“He was worried about Ava, so he came home on Thanksgiving,” a friend of Sambora, 59, and Locklear, 57, tells PEOPLE about Sambora’s holiday with Ava, a 21-year-old college student.
“They had an amazing Thanksgiving and had a private chef there so they could be together one-on-one,” the source explains. “They had a great meal and got caught up.”
Although Sambora initially planned to be in New Jersey on Thursday, “he did not want Ava to be alone on Thanksgiving,” the friend says.
On Nov. 18, Locklear was taken to a hospital after her therapist determined that she was experiencing a mental breakdown, according to TMZ.
“Deputies responded to Ms. Locklear’s home regarding a medical call,” Sgt. Eric Buschow of Ventura County Sheriff’s Office told PEOPLE. “There was no crime.”
“I will not waver on always being there for Heather getting her the best help possible,” Sambora exclusively told PEOPLE in a statement. “I am once again very proud of my daughter for her composure and strength during this very difficult time.”
Sambora had previously evacuated his home in Calabasas, California, because of the devastating California wildfires and had traveled to Atlanta to attend a wedding.
RELATED VIDEO: Depression, Arrests and Rehab: Inside Heather Locklear’s Darkest Days
He then performed in New Jersey at the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office’s anti-bullying forum, according to USA Today‘s app.com. In Ocean County, he and his mother Joan were awarded for their support of efforts to fight the heroin crisis.
Upon returning to California, Sambora “went directly home, and he walked to the door. Just seeing his house and his daughter there almost brought him to his knees,” the friend tells PEOPLE.
Locklear’s difficult year has included time in rehab that ended in October, an arrest in June after she allegedly attacked a police officer and EMT who responded to a disturbance call and a hospitalization for a possible overdose in June.
“Richie assembled a team of doctors and specialists last June to ensure Heather and their daughter Ava’s best interests were taken care of,” the friend says.
Sambora will keep supporting Ava on the road ahead. “Ava is staying strong, and Richie is so proud of her strength and composure,” the friend comments. “Everyone feels helpless, and she gets a lot of strength from him. He is a rock for Ava.”
“Richie will be spending more time with Ava,” the friend notes. “They spent the weekend together, and she is still in school, and she is an honor-roll student, and she has an acting career she is pursuing. She is a smart girl and a hard worker and … is trying to support her mom.”