While Jon Bon Jovi has intimated that Richie Sambora left Bon Jovi in 2013 because he couldn't "get it together," Richie is now telling People magazine that he simply couldn't stay because of the single most important thing in his life: his daughter Ava.
"It wasn't a popular decision by any means, obviously, but there was really almost no choice about it. I had a lot of conscious work to do around [my personal life]," Richie tells People, adding, "That was a time of psychological maintenance for the family. You know, I ain't no angel. But I realized, Ava needed me to be around at that point in time. Family had to come first, and that's what happened."
While Richie had always gone out of his way to support Ava, flying back and forth to attend all her dance recitals and other activities, it was when he finally left the band that the two became closer than ever.
"I'm lucky enough to have an amazing relationship with my daughter," says Sambora, noting that driving her back and forth to school every day is where they really got to bond.
"That's where the conversation went down. She was captive in my car for those 30 minutes. She couldn't get out," he laughs. "You can find out what you needed to find out and see how she's feeling and all that kind of stuff. We've always had a very open, conversational relationship. I just said, 'Hey, you can tell me anything. I'm going to be on your side.'"
"I brought a child into this world," he adds. "And I do not take it lightly."
Ava, who Richie shares with his ex-wife Heather Locklear, graduated from college this past May and is now preparing to go to graduate school.
By Andrea Dresdale
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