Sambora departed his band of 30 years on short notice last decade to pursue other projects and focus on his family. While aspects of his creative friction with Jon Bon Jovi have played out in the media, the guitarist says he has "no malice" towards Jon or any of his former bandmates.
When prodded in recent years, Jon has often lamented Sambora's absence but argued that the band has continued to produce quality work anyway. In one recent interview Jon said Sambora's choices had "led him astray" and that he wishes his old partner "had his life together and was still in the band."
In a recent conversation with The Daily Mail, Sambora hand-waved the suggestion that his personal life has gone off the rails. He repeatedly downplayed any lasting friction with Bon Jovi.
"I'm the happiest dude on the block," he said, before alluding to a personal crisis that prompted the Bon Jovi breakup.
"I was in a dire situation with my family, and I had to make a tough decision," he said. "And I did, and I'm sure people weren't happy about it."
Sambora had previously noted that Bon Jovi had become less a band and more like Jon's solo project in the years before he left. To the Mail, he explained that when he left the band he needed to focus on caring for his daughter, Ava, who is now 23 and in grad school.
The guitarist's personal life indeed has been subject to drama. Ava is Sambora's daughter with Heather Locklear. The couple was married from 1994 to 2007. Locklear struggled with her mental health in the years since the divorce, while Sambora spent time in rehab for alcohol abuse.
Now, Sambora and Locklear are close friends again, in addition to being coparents to their daughter.
"I love Heather now more than when we first met," he said. "We maintain a friendship and realize that we are definitely bound by blood and family. Whatever I had to do to support her, I did."
If Sambora can maintain a relationship with his ex-wife after so much time, he ought to be able to do the same with his ex-singer. He says he won't fire back in any "war of words" between the two.
Regarding a reunion, he concluded, "It would have to be a special situation for me to go back, but I'm certainly not counting it out. I have no malice toward that band."
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