Jon Bon Jovi says he’s ‘not in contact’ with Richie Sambora despite upcoming documentary on band

Jon Bon Jovi says he’s ‘not in contact’ with Richie Sambora despite upcoming documentary on band

Jon Bon Jovi on his wife Dorothea's charity work at MusiCares gala: 'She's the heartbeat'

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Jon Bon Jovi isn’t keeping in touch with his former bandmate Richie Sambora more than a decade after they parted ways.

In an interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, the “Livin’ on a Prayer” singer, 62, confirmed that although he and former Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora both participated in a new documentary series about the band, they have not personally been in contact.

“We’re not in contact because he’s not in the organization any longer,” Bon Jovi told the outlet. “Doesn’t mean that there’s not love forever, but it’s 11 years ago that he just didn’t show up anymore.”

Richie Sambora, left, and Jon Bon Jovi perform during the 2018 Rock Hall induction ceremony.

Richie Sambora, left, and Jon Bon Jovi perform during the 2018 Rock Hall induction ceremony.

Sambora served as lead guitarist of Bon Jovi for three decades before abruptly leaving the band in 2013 after struggling with substance abuse issues for years. He later said in an interview with People that he left during a “time of psychological maintenance” for his family, noting that he needed to be there for his daughter, Ava.

“You know, I ain’t no angel,” he said. “But I realized, Ava needed me to be around at that point in time. Family had to come first, and that’s what happened.”

Jon Bon Jovi on aging, legacy and knowing ‘when it’s time to go’

In 2020, Bon Jovi told USA TODAY it was “tough” for him to “mourn the loss of a bandmate who just couldn’t effectively keep up anymore.” At that time, he said he last spoke with Sambora at the band’s 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Speaking with Ultimate Classic Rock, Bon Jovi said that Sambora left the band due to “emotional issues that he was dealing with as a single dad,” as well as substance abuse problems. Phil X now serves as guitarist for Bon Jovi after stepping in for Sambora in 2013.

“Phil X had to show up one time, and then Phil X had to show up another time,” Bon Jovi recalled. “And then, again, there’s a show that night. What are we gonna do?”

Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora talks leaving rock group, parenthood: ‘Family had to come first’

In April, Hulu is set to premiere the four-part documentary “Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story,” and Bon Jovi and Sambora both participated. But Bon Jovi told Ultimate Classic Rock he wasn’t there when Sambora was interviewed for the documentary. “I had nothing to do with it,” he stressed.

While promoting “Thank You, Goodnight” at the Television Critics Association in February, Bon Jovi opened up about undergoing surgery to repair his damaged vocal cords, telling critics, “Fortunately, I found a surgeon who was able to do this really cutting-edge implant to build the cord back up. It’s still in the process.”

Bon Jovi also shared that he insisted the new documentary not be a “VH1 puff piece,” adding, “This had to tell the truth. This had to have all the warts in it in order to tell the truth.”

Meanwhile, Bon Jovi, who’s set to drop a new album in June, told Mix 104.1 Boston that he wants to go on tour next year, but isn’t sure whether he’ll be able to amid his recovery. “I’m working towards that goal,” he said.

“Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story” premieres on Hulu on April 26.

Contributing: David OliverPatrick RyanKelly Lawler

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