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Jon Bon Jovi Married His High School Sweetheart 35 Years Ago–Why the “Rock Star” Life Never Mattered
Jon Bon Jovi

Jon Bon Jovi Married His High School Sweetheart 35 Years Ago–Why the “Rock Star” Life Never Mattered

Bon Jovi and Dorothea have grown up together and they will grow old together, too

Jon Bon Jovi and his wife Dorothea can boast more years together than most. The two met when they were in high school and have been going strong ever since!

And it looks like early love may run in the family with the news that their son Jake Bongiovi, 20, is officially engaged to Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown, 19. The two actors announced their engagement on Instagram in typical Gen Z fashion. Luckily they have excellent role models in couple Jon Bon Jovi and Dorothea who have set a high bar.

After all, the '80s rocker and his wife have been married for the majority of their adult lives. And they were close before either was technically even an adult at all. How have Jon Bon Jovi and his wife Dorothea managed to not only buck the all-too-common trend of divorce in America in general, but also to overcome the much greater odds of celebrity divorce?

The “secret” to Bon Jovi’s long and happy marriage is no secret at all; he and Dorothea love each other, like each other, and most importantly respect each other.

How Jon Bon Jovi and Dorothea Met

Jon Bon Jovi hugging wife Dorothea in Instagram post.

The man known to the world as Jon Bon Jovi was born John Francis Bongiovi Jr. in 1962. By the mid 1970s, while still a teenager in high school, the naturally gifted songwriter, singer, musician, and performer was playing music in clubs around his native New Jersey.

While still in those high school years, after transferring schools before his junior year, Bon Jovi met another New Jersey native, Miss Dorothea Hurley. Initially just friends, as Dorothea was romantically involved with a mutual friend, there was an instant connection between the two. But it didn't take long before the two were soon dating.  

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Even as Bon Jovi’s career began to take off in the early 1980s, the shared love between Dorothea and the rocker only grew. By 1986, Bon Jovi, the band named for its lead, was a global sensation. They toured the world, played sold-out stadiums, and had number-one hits including “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “You Give Love a Bad Name.”

In an era where womanizing, drugs, and wild, reckless behavior were the standard operating procedure for rock stars, Jon Bon Jovi completely bucked the trend. Instead of making headlines for crazy offstage antics, the gifted musician and performer spent most of his time off the stage with his significant other.

How Many Children Do Jon Bon Jovi and Dorothea Have?

Jon Bon Jovi posing with his family, four children and wife Dorothea.

And in keeping with his practice of being a showman on the stage but a quiet and down-to-earth gent off of it, Bon Jovi married Dorothea in a private and secret ceremony in 1989. The couple wed at a chapel in Las Vegas, the musician briefly slipped away from his band’s The New Jersey Syndicate Tour to marry her in the Graceland Wedding Chapel.

Since that semi-elopement in 1989, Jon and Dorothea, properly known as John and Dorothea Bongiovi, maintained a wonderfully close relationship and have grown their union into a family of six. The first of the couple’s four children, a daughter named Stephanie, is 29 at the time of this writing. Their first son, Jesse, is 28, while their younger two sons are Jake, currently 20, and Romeo, who is 19 and headed off for college.

How Bon Jovi and Dorothea Make Their Marriage Work

Simply put, Jon Bon Jovi never “fell for” the celebrity life. He said via People that he always strove to give his kids “a normal life” and that approach was always in play in his earlier rock star days, too, albeit in regards to his wife. And both he and Dorothea knew all along what succumbing to stardom can do.

“We work hard at [our relationship], but we enjoy each other and we never fell for the trappings of what celebrity can do. We've witnessed that happen over the years to people that were close to us and people that we knew from afar. It’s just what I do, it's not who I am. I write songs. I happen to be very good at performing them. That's it."

RELATED: The Simple Secrets to Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy’s 25-Year “Fairytale Marriage”

And well that they be mindful: per stats cited on LinkedIn, the divorce rate among celebrities is a staggering 67% higher than it is with “normal” couples, and is worst of all among musicians. (Those rates tend to fall if the relationship endures for more than a decade, it should be noted.)

Be it the actions of one or both spouses, the pressures from the wider world, the strains of the unique career of a star, or other factors, it’s hard to say, but the numbers don’t lie. Bon Jovi and Dorothea are the very happy exception. For them, the only number in question is which anniversary is next, with this year slated to mark their 33rd.

Bon Jovi Stays Grounded Despite a Wild Career

Black and white image of Bon Jovi walking away from a helicopter.

When most people think of Jon Bon Jovi, the likely first think of surging rock ballads like “Livin’ on a Prayer.” And that’s entirely fine, it’s a great song. What others might think of is his solo work and soundtracks for movies. Others might note that he is also an actor, having appeared in movies like Little City and U-571 and in several TV shows, too. Still others might note his involvement in politics and philanthropy. Or that he opened and often works in a restaurant called JBJ Soul Kitchen that is devoted to serving very low cost or no-cost meals to people struggling with poverty.

Long story short, the term “rock star” can very much be applied to Jon Bon Jovi but it sells him short. And if husband and dad are not on that list of terms, you can be sure he would feel underrepresented. The secret to their love? “Mutual respect. Having grown up together and grown together. And we really like each other. We want to hang out.″

It seems the two realized early on that we are not what we do, we are who we love and who loves us.

His son Jake and Millie Bobby Brown not only have great examples of enduring love and how to balance the spotlight with family but the two actors may have a lot to live up to!

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