Bon Jovi's Richie Sambora Compares His Abrupt Exit From the Band to Leaving the Mafia

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With decades in the music industry and countless beloved hits like "Livin' On a Prayer," "You Give Love a Bad Name," and "Wanted Dead or Alive," Bon Jovi's legendary place in entertainment remains undisputed. But the band has seen its share of ups and downs over the years, and one of its most shocking moments came not during the band's heyday in the '80s, but while they were on tour in 2013.

Hours before the band was set to perform in Calgary on their Because We Can tour, guitarist Richie Sambora essentially ghosted his bandmates and left the tour with no warning. In the past, Sambora claimed it was because of a need to put his health and his family first. Now, in the new Hulu docuseries Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story, Sambora is reflecting on his controversial sudden exit.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Sambora stated that the band "knew exactly why I didn't get on the plane that night" in the final episode of the doc.

"People have this preconceived notion of Richie Sambora because they read about me in the tabloids, because they see the Bon Jovi machine," he said. "It's a band. It's really, really hard to be married to four other guys and be in close quarters and that, coupled with my daughter coming of age."

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After Sambora ditched his bandmates, Canadian musician Phil X stepped in to fill his shoes on the tour. He's been with the band ever since. As for Sambora, he just wished he'd went about it all differently.

“I don’t regret leaving the situation, but I regret how I did it," Sambora said. "So I’d like to apologize fully right now to the fans, especially, and also to the guys, because my feet and my spirit were just not letting me walk out the door."

"I guess if you’re in the mafia, the only thing you possibly do is disappear. And I did," he added.

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Sambora entered rehab in 2007 and 2011. He chalked up his exit at the time to unspecified personal problems; Jon Bon Jovi believed his departure to be the result of a culmination of issues.

"There was never a fight," Bon Jovi told Entertainment Tonight of their relationship back then. "It was never about money, it was never about a girlfriend. [Sambora] 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."

Bon Jovi ultimately opted to move the band forward with or without Sambora. "Substance abuse or anxieties or single parenting, all those things weighed on him, losing his dad. These were all very hard things," Bon Jovi explained. "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?"

All episodes of Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story are streaming now on Hulu.