Jon Bon Jovi reacts to Richie Sambora’s apology for controversial band exit

Jon Bon Jovi has reacted to ex-bandmate Richie Sambora publicly apologizing for leaving Bon Jovi in the middle of a tour in 2013.

He said it didn’t come as a surprise that the group’s former guitarist addressed his controversial exit in the new documentary “Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story,” which dropped on Hulu last month.

“I don’t know if it was a shock or not,” he replied when asked about his reaction during a video appearance on “The Howard Stern Show” this week. “You know, it was 11 years ago now, and it was not easy. The shock was when he didn’t show up, and the issues that he was having again. That was the shock, and then that was the disappointment.”

The 62-year-old Rock & Roll Hall of Famer said he viewed Sambora’s apology as his way of clearing up any misconceptions about what caused his abrupt departure.

“He came clean in the film for the fans, so I guess it would end all the speculation that there was ever a fight or any of that stuff,” he said. “Because, as I’d stated 1,000 times, that was not the case. Just not the case.”

Sambora left Bon Jovi just hours before the New Jersey rockers were set to take the stage in Calgary, Alberta. His unexpected exit caused anger among the group’s fervent fan base — and opened the door for widespread speculation through the years.

At the time, it was reported that he left for “personal issues.” In 2020, Sambora revealed he had “a lot of conscious work to do” amid his substance abuse and emotional struggles related to being a single dad. The rocker shares daughter Ava, now 26, with ex-wife Heather Locklear.

In the Hulu documentary, Sambora — who went through several stints in rehab -—admitted he could have used more tact with the way things ended.

“I don’t regret leaving the situation, but I regret how I did it,” Sambora, 64, said. “So I’d like to apologize fully right now to the fans, especially, and also to the guys, because my feet and my spirit would just not let me walk out the door… I guess if you’re in the mafia, the only thing you can possibly do is disappear, and I did.”