Jon Bon Jovi on his daughter’s heroin OD: ‘she was not sticking needles in’

That title doesn’t capture the full quote that Bon Jovi recently gave about his 19 year-old daughter Stephanie’s heroin overdose, while she was away at college last fall. (Stephanie had recovered by the time it was news and in fact she told her dad about it.) He said “she was by no means sticking needles in her arms,” which is essentially the same thing. (We only have so much room for titles.) This wasn’t the first time Bon Jovi has spoken about Stephanie’s OD. In December, a few weeks after her overdose, he said that he was shocked that his daughter was doing drugs, but that “hopefully, we caught it when we did and that’s the end of it.”

In this new interview, with UK’s Daily Mirror, Bon Jovi reveals more personal details about how he found out about his daughter’s OD. I was impressed with how candid and humble he was about it. He’s currently on tour with his band in Europe:

On learning of his daughter’s OD
First she calmly insisted: “I’m all right”, but any relief was short-lived as she went on to tell her devastated rocker dad she had overdosed on heroin.

“It was horrible, a horrible moment,” he says. “It was my worst moment as a father.

“The first thing she said, I’m all right but then she said this is what happened. You wake up, you shake it off and put your shoes on and say OK, I am on the way home.”

Police were called in November to 19-year-old Stephanie’s dorm at her university, Hamilton College, and found her unconscious. A small amount of heroin was found in her room at the $55,000-a-year liberal arts institution in Kirkland, New York.

She recovered in hospital and later charges against her and companion Ian Grant, 21, were dropped due to a local law that prohibits prosecution of people who have had a drugs overdose.

On coming to terms with his daughter’s drug use
“We went through something that a lot of parents do, many more than I thought. Many more people who have been in my life that I had no idea they had been through it with their own children at one point or another.

“There’s a lot of pressure on this generation. They have a lot easier access to things than yours or my generation had.

“She was by no means sticking needles in her arms. But there’s a lot of synthetic stuff in the world and a lot of temptation and access and pressures that just a generation ago you and I didn’t know about.

“I wasn’t aware of it, not because I’m not home but because it is a different world. Our world is far more relatable to our parents’ world than the kids’ world.

“There’s many more pressures on kids – what is this college degree going to do for me, what am I going to be when I grow up, will I be able to accomplish things?

“I feel it was a terrible tragic lesson of life but I thank God every day because she is whole. It happened and it has gone. I know personally people whose sons and daughters, where it was a lot, lot worse. That could have been Stephanie.”

On staying faithful to his wife of 24 years
“I have a wife who I adore, without her the cards would crumble. Every day there’s temptation. I don’t go looking for it either. Am I perfect? No. But do I aspire to finding a mistress somewhere? I really don’t.”

On still playing his hit songs
“I still enjoy playing Living On A Prayer immensely. You can’t not play Wanted or Prayer or Bad Name every night. Both for you and for that audience, they want to hear it. They are bigger than the band.”


Isn’t that nice how he’s so mellow about playing their hit songs and how he knows it’s all about their fans? He also sounds like a great husband and father, and someone who is there for his family. Jon and his wife, Dorothea Hurley, have four kids and have been together since 1989. They have daughter Stephanie and three younger boys: Jesse, 18, Jacob, 11, and Romeo, 9. The more I hear from Jon the more he seems like a total standup guy. It sounds like his daughter is going to be ok, fingers crossed.

Jon and his wife are shown above at the Golden Globes this year. He’s shown with his wife and daughter in the header image in 2010 and with his family in August, 2011. Credit: WENN, PRPhotos

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55 Responses to “Jon Bon Jovi on his daughter’s heroin OD: ‘she was not sticking needles in’”

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  1. SolitaryAngel says:

    I heart him so much more now! Hopefully his daughter learned her lesson. They look like a great family. :)

  2. Rinny says:

    Great husband? With that quote about temptation and not aspiring to find a mistress – I wouldn’t take “great husband” away from that. :/ He sounds like he has likely cheated, in my opinion… but since he doesn’t aspire to a mistress – then it’s okay! SIDE EYE Bon Jovi!

    • Maxine says:

      How about the part where he’s tempted every day? WTF? He sounds like he’s *this* close to cheating all the time. And his defensive “I don’t go looking for it” doesn’t help.

    • JenD says:

      If I were his wife, those quotes would not reassure me at all.

    • Annie says:

      Hey, he’s being honest. Yeah there’s always temptation for a rockstar that he is, women throw themselves at him, but he’s not actively looking for anything.

      • Rinny says:

        Ok… 1 point for honesty. Minus 50 points for being a stereotypical rock star who probably hasn’t kept it in his pants or between he and his wife for years.

    • DeltaJuliet says:

      Glad to see I’m not the only one who read that and didn’t think it sounded like the greatest thing ever. It sounds pretty damning to me actually.

      • bluhare says:

        Agree DeltaJuliet. All he’s said is he doesn’t go looking for it. Bet he gets a beej a day on tour. And not from his wife.

        And it’s OK because she didn’t stick a needle in? Please, Jon. Give us SOME points for intelligence.

    • Emily says:

      Yeah, he doesn’t sound like a great husband to me. Great husbands aren’t tempted. And they aren’t all that hard to find, you just have to keep your standards high.

    • Samtha says:

      “Am I perfect? No” = “I’ve been unfaithful.”

    • Itsa Reallyme says:

      I was thinking the same thing. A lot of celebs/pseudo celebs have been hugely slammed here for much more innocent sounding quotes than that!

    • Violet says:

      Yeah, that was my take on it as well. That when women throw themselves at him, Jon sometimes f*cks them, but it somehow doesn’t count if they approach him first, it doesn’t turn into a longterm affair and he’s discreet about it. In all fairness, I get the sense that Dorothea knew when they got married that he’d continue to screw around so maybe it’s not technically cheating in their eyes.

      Also, Jon needs to stop messing with his teeth — they are unnaturally and blindingly white. More importantly, he seems to be in a bit of denial about his daughter; drugs don’t need to be injected to be deadly. Instead of minimizing the situation, Jon should get his daughter to rehab.

      • Gin says:

        Using drugs, even overdosing doesn’t mean you need rehab. Neither of things make you an addict. Habitual users tend to overdose less because they’re aware of quantities (until a particularly high grade hits the streets). Experimenters often OD because they’re clueless. Rehab isn’t all that successful for addicts but for non addicts it’s utterly pointless.

  3. lucky says:

    I’m not sure I can put this thought into meaningful words, but doesn’t it seem that he’s minimizing her drug addiction by saying that at least it wasn’t with needles? Like- she’s a heroin addict but not *that* bad because she didn’t use needles? She’s not a loser junkie? From my understanding of 12 step programs, part of the way to recovery is to know there is NO difference.

    (It sounds like my ex-husband who told me when I found out he was cheating on me, “At least I didn’t do it while you were pregnant.” (A prince, I know.))

    • Esmom says:

      I know what you mean. And the fact that he says it’s a different world for kids, they have easier access to drugs and so much “pressure” compared to his generation. Sounds like he’s excusing or at least rationalizing her drug use a little bit.

      I still think he seems like a nice solid guy but sometimes parents can have major blinders on when it comes to their kids’ faults.

    • MissMoody says:

      Your ex seems like a real peach. I’m sorry that you had to go through that. As for your comment, I agree. I love Jon Bon Jovi but it does seem like he’s trying to minimize what happened. His daughter overdosed. On heroin. Doesn’t matter if she stuck a syringe into her arm or snorted it or…did whatever else you do with heroin. She still overdosed on an illegal and highly addictive drug.

    • Leen says:

      My first thought that maybe there were no alarm flags because she wasn’t sticking needles or anything. You can spot heroin needle use, it is visible, but other methods, not so much. Seems like he was trying to justify why this flew over their heads. That was my first thought, though.

      • Meredith says:

        Yes, it does sound like he is (1) minimizing (“look, no needles!”) and (2) minimizing some more (“but it’s different/ harder for kids these days!”). I’m glad she survived her OD and I hope she is better (off drugs) now but his comments don’t sound honest. Hopefully he is just doing this to protect his daughter’s privacy but is more upfront with her and her addiction in private.

    • marie says:

      yeah, I agree with you. Whether there was a needle or not, she still overdosed. Plus, just because there were no needles in the arm doesn’t mean there weren’t needle holes anywhere else.

      • Petee says:

        He seem’s like he is a pretty down to earth guy considering he is a rock star.They get stuff thrown there way all the time.I do agree with you guy’s about minimizing his daughter’s use.My ex boyfriend was a heroin addict.It broke my heart when I found out.It totally destroyed are relationship and his life.He is just a shell of the person he use to be.After all these year’s he is still addicted to opiate’s.This is not a drug to be taken lightly.Smoking,shooting whatever this drug is the devil.I know that sound’s dramatic but you just don’t dabble with this stuff.It’s a taker.I hope she can turn it around because people that start it never stop.

      • FLORC says:

        I’ve met the man once and have friends and acquaintances that have seen him quite often for a while. He’s pretty smug and not very down to earth. If you kiss the ground he walks on then he’ll be nice. If there’s a camera around he’ll be nice.

        Side Comment: His daughter used drugs for a while, but it’s being whitewashed now. He struck a deal with CC to not prosecute a person who od’d if they seek help for their addiction. It takes money to seek help and the state will not pay for it. Also, the “help” they must seek must be rehab. Not just therapy. He bought his daughter’s freedom.

      • Petee says:

        Sorry to hear that Florc.I guess he is a fraud.

      • Liz says:

        He is in denial when he says, “at least she wasn’t sticking a needle in her arm”. Sounds like he needs to get educated. You don’t dabble in heroin. The Betty Ford Center has the best one week class for the loved ones of addicts. Your child/spouse does not even have to be getting treatment in their facility in order to attend the class.

      • FLORC says:

        Maybe we all caught him on bad days. He’s certainly got a reputation of being Goop level smug. There’s more to this story. Liz is correct. You don’t just dabble with heroin. He could be in denial, naive, or just protecting his daughter, but somewhere along the road something happened to make her try heroin in the first place. This didn’t just happen because it was there.

    • bluhare says:

      Should have looked down before I posted to DeltaJuliet, lucky! Totally agree. I mean, it’s all OK because she didn’t stick a needle in, right? She was smoking it then. Same thing only different.

      • Meredith says:

        Another point is that she probably didn’t start with heroin. There was probably a longer period of drug use with “soft” drugs leading up to this. So who knows how long it had been going on. Maybe she was a little 14 year old pot head and he didn’t think it was anything “serious”. I bet he thinks it’s serious now.

    • Ravensdaughter says:

      I thought that, too. Just because she wasn’t using needles doesn’t mean her OD wasn’t an OD. There are ways you can take heroin without shooting up. Also, if you can get heroin near campus, I bet cocaine is available as well. She has the money to buy “blow”, and that is just as addictive and dangerous.
      They can’t think she’s out of the woods yet. I assume this was experimentation; not a crisis caused by addiction-that’s what college kids tend to do.
      As parents, Jon and Dorothea need to check in regularly without hovering. Their daughter has to feel independent and be able to do the things she enjoys and be with her friends and continue to do well in her classes-that’s a sign she’s okay-but she also needs to remember every day for a considerable period of time how close she came to the END.
      Her parents need her to know they love her and are present emotionally for her 24/7; that they are there to catch her when she trips or falls without ever making it seem like a scolding
      I took a Tylenol OD in college-I was drunk and went to a wedding right after my “major” boyfriend broke up with me. Then I came home still drunk and crying hysterically over the BF-we were meant to be together! I was 20 at the time. I knew what I was doing; I knew that a Tylenol OD could kill me. Thank God I had a housemate who was a nursing student who cared enough to come in my room and ask me about the wedding and why I was crying. I told her what happened and what I did and she yanked me off to the ER-she saved my life.
      Then MY parents started getting all swoopy and putting me into extra therapy and taking away things that gave me joy-I had a horseback riding class that was a wonderful break from the rest of my life of woe at that time. No mas; I had to go to group therapy instead, and I resented every second of it-obviously it did not help me. I did not have a voice in what would help me. Botton line-not the way to parent after a child has a self induced crisis.
      FYI-I never attempted anything like that again. Also, the obvious-Tylenol is not addictive and I stopped binge drinking after college. Oh, and I got over the BF after about 6 mos-6 painful months.
      There is a very fine line that parents have to walk in a situation like this. The Bon Jovis seem close to one extreme, my parents were close to the other…..

  4. paola says:

    I still have such a crush on him!

  5. Micki says:

    “It was my worst moment as a father.”
    He summarizes it perfectly. The problem with drugs is it’s so unpredictable who’ll start taking them and why…

    ““There’s many more pressures on kids – what is this college degree going to do for me,…”

    I understand what he means but I don’t quite agree. My Biochemistry Prof. mentioned once that his parents had to sell land so that he could study in Germany. If THAT doesn’t put pressure on you…I think that “hot house” parenting leaves many children unprepared for the life in general. Their emotional development is way behind the physical one.

  6. Official Bitch says:

    He has “messed up” in the past. He admits to not being “perfect” but he would never leave his wife for some other piece of a%% is what I got from that…

    • TG says:

      Yeah that is what it thought he meant too. Is his daughter a drug addict or was she just doing drugs that got out if hand? I mean don’t lots if young folks experiment with drugs?

      • steffi says:

        With a drug like heroin, you don’t experiment. This one is so highly addictive, there is no recreational use…

      • Sam says:

        Heroin is almost never an experimental drug. The usual path to heroin is that a user will start with prescription painkillers or opiates, prescribed by a doctor. They only move up to heroin when either the pills run out or he high isn’t strong enough. Even most druggies are aware of how dangerous heroin is, and they use it mostly out of desperation. I have a very hard time believing that this was her first time at the rodeo.

      • Petee says:

        I agree you guy’s.Read my post above that I wrote.This is not a recreational drug to say the least.

  7. LadyL says:

    I think he’s taking about how far in the addiction she was and in this case wasn’t. The strength of todays heroin allows people to get quite high by sniffing or smoking. From the limited experience with people doing the drug-for many using needles is a sign of a progression of the addiction. I think he’s saying she wasn’t doing it too long and that she was able to get help before it took a big hold on her.
    I have to say growing up in 1970′s Brooklyn was a daily anti-drug campaign. I’m surprised that so many feel they can dabble with such a powerful and addictive drug.

  8. Sam says:

    It rubs me slightly the wrong way. It’s sort of like he’s saying, “My daughter isn’t like the rest of the heroin users -she’s different.” They want to differentiate her from the stereotypical “heroin junkie” who is stick thin, homeless, walking around muttering to themselves or turning tricks. It’s still looking down on the others.

    I also still have a tough time believing that this was something she dabbled in. Heroin is almost never the drug of first choice, and especially not for wealthy young women. Even most drug users know that heroin is scary stuff. Most start out with prescription opiates and only switch the heroin when the opiates run out or aren’t strong enough anymore. I support him in getting her help (and wish her the best if she’s really trying), but I still get the impression that he’s trying to minimize it somewhat.

  9. lisa says:

    if he thinks it makes a difference that she wasnt usig a needle, he’s in denial

  10. Talie says:

    I wonder what happened to her now… hopefully she went to rehab for a long while because heroin is just wow. She must’ve been on drugs for a long time to get to that point.

  11. Barbara says:

    I think he meant well with both quotes.
    The needle part could also relieve him about diseases… we know while being high kids might not be their smartest and drug addictions still share needles which is very dangerous. I don’t think he was trying to minimize, I think he was relieved he had to worry about one less thing.
    As for the marriage, the man is married for 24 years and as far as I know there hasn’t been any scandal involving him and cheating. He’s a rock star, nobody expects him to be a saint… although it shouldn’t be an excuse, but my point is, there are women throwing themselves at him every day while he’s across the world from his wife and I think what he says is, I do my best to resist and I don’t voluntarily go after it.
    I think it’s a realistic thing, not a let’s pretend I’ve never cheated and that I would never do it again.

  12. MAC says:

    He did not need to go into detail about the OD. It is her business. I think the not using needles was a PR move. Heroin is Heroin. As for her stress her father is worth how much, that quote about what is this degree going to do for me. Doors will be opened for her as they would for anyone who had a dad with connections.
    In the past he did cheat on his wife. They worked it out. It was while on tour.

  13. Malificent says:

    I’m only a few years younger than Jon — and we had plenty of access to drugs back in the day. Might have been a different set of drugs, but it’s not like the only thing out there was a little weed. So, that’s a pretty big cop-out. Kids have the ability to make the same choices that there parents did or didn’t.

    But I do actually agree with him about the stress and pressure at that age. I was fine in college — but a trainwreck about what to do with my life for a good long while after I got out. If his daughter is feeling that kind of pressure it actually speaks well of him and his wife as parents — that they haven’t raised their daughter to think that she should be sponging off of daddy’s millions for the rest of her life….

  14. MissNostalgia says:

    Beautiful family and a stand-up guy! Love the band too.

  15. Teeny says:

    I wonder how he can be so light and fluffy about his daughter’s overdose and recovery. She’s not whole, as it’s not a situation that quickly resolves itself. My boyfriend is in recovery and I had no idea how bad things were before got sober until his parents asked to have a pow wow with me. Just because you don’t stick a needle in your arm doesn’t mean you’re not an addict, and doesn’t make it any easier to kick the habit. His parents didn’t sugarcoat anything and they explained what they have been through as well and over time, his relationships with me and his family have become increasingly strained. Bon Jovi may be able to compartmentalize, but in my experience with an addict, it’s incredibly serious and I hope his daughter is getting the ongoing care that she needs. I also hope their family is getting counseling as well because addiction takes a destructive toll on the family as well.

    Long story short, try to steer clear of drugs, no matter how tough things get! Things will get better eventually.

  16. Emily says:

    There seems to be this idea that multiple famous people have that if you don’t use needles, then you’re not doing the worst drugs you could be doing. It’s very enabling. Also just plain wrong.

    That his daughter could be worse does not mean his daughter’s okay. He’s really not helping her with this.

  17. MSMLNP says:

    I went to see the Jimmy Kimmel show live in LA a few years back and was chatting up the security staff. I asked them about their celeb guests and the guard told me that Bon Jovi was the biggest ahole ever. I was crushed.

  18. Jen34 says:

    I won’t comment on his quotes about his daughter’s drug use. It is a private issue and none of our business.

    However, he has not always been faithful to ihis wife. I thought that was common knowledge. Also, since I am from NJ and have followed his career for years, he hasn’t always been known as a great guy. I think time, age and family has mellowed him.

  19. Alexa says:

    I’ve always considered him to be a tool. After reading this, I still do.

  20. KellyinSeattle says:

    I really don’t like his music, but it probably isn’t easy for a family to be in the spotlight and women throwing themselves at Jon…his daughter and rest of the family are lovely.

  21. Original Me says:

    Couple of things. Jon Bon Jovi was in an 80′s hair band. I’m sure he has seen every drug known to man, from a young-ish age. He’s acting a wee bit naive! Drugs exist everywhere, especially on college campuses.
    It’s possible that JBJ’s daughter did not have a lot of experience/use of heroin and that’s why she OD’d. I knew a younger guy, 21 or 22 who worked in a bar that wanted to try heroin and he OD’d on his first time trying it.
    Also, heroin is really prevalent now. Kids from wealthy suburbs are buying it like bags of chips.
    Even in the late 90′s I knew kids who would go into the city (Chicago) to get it and were pretty casual about it.
    Just Google The Heroin Highway in Chicago. It’s scary.

  22. raincoaster says:

    Heroin is heroin; the delivery system doesn’t really matter that much. But I do want to highlight the law that says you can’t prosecute someone who’s had a drug overdose for those drugs. Sounds like a good idea, humanitarian.