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Inside Jon Bon Jovi and Wife Dorothea’s Struggle to Shield Their Kids from Fame

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After three wild decades of fame, Jon Bon Jovi opens up about life on the road – and how he and wife Dorothea keep their love strong. Subscribe now for his untold story, only in PEOPLE!

There’s Bon Jovi and there’s the Bongiovis. After 27 years together, Jon Bon Jovi and his wife Dorothea — who along with their four kids, use his given last name — have somehow managed to keep the two very separate.

As for her husband’s job as a rock star who travels the world with the band that bears his stage name, Dorothea tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story, “That’s his life, not ours.”

The couple, who met back in high school in New Jersey and have been together ever since, have four children together: Stephanie, 23, a college senior; Jesse, 21, a senior on Notre Dame’s football team; Jacob, 14; and Romeo, 12. They’ve made it their mission to keep them out of the spotlight.

“We never really drag the kids to things,” she says. “I never pointed at the TV and said, ‘There’s Daddy!’ We try hard just to give our kids a normal life.”

James Devaney/WireImage
James Devaney/WireImage

 

For more on how Jon Bon Jovi and his high school sweetheart wife Dorothea balance fame and family, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday. Watch the full episode featuring Jon Bon Jovi at home, available now on the new People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to PEOPLE.com/PEN, or download the PEN app on Apple TV, Roku Players, Amazon Fire TV, Xumo, Chromecast, iOS and Android devices.

Jim Wright
Jim Wright

That means keeping family at the center. “We try to spend as much time having family dinners as possible,” she says. “Family is always priority.”

That’s why in 2012, when daughter Stephanie landed in the hospital after taking opioids while at college, the family rallied. “It happens to a lot of families that you would never know,” Dorothea says of her daughter’s ordeal. “We dealt with it as a family.”

Asked if the situation brought them closer, her husband says, “We couldn’t get any closer.” When the experience far behind them and their daughter in great health, the star sums it up as “a terrible speed bump we got over.”

While his children know very well how huge a star he is, that doesn’t automatically make Bon Jovi the cool dad. Just ahead of a recent concert for the band’s new album This House Is Not For Sale, available Nov. 4, the frontman says his kids gave him some perspective.

“I asked if they wanted to go to the show and they said, ‘Um, no. No thanks,'” he says with a laugh about his two younger sons turning down the offer. “So that’ll keep you humble.”