Richie Sambora talks about his controversial decision to leave legendary rock band Bon Jovi in 2013 – and he says he did « no regrets » about his relationship with his 23-year-old daughter Ava in the end before everything else.
« It was obviously not a popular choice, but there really was almost no choice. I had a lot of conscious work to do about [my personal life], « the 61-year-old rocker says of Zoom from his Calabasas, California home.
« We went through a lot of things together. It was a time of psychological maintenance for the family, « he says in the new edition of PEOPLE, which is now available at the kiosk. « You know, I’m not an angel. But I realized that Ava needed me to be there at this point. Family had to come first, and that is exactly what happened. «
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Sambora, who overcame an addiction to pain medication and over-reliance on alcohol after spending time in rehab in 2007 and 2011, says the rock and roll lifestyle finally took its toll.
« Sir, when I look back and start listing the tours . . . 18.5 months on the road, 52 countries, « he says. « It’s like, wow. It was really time to take a break. We have done this 14 times over a period of 31 years. «
While touring with Bon Jovi, Sambora routinely flew home for quick visits rather than staying on-site. « I love being a father more than anything, » says Sambora of his attachment to Ava, whose mother is legendary television actress Heather Locklear, 59. « Thankfully, I made enough money to have a private plane, take my ass home, and see my kid, even if it was only for a day. If it was Halloween it was boom, home. «
Looking back, Ava says these gestures meant everything to her. « He showed up at every dance night I performed and at all of my school events, no matter how far he had to travel, » she tells PEOPLE. « He even flew all the way from Australia to surprise me at my father-daughter dance. «
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As he settled into a normal life in California, his bond with Ava deepened, according to Sambora.
« I am fortunate to have an amazing relationship with my daughter, » says Sambora, who enjoyed overseeing backyard gatherings so he could « keep an eye on » who her friends were. Driving his daughter to and from high school every morning was when they really bonded.
« That’s where the conversation went down. She was trapped in my car for 30 minutes. She couldn’t get out, « he says with a laugh as he remembers chats with his » smart and funny « girl. « You can find out what it took to find out how she was feeling and all of those things. We’ve always had a very open, talkative relationship. I just said, ‘Hey, you can tell me anything. I’ll be on your side. ‘ »
« I gave birth to a child, » he says, « and I don’t take it lightly. «
Most of the time these days they stayed close to home. After graduating from Loyola Marymount in May, Ava prepares for graduate school.
« I’m very, very proud of her and how it turned out, » says Sambora. « She is an amazing young woman with a bright future. She just strives to be a good person. And she is. «
If you want to learn more about Richie and Ava Sambora, read the latest issue of PEOPLE on the newsstand now.
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Richie Sambora, Bon Jovi, Ava Elizabeth Sambora, Heather Locklear, no regrets
World News – USA – Richie Sambora opens the controversial decision to leave Bon Jovi: “I need my daughter around ‘
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