Bon Jovi and Dorothea Hurley appear to have one of the strongest marriages in the rock and roll world. In fact, having wed way back in 1989, the happy couple have now passed the significant 30th anniversary mark. And in 2016 the pair discussed how their relationship has only gone from strength to strength.
Rock icon Jon was more than happy to share some of their secrets while talking to People magazine. Likewise Dorothea – who famously met her husband when they were both at high school – did the same. And the couple’s long-lasting success is perhaps even more remarkable for the fact that they have a professional relationship, too.
Jon and Dorothea also work together for the two charities they helped to found: the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation and two Soul Kitchen eateries. But mixing pleasure with business certainly hasn’t done them any harm. Here’s a look at their heartwarming love story and how it looks set to continue.
Jon Bon Jovi grew up with his two siblings Matthew and Anthony, his barber father and ex-Playboy Bunny mother Carol in New Jersey. And just like fellow native Bruce Springsteen, the star appears to be super proud of his hometown. Indeed, in 1988 he named his band’s chart-topping fourth LP after the Mid-Atlantic state.
Born John Francis Bongiovi Jr. in 1962, he first began performing in his early teens with a group named Raze. In the late 1970s he joined forces with David Bryan to form another outfit, Atlantic City Expressway. And by the time he reached adulthood he’d also played the New Jersey circuit with John Bongiovi and the Wild Ones and another band called the Rest.
Jon first came to the wider public’s attention when he recorded a track for a festive Star Wars album. “R2-D2 We Wish You A Merry Christmas” may not have exactly signaled a future rock icon. Likewise, the brief stint he spent penning and performing jingles for a New York radio station. But by the mid-1980s, Jon was the frontman of one of the world’s biggest bands.
Jon’s breakthrough band Bon Jovi featured guitarist Richie Sambora, keyboardist David Bryan, drummer Tico Torres and bassist Alec Such. The outfit released their first studio effort in 1984; and that same year they scored the first of many US Hot 100 hits with “Runaway.” The accolades then continued, with sophomore 7800° Fahrenheit cracking the Top 40 the following year.
Of course, it was their 1986 third LP Slippery When Wet which launched Bon Jovi on to rock’s A-list. Spawning the chart-topping singles “Livin’ On A Prayer” and “You Give Love a Bad Name,” it also peaked at number one on the Billboard 200. And its worldwide sales tally stood at a whopping 28 million as of 2011.
From then on, Bon Jovi never looked back. With no less than a dozen studio efforts and multiple live albums and retrospectives to their name, the band has shifted a colossal 100 million records across the globe. They also remain a prolific touring act and in 2018 were honored with an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
But Jon has also been keen to prove that he can cut it without his bandmates. In 1990 he wrote and performed the theme to Western sequel Young Guns II which picked up nods at the Grammys and Oscars as well as a Golden Globe. The anthemic “Blaze of Glory” was followed by a full-length solo effort of the same name which included collaborations with Jeff Beck and Sir Elton John.
A year later Jon founded his own label and became a producer for the likes of Billy Falcon and Aldo Nova. In 1997 he dropped his solo sophomore Destination Anywhere which came accompanied with a short film co-starring Whoopi Goldberg, Kevin Bacon and Demi Moore. Of course, by this point Jon had already established himself as an actor, too.
Jon first showed he was a double threat when he played The Painter in 1995 dramedy Moonlight and Valentino. He went on to take center stage on the big screen a year later in the aptly titled movie The Leading Man. And by the end of the decade he’d added to his filmography with roles in Little City, No Looking Back, Homegrown and Row Your Boat.
In the 2000s Jon continued to alternate between music and acting. He starred in the WWII tale U-571, enjoyed a small cameo in Pay it Forward and appeared in horrors Vampires: Los Muertos and Cry Wolf. After displaying his comic skills in 2006’s National Lampoon’s Pucked, Jon took a five-year break from the big screen before returning in ensemble rom-com New Year’s Eve.
Fans could occasionally enjoy Jon’s acting talents on the small screen, too. He made his TV debut in a 1998 episode of Sex and the City and four years later enjoyed a ten-episode stint as Ally’s plumber boyfriend in legal dramedy Ally McBeal. He’s since shown up as himself in both The West Wing and 30 Rock.
Of course, Jon’s extra-curricular efforts don’t end there. In 2004 he founded The Philadelphia Soul and subsequently became one of the most visible faces of the Arena Football League. He’s since toyed with the idea of purchasing a share in the Atlanta Falcons and in 2014 was part of an investment group that just missed out on acquiring the Buffalo Bills.
Then there’s Jon charitable activities. In 2007 he confirmed he’d be working on a housing initiative in North Philadelphia that would transform a 15-home block. The year previously he founded an eponymous Soul Foundation designed to help individuals affected by homelessness and poverty. And in 2011 he launched the JBJ Soul Kitchen, an eatery where customers pay for their food through volunteering or with what they can afford.
Jon has also been a vocal advocate of the Democratic party over the years. He’s supported the Presidential campaigns of John Kerry and Barack Obama; the star even performed at the latter’s inauguration gig in 2009. A year later, Obama returned the favor by appointing Jon to the White House Council for Community Solutions.
But throughout Jon’s incredible journey, one woman has been by his side. For her part, Dorothea Hurley first met the star when they were in high school. The pair continued their relationship after graduating and in 1989 wed at a Las Vegas chapel in the middle of Bon Jovi’s The New Jersey Syndicate Tour. Thankfully, Jon doesn’t regret a thing.
Discussing the big day in a 2018 interview on CBS’ Morning Hour, Jon revealed, “Looking back on it, the marriage was the greatest deal I ever made.” However, not everyone was happy at his surprise nuptials; many of his female admirers were devastated that their number one pin-up had been snapped up.
Jon added, “It was like Harry Styles or Justin Timberlake getting married. I was like that to the young girls in my time. When I came back from Vegas my manager was furious. He was like, ‘America’s boy is now married? That’s not a good career move.’ It didn’t fare well with my mother, either. She was not impressed!”
“America wasn’t happy on that Monday when they found out about the wedding and a lot of people tried to ruin a beautiful thing,” continued Jon. “They tried to cheat us out of that moment.” Luckily, Jon and Dorothea went on to prove all the naysayers wrong. And in 1993 they became parents for the first time.
Daughter Stephanie Rose became the first of four children that the couple welcomed into the world over an 11-year period. Son Jesse James Louis arrived in 1995 and was followed by little brother Jacob Hurley seven years later. Romeo Jon then completed their family unit in the spring of 2004.
“Dorothea and I felt good about [the wedding], despite it being world news,” Jon commented further to CBS’ Morning Hour. “She is the rock of my family, my career, my being. I’m grateful for someone in my life like that whom I can love and trust.” And this isn’t the only time that Jon has gushed about his wife of more than 30 years.
In fact, Jon graced the cover of People magazine in 2016 and gave a candid accompanying interview about his married life. Referring to Dorothea, the star said, “She’s the glue. I’m the crazy visionary with all kinds of things flying, and the seams are all splitting. She’s the one following me with the glue and the thread and needle, keeping it all together.”
Jon went on to reveal that he tries his best to keep his music career and his private life entirely separate. Naturally, the star certainly doesn’t walk around the house wearing leather pants belting out rock songs on a daily basis. Talking about his stadium-filling rock star persona, the singer claimed, “I don’t know who that guy is.”
Jon also refuses to adopt his stage moniker at all when he’s home with his wife and four kids. And just like the rest of his family, the star uses his real surname of Bongiovi when outside his duties with his band. Indeed, it’s just one of many things Jon does to keep himself and his brood grounded.
Dorothea also revealed in the same People interview that she and Jon have tried their best to keep the rock star lifestyle at bay. She said, “We never really drag the kids to things. I never pointed at the TV and said, ‘There’s Daddy!’ We try hard to give our kids a normal life.”
So how has Dorothea felt about being married to a man lusted after by an army of worldwide admirers? Well, admirably, she seems to take it all in her stride. Speaking about Bon Jovi’s female fans, Dorothea told People, “I think it’s great they love [the] music. They love the band and are so loyal.”
And it doesn’t seem as though Dorothea has much to worry about when it comes to her husband straying. In a 2010 chat with Men’s Health, Jon said, “I don’t have a mistress on the side or another family across town. You’re never going to read that story about me. I have no regard for that whole lifestyle.”
Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Jon has been a picture of virtue. He added, “I’ve been in one of the biggest rock bands in the world for 25 years, and I’m not a saint, and I have not been a saint. And, Christ, I missed tons of birthdays and school plays. But it’s not like Dorothea came in halfway through the movie and didn’t know who she got and the divorce settlement is this because of that.”
According to Jon, his wife has always been aware about what she signed up for. He continued, “She’s been in it the whole game. She understands what it means. It’s my life, and it is what it is. But, really, I don’t look at this week’s hot starlet and think about trading in or trading up.”
Jon also sang the praises of his wife during a 2016 interview with U.K. newspaper The Daily Mirror. In a chat about the departure of longtime guitarist Richie Sambora from Bon Jovi, the clerk said, “There was a lot of darkness really. I was going through a difficult period and it felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders.”
Jon then revealed how grateful he was to Dorothea for being his rock during this disruption which occurred during the band’s mammoth 101-date global tour. He said, “It was a very, very difficult time that I haven’t fully rebounded from yet but my wife has been phenomenal. Without her, I am not sure how I would have coped.”
Heartwarmingly, Jon and Dorothea still appear to be interested in spending as much time together as possible. And the pair regularly join forces for their various charitable endeavors. Talking about the success of Soul Kitchen, Jon quipped to People magazine, “My wife does all the work and I get all the credit.”
Luckily, Dorothea seems to be just happy to be making some kind of difference. She told People, “We have been so blessed and lucky. To see people not be able to feed their families, it’s just not acceptable.”
And Dorothea often accompanies her husband whenever Bon Jovi head out onto the road. She continued, “I usually stand on the side (during his concerts) and watch.” And she’s often more than impressed with the group’s performances. She added, “The songs all sound great, but then you hear them live!”
According to Dorothea, one of the other secrets to her long-lasting and high-profile marriage is the fact that she and Jon are usually always on the very same page. She said, “Somehow it works. I think because we grow at the same rate. We grew equally and not in opposite directions.”
With so many Hollywood marriages appearing to get into difficulty before the ink on the certificate is even dry, Jon has inevitably become renowned for breaking the norm. He told People magazine, “Somehow I became the poster boy for a long married rock star. But I’ll accept the mantle because I’m so happy.”
Jon and Dorothea’s relationship appears as stable as it’s ever been; but they’re not entirely resistant to change. Indeed, in the summer of 2019 it was reported that the couple were selling their New Jersey home of 20 years. And as you’d expect, it came with a hefty price tag.
Apparently, the pair’s 180,000 square feet house, known as The High Point Estate, was listed for a whopping $20 million. The couple helped to design the property after buying the land it was built on in 1995. And their decision to put it on the market amusingly came just four years after Bon Jovi recorded an LP named This House Is Not For Sale.