26 Years Ago: Jon Bon Jovi Marries Dorothea Hurley in Las Vegas
Jon Bon Jovi and his namesake band could seemingly do no wrong in the late ’80s. Still, it is fairly safe to say that the frontman broke many girls’ hearts when he married his high-school girlfriend Dorothea Hurley on April 29, 1989.
Hurley was, at least initially, going out with a friend of Bon Jovi’s — but they shared a history class. “I was doing nothing to help my studies along,” Bon Jovi recalled later. “It started with just trying to look over her shoulder at test answers, to making small talk.” Eventually, however, something clicked with these two youthful outsiders, after Bon Jovi’s friend left to join the Navy.
Things weren’t always easy. As Bon Jovi began his relentless pursuit of rock fame, they briefly split up four years into the relationship. But eventually, “I went to her mom’s house, and did the whole, you know: ‘You’ve got to come with me. I wanna be back together [thing],” Bon Jovi told VH1’s Behind the Music, chuckling. “And she fell for it.”
Into the late ’80s, Bon Jovi would release two blockbuster albums back-to-back — 1986’s Slippery When Wet and 1988’s New Jersey, both of which went No. 1 and sold close to a combined 50 million copies. The world was in the palm of their hands. But, Bon Jovi said, something was still missing: “I had the No. 1 album, the No. 1 single and I opened up the window of the hotel and there was us on the billboard out my window — literally, right there, celebrating the No. 1 this and that,” he said. “And I thought: ‘Wow, this is a high. What do I do to get higher?'”
The 27-year-old decided to fly to Las Vegas, during a one-day break on the New Jersey tour and secretly marry Hurley. They didn’t even have rings. As it turned out, leaving his band, security and management in the dark led to some stinging questions about the wisdom of Bon Jovi’s decision.
They wondered what his female fan base would think, and how his family would react. “We did it for us and didn’t give a damn,” Bon Jovi told VH1. “I got a lot of heat from it, between the band, my parents, Doc [McGhee, Bon Jovi’s manager]. Everybody was pissed off. It took me a couple of days before I realized that I don’t give a s— what anybody thinks.”
Eventually, those concerns faded, as Bon Jovi continued their impressive run of hits. Meanwhile, Bon Jovi and Hurley brought four children into the world — including a budding football player— and as you can see below, the couple remains together to this day.
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