Still, the family man says, the rock-star life isn't all it's cracked up to be

By Tim Nudd
Updated October 15, 2007 11:00 AM

He’s been married to his childhood sweetheart, Dorothea, for 18 years, and they have four children. But Jon Bon Jovi admits he’s waded into the “shallow pool” of the rock-star life over the years.

“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,” Bon Jovi, 45, tells Best Life magazine for its November issue. “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.”

Bon Jovi has spent years on the road – and is preparing for yet another tour, which kicks off Oct. 25 in New Jersey, in support of the band’s latest record, Lost Highway. But through it all, he says, he’s been committed to wife and family.

“I don’t look at this week’s hot starlet and think about trading in or trading up,” he says. “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.”

He adds: “It’s a shallow pool, man. When you’ve been at it this long, you know it’s a real shallow pool.”

The former John Francis Bongiovi got a taste of that wild life at a very early age. “I was in eighth grade, very young, and the guy the [older women in the neighborhood] came to see,” he says. “I was a boy toy. … My mom wasn’t too happy with some of the things she witnessed. It was pretty wild. One good-looking kid and housewives. … Anyhow, I’m not going to go into that. It was a long time ago.”

Goodbye to Drugs

Another thing that he quit early on: the drugs portion of the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll experience.

“I did the drug thing very young and wised up very young too, because I was into drugs a little too much,” he says. “I’ve never been a drug guy. I’ve always felt I didn’t have the mental stability to handle drugs.”

He did, however, find a measure of stability in his personal life. He and his wife married in 1989. They have a daughter, Stephanie, 14, and three sons – Jesse, 12, Jake, 5, and Romeo, 3. And they enjoy – as much as possible – a normal family life.

“I’m the one with the dad voice, and if you’ve got to use the dad voice, I can bring it out,” Bon Jovi says. “I have a temper. Definitely. I’m not an angry dad. I’m not like that. But you do get your buttons pushed.”

Yet for all his emphasis on family and commitment, Bon Jovi remains a bit mystified that his rock-star persona doesn’t get more play.

“Family man, what a concept,” he says. “I mean, how’d I end up the poster boy for that?”