Richie Sambora on Leaving Bon Jovi: ‘I’m Really Glad I Did It’
Richie Sambora said his decision to walk away from Bon Jovi on the eve of a 2013 tour to take care of his teenage daughter Ava was the correct one for his family.
"It wasn't a popular decision by any means, obviously, but there was really almost no choice about it," he said in a new video at People. "I'm really glad I did it. It's certainly worked out for our family. [Ex-wife] Heather [Locklear] is doing very, very well now, and Ava's doing phenomenally."
The words echo what a source close to the family told the same magazine in October, shortly after the family celebrated the 23rd birthday of Ava, who graduated from Loyola Marymount University earlier in the year. "It was the right decision to step off the stage to be a full-time father," explained the source. "At the end, he was suffering being on the road so much. Richie has no regrets about leaving the band."
As a result of being there every day, the guitarist said he now has an "an amazing relationship with my daughter," because they bonding as he drove her to high school. "That's where the conversation went down. She was captive in my car for those 30 minutes. She couldn't get out," he joked. "You can find out what you needed to find out and see how she's feeling and all that kind of stuff. We've always had a very open, conversational relationship. I just said, 'Hey, you can tell me anything. I'm going to be on your side.'
"I'm very, very proud of her and the way she turned out," Sambora continued. "She's an amazing young woman with a bright future. She's just dedicated to being a good person. And she is."
Sambora also noted that being off the road has made him a better musician. "I practice more now than I did since I was a kid," he said. "I'm continuing to teach myself a lot of different things. I'm writing crazily and it's going well. I'm writing with a lot of other artists besides myself and playing piano better than I've ever played. Just taking the time to try to get better at everything."
Although Sambora and Locklear's split was accompanied by plenty of mudslinging, they had resumed contact by 2016. Two years later, Sambora rejoined his old band for its Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction.