Don't you dare say Richie Sambora doesn't have his life together.
“When people say I don't have my life together — are you kidding me?” said Sambora recently to Daily Mail TV. “I'm the happiest dude on the block.”
It all stems from when Sambora exited the band mid-tour in 2013.
“Obviously it hurts and you know, breaking up is hard to do,” Sambora said. “'I was in a situation and it was not easy to make that decision to leave the band and the fans.
"I was in a dire situation with my family and I had to make a tough decision and I did and I'm sure people weren't happy about it.”
Related video: Jon Bon Jovi on how his experiences inspired album, ‘2020’
Sambora had previously cited the band's heavy 18-month touring schedule, and the effects it had on his home life, as part of his reasons for leaving in 2013.
“The last tour I did with the band was 18-and-a-half months,” said Sambora to Rolling Stone when the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April of 2018. “You miss a lot of life, man. You come home: (Blank) changed. Divorce, birth, death, this. Normal life’s ups and downs. Little tragedies. Love, joy. You miss all those things a lot of times in your incubation mode. Like I said, we weren’t a band that took a lot of time off. My daughter needed me at that time; my dad’s dying of cancer. I was in the middle of a (blank) divorce, and I busted my shoulder up. … And it was like, ‘You know, I think the universe is telling me to take a break for a while.’”
Sambora has a history of substance abuse issues and he previously had missed 13 shows of the Bon Jovi Live tour in 2011 when he entered rehab. He and guitarist Orianthi, as “RSO,” released the album “Radio Free America” in May of 2018. The collaboration, both professionally and personally, ended soon after the release.
Bon Jovi said Sambora leaving in 2013 had a net positive effect on the band.
“Some things happened that were the catalyst for why other good things happened, you know?” said Bon Jovi to Rock Antenne. “There's not a day that goes by that I don't wish that Richie had his life together and was still in the band.”
“In a weird way, it's because of his inability to get it together anymore that we went on and wrote (the 2016 album) ‘This House Is Not For Sale.’ “
The recently released “Bon Jovi 2020” peaked at 19 on the Billboard album chart, the lowest for the band since 1985's “7800 Fahrenheit.”
Sambora and Bon Jovi co-wrote many of the band's classics, including “You Give Love a Bad Name,” “I'll Be There For You,” “Wanted Dead or Alive,” “Bad Medicine” and “Livin’ on a Prayer.”
“We've had our ups and downs throughout the years as any married couple have,” said Sambora of his relationship with Bon Jovi. “Jon and I spent more time together than we spent with our families because him and I wrote the songs.”
He didn't rule out a reunion.
“It would have to be a special situation for me to go back, but I'm certainly not counting it out,” Sambora said. “I have no malice toward that band.”
If it doesn't happen, “I left my mark,” Sambora said.
Sambora also said all is well on the home front
“My daughter (Ava) just graduated on the dean's list from LSU as a psychology major and she’s gone on to grad school now,” Sambora said. “And so and it's just, you know, she and I have just been really fantastic and we just have a great relationship.”
Things are well between him and ex-wife Heather Locklear, Ava's mom.
“I love Heather now more than when we first met,” Sambora said. “We still maintain a friendship and realize that we are definitely bound by blood and family. Whatever I had to do to support her, I did.”
Chris Jordan, a Jersey Shore native, covers entertainment and features for the USA Today Network New Jersey. Contact him at @chrisfhjordan; email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Richie Sambora: Jon Bon Jovi, don't say I don't have my life together