Jon Bon Jovi and his wife of 31 years, Dorothea, cover People

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I’ll say up front that I accept there will be a certain percentage of “but he’s done nothing but cheat on her” comments on this post. That may be true, but I don’t know any of those stories. I do know that Dorothea and John Bongiovi, AKA Jon Bon Jovi, met in high school and have been together going on 40 years. The couple have been married for 31 years, raised four kids, kept up his successful rock career and opened JBJ Soul Kitchen, a sustainable food pantry feeding economically challenged folks while supporting local farmers. That all counts for something. They’re People’s cover story this week, in part because Bon Jovi’s new album 2020 is being released on Friday. Like the rest of us, People wanted to know what their secret was for a lasting union. According to them, they last because they really dig each other.

Jon Bon Jovi and wife Dorothea Bongiovi give love a good name.

In this week’s cover story, the rock star and his high school sweetheart — who still finish each other’s sentences — opened up to PEOPLE exclusively about their 40-year bond, keeping their 31-year marriage strong and raising their four children.
Their secret?

″Mutual respect,″ says Jon, whose new Bon Jovi album, 2020, drops Friday, Oct. 2. ″Having grown up together and grown together. And we really like each other. We want to hang out.″

Adds Dorothea: ″I always said I was good at spotting potential too. I have a gift.”

″We work hard at it, but we enjoy each other and we never fell for the trappings of what celebrity can do,″ says the ″Livin’ on a Prayer″ rocker. ″We’ve witnessed that happen over the years to people that were close to us and people that we knew from afar. It’s just what I do, it’s not who I am. I write songs. I happen to be very good at performing them. That’s it.”

″It’s a partnership,″ Dorothea adds of their work with the Soul Foundation, which they launched in 2006. ″When we see injustice or people suffering, you want to help. We’re very blessed, and we have the ability to do that.″

[From People]

I think that in the case of Jon and Dorothea they have grown up together, but that is not essential for a partnership, it just is their reality. Many of us met our others long after high school. What, in my opinion, really helps any relationship is the, “we really like each other. We want to hang out,” part. I’m not trying to trivialize any relationship, but this does seem to be the common thread in all the lasting relationships I know. My folks celebrated their 59th anniversary yesterday. They’ve been retired for a while now and all they do is hang out. They have separate interests they pursue but they start and end every day together, mostly discussing anything on their mind. And, they are still working on their relationship too, like Jon said. Relationships do take work. Sometimes it’s hard work and sometimes it’s just maintenance. Jon and Dorothea certainly have privileges that most of us don’t, but they’ve also had hardships, like when their daughter overdosed. Couples need to rally together during those hard times because no amount of money or fame are going to shield you from that kind of heartache. Whatever their story is, I think Jon and Dorothea are on the same page.

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Photo credit: Twitter and WENN/Avalon

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39 Responses to “Jon Bon Jovi and his wife of 31 years, Dorothea, cover People”

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  1. Nanny to the Rescue says:

    It’s also that she was willing to turn a blind eye on all his banging groupies (at least back then, not sure if he’s still doing it). Not every woman can do that.

    But good on them, I guess. Strong marriages are lovely and should be celebrated.

  2. Andrew’s Nemesis says:

    A little birdie told me that JBJ is the absolute worst person they have ever worked with in a thirty year career. Impossibly entitled, rude beyond belief, arrogant and miserly. No one, from musicians to nannies, could stand working with him or, indeed, him.
    Perhaps she just doesn’t see him very much?

    • Snowslow says:

      Stupid, hateful people can also be in long lasting relationships. This is neither here nor there LOL.

      • Andrew’s Nemesis says:

        @Snowslow True – Melania and the Orange Mussolini have lasted longer than expected. Perhaps the secret to a successful marriage between such people is a really, really good prenup.

      • Snowslow says:

        Oh for sure. Money conquers the heart.

    • Sassy says:

      I worked on one of his music videos. He was rude, wouldn’t speak to anyone on the team or make eye contact. Richie Sambora was a dream though. He would laugh, tell jokes and greet fans and extras.

    • Nikki* says:

      I lived in the same town they did for 30 years, and JBJ was only known locally as being super nice. When I was a middle aged hired musician at a party he attended, he was pleasant and nice during my break. I volunteered for Family Promise, a program for the homeless, and EVERY WEEK of our hosting, he invited every homeless family and the dinner volunteers to eat dinner for free at his Soul Kitchen restaurant. There were always lots of kids, and it was always a kind of traveling circus, but I never saw ONE WORD of this in the press. Now a “little birdie” says he’s not a nice guy. I’m not buying it, not for a moment. Actions speak louder than smears, and he’s a very nice guy.

      • SM says:

        I had a crush on him with I was a teenager during the Keep the faith phrase. I then of course forgot about him. But seeing him do dished and helping out in a real non glamour way at the kitchen, feeding homeless people, I sort of remembered that and thought that I am not ashamed admitting he was my crush. So I tend to think that people should be judged on how they act and his actions show that he can’t be that terrible of a person. A cheater on the other hand, a rock star back as the peak of his career? Probably. But I think that doesn’t negate the fact that they as a couple still like to hang and that is how they pulled though

    • BnLurkN4eva says:

      Celebitchy is where celebrity crushes die. In high school I saw him in concert and my little heart fell in crush and I felt so grown up being in crush with this much older dude whose poster I had on my wall and everything. I hope your little birdie made up a little tale because that’s really disappointing to hear.

    • msmlnp says:

      About 10 years ago, I went to a taping of the Jimmy Kimmel show. The security guard and I were kind of flirting, he had another co-worker security guide nearby. I asked him who was the worst guest he has dealt with and I hadn’t even finished the question when he said Jon Bon Jovi, and his co-worker next to him nodded vigorously. He was reportedly rude, swore at the staff, and threw items all around the place.

  3. Snowslow says:

    This is the key to the success of a relationship with our other halves and ourselves. I love hanging out with myself, I love hanging out with Mr. Snowslow and I love hanging out with my kids. 25th year of our relationship that I would drop the minute I’d dread to go back home.

    Side note about the cheating: some people can deal with that, have agreements about that, but no one talks about it because the ones who don’t tolerate are usually very vocal, angry, and judgey about it so I think it mostly stays a private matter between couples. Life is complicated and I think we would be very surprised to hear a lot of stories about people who love each other like crazy but had their side attractions that they acted upon or not.

  4. superashes says:

    True story, when I first moved to DC my significant other at the time (this was 16 years ago) went to an event with some folks he worked with at Senator Bill Frist’s office. Jon Bon Jovi was there, and rolled out with a pair of blonde twins. Soooooo, not hard for me to believe the cheating stories where he is concerned at all, or that he continued to cheat long after his rock and roll heyday.

  5. Helonearth says:

    I briefly worked in the music industry and his whoring was well known. I guess she must have turned a blind eye or simply wasn’t bothered. He also had a rep during the Slippery When Wet/New Jersey era for being an entitled arrogant prat – which I can confirm. Maybe once they weren’t the big deal they once were, he behaved better.

    • Mia says:

      I worked in the music industry and he and my co worker had a thing. He’d fly her to concerts, give her gifts etc. This was in the late 80’s-90’s.

  6. smcollins says:

    I had the biggest crush on him when I was in middle school (back when Slippery When Wet came out), like posters on my wall and gathering up any teeny bopper magazine with him and the band in it. It was totally one of those “I’m going to marry him when I grow up” celebrity crushes. Obsessed! I remember he dated Diane Lane for a hot minute during a time him & Dorothea we’re broken up. Apparently You Give Love a Bad Name was about her (she supposedly ditched Jon and hooked up with Richie). Ahh…the 80’s, good times. Him & Dorothea seem like a solid couple and congrats to them for making it work all these years! And, yes, I still totally would 😉

  7. Harper says:

    Maybe he tells her what she wants to hear and he gives her lots of money.

  8. Enis says:

    Some folks don’t want or need monogamy.

  9. Giggles says:

    I saw him in Manhattan several years ago. Nice guy.

  10. Misty says:

    I still don’t understand the obsession with the length of relationships no matter the Inner workings, just that it lasts long. Just because they’re together for 40 years, doesn’t mean they are happy ones. My sil and some old friends often brag about their 20+ year marriages, but they are both unhappy and hanging on by threads just to say we’re together. Just reading about Jon Bon Jovi and his cheating, the issue with their children’s drug addition and his overall tone with people, I don’t see what the attraction is. Smiling in pictures, doesn’t mean they are happy. No matter what is said, money does make it better.

    • SamC says:

      This. My parents have been married 51 years and none of my siblings and I can believe it; we actually encouraged divorce multiple times over the years. At this point my mother mostly lives upstairs, my dad down, they do have dinner together most nights and preCOVID managed to do ok when traveling together, but they are definitely not happy or the model of a long marriage.

      • minx says:

        Same with my parents…51 years of fighting and ignoring each other. What a miserable marriage. One thing, though, is that all 5 of us kids are on our first and only long term marriages. 50 years, 48 years, 42 years, 36 years, 20 years. No divorces. Maybe we knew what we didn’t want after seeing our parents’ marriage.

    • Sarah says:

      I agree, my grandparents got married after she got pregnant at 19 and celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary before my grandfather died and sure they had some good times but he also cheated on her including an affair with a friend that years later he told her about to clear his conscience. It did not help her funnily enough. But divorce is ‘not what you do’ so they didn’t. I often wonder how their lives would have turned out if it wasn’t for the pregnancy.

      • Moo says:

        My parents married when my mother became pregnant. I often wonder how her life would have been if not for me. My dad is an a****** and always was. How stupid for them to have gotten pregnant.

    • Case says:

      I agree. I 100% believe that, as the article says, good, long-lasting relationships are built on respect and friendship. That’s something to celebrate. Thing is, not all long-lasting relationships are good. I know too many unhappy couples that won’t split because it’s expensive to divorce, or they don’t want to hurt their children (in reality, staying together unhappily probably hurts their children more). There are no divorces in my family, actually, but I’d say the happy to unhappy ratio is 50/50. Length shouldn’t matter, happiness should.

  11. MerlinsMom1018 says:

    MerlinsDad and I are 42 years come November. It hasn’t been easy by a long shot, we’re both stubborn to a fault, but…
    Nobody gets me like he does. It took him YEARS to break through my walls and defenses but he never gave up on me. Nobody makes me laugh harder, pisses me off till I can’t see, or has my back like he does. We have totally different interests and that’s fine and we pursue them and at the end of the day we come together and talk and talk and talk some more. We do like hanging out together as well, which surprised us both no end!!! We’re both retired and this is the most “togetherness” we have had in years. It was quite the adjustment, for sure.

    • minx says:

      My husband and I also celebrated (as much as you can celebrate during CV) 42 years on June. Sometimes I’m surprised we lasted that long!

      • MerlinsMom1018 says:

        @Minx
        CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!
        We have/had plans to go to the coast but who knows…
        I totally get it when you say you’re surprised. I think that myself occasionally

  12. FHMom says:

    Eh. I guess they are happy together or at least comfortable putting a good spin on their relationship. He is a serial cheater, but she must be okay with that. It seems like an ill conceived cover story considering the negative comments here. I would have focused on his charity work which is impressive

    • H says:

      THIS. I figure they have an open marriage. I don’t think they have a prenup, so like Bono of U2, who cheats constantly on his high school wife, Allison, maybe this arrangement works for Jon and his bride. Not up to me to judge.

      • Mtec says:

        @H
        This is the first i’ve heard of Bono cheating on his wife!? From what I’ve read about their relationship it doesn’t seem like their dynamic. Where did you hear that?

  13. Ladiabla says:

    Yeah I’m a big U2 fan and I’ve definitely heard the rumors about Bono, who seems to really have a type – Winona Ryder, one of the girls from the Corrs, dark-haired beauties just like his wife Ali. When I first heard it, I was like, no, not Bono! (this was back in my younger years). Now I know all of them do it. I read somewhere that Robert Smith, one of the sweetest, nicest men in music, still partakes of the local fare. 😢 Oh well, I’ll still always love The Cure 💜

    • Mtec says:

      That’s all just rumours though because Ali is known to be very attention adverse (until she had to be in the public eye with her fashion line), so tabloids, or ppl who don’t know what she looks like think she’s never around when he’s with these other women but many times when tabloids were reporting Bono, either holding supermodels’ hands or going out with Penelope Cruz or Christy Turlington etc… fans of U2 were able to recognize Ali (and or his kids) right there with them somewhere in the photos. In fact Bono always said all these women people tried to link him were actually better friends with Ali than him (ex. Helena Christensen, Christy T, etc…).

      Another example: When a tabloid tried to make it seem he was having an affair with Cruz bc of a picture of them holding hands —they cropped out Ali who was literally holding onto his other hand (and cropped out his kids right behind them)

      As for Winona, they were just friends, she considers him “family”—her own words. And both Bono and Ali went to Andrea Corr’s wedding—I doubt she’d do that if Andrea was her husband’s mistress at some point.

      I still don’t see how someone can outrightly say he cheated on his wife based on these rumours.

  14. Granger says:

    I believe he’s cheated, I believe they’re happy, and I believe she probably compromised a lot and maybe even gave up a few dreams of her own to support him over the years. But I think, for her, the compensation, the lifestyle have more than made up for it.

    I know people who have this agreement: she said yes to him pursuing a huge business opportunity that could have gone one way (failure) or another (success). The deal they made was, if it succeeded, they’d be really, really rich, but he’d be working and travelling all the time, and she’d never see him. She agreed. And it succeeded and it made them very, very rich and they probably only spend a few weeks together a year, but she doesn’t care, because that’s the deal they made and her lifestyle is incredible.

  15. thing1 says:

    In my opinion, it comes down to whether the not famous spouse will put up with constant infidelity and throw self-respect out of the window for fame, money and most of all co-dependency. If yes, then they make it to the hollywood golden couple status. If not, well, Elin Woods. It’s sad to me, because in this case, the only thing the Bonjovi couple did to make it so long is the wife got massive fame and self identity from BJ while agreeing to accept his abhorrent behavior over a long period of time. This is not anything to celebrate to me. It’s sad.