapple with the death of original bassist Alec John Such — who died in 2022 after being fired from the band in 1994 due to issues with drugs and alcohol.

The series is dedicated to Such, but some of its tensest and most heartbreaking moments come between Bon Jovi and former bandmate Richie Sambora. The duo wrote many of Bon Jovi’s biggest songs together during their peak days on the charts, however, Sambora departed the group in 2013, and has only played with them once since — at the band’s Rock and Rock Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2018.

“There was never a fight,” Bon Jovi told ET of Sambora’s falling out with the band. “It was never about money, it was never about a girlfriend. He had issues … and he literally didn’t show up. We were playing for 20,000 people and there’s a black hole on the stage.”

“Substance abuse or anxieties or single parenting, all those things weighed on him, losing his dad. These were all very hard things,” Sambora’s former bandmate admitted. “But in fairness, why would I take away the livelihoods of not only the band, but the 120 guys in the crew? Or the millions of people that bought a ticket? What am I going to do? Shut it down because you don’t want to go to rehab?”

Ultimately, Bon Jovi said he and Sambora actually watched the first three episodes of Thank You, Goodnight together, and Bon Jovi said that onscreen was the first time he’d heard Sambora apologize for his departure — adding that time has helped heal their relationship.

“You read, you talk to professionals, you sit with yourself, you learn to understand from a different perspective that his choices weren’t made out of animosity either,” he reflected.

That perspective, he noted, is why it “wasn’t hard” to say yes to the in-depth docuseries — on which he doesn’t serve as a producer or have final cut approval.

“I have very few regrets. Mistakes are part of life and part of the journey,” he explained. “Also having no creative control over the edit, truly not wanting a puff piece, giving the director and the producer their opportunity to create this film… When I view some of the things that were said — and I might not agree with them — I was never gonna dispute them. Because that’s your truth.”

Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story premieres April 26 on Hulu and Disney+. Forever is out June 7.

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