What happened to Richie Sambora? Detangling the mystery

In the whirlwind of rock ‘n’ roll, few stories are as compelling and tumultuous as that of Richie Sambora, the legendary lead guitarist of Bon Jovi.

From his meteoric rise to fame and the dizzying heights of rock stardom to his sudden exit and the deeply personal reasons behind it, Sambora’s journey has been nothing short of dramatic.

This gripping tale of music, fatherhood, and redemption is set against the backdrop of roaring crowds and blazing guitar solos, painting a portrait of a man who chose what mattered most when faced with the toughest decision of his life.

Who is Richie Sambora?

American musician, singer, songwriter, and producer Richard Stephen Sambora is best known for serving as lead guitarist for the rock group Bon Jovi from 1983 to 2013.

Together with lead singer Jon Bon Jovi, he served as the band’s primary songwriter.

Three solo albums have also been released by him: Stranger in This Town (1991), Undiscovered Soul (1998), and Aftermath of the Lowdown (September 2012).

Sambora performed with his former bandmates at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2018 after being inducted as a member of Bon Jovi. He and Orianthi formed the duo RSO in that same year.

The two released their first album, Radio Free America, in May following the release of two EPs.

What happened to Richie Sambora?

Richie Sambora regrets his decision to leave Bon Jovi when he looks back.

Hours before the band was scheduled to play in Calgary as part of their 2013 Because We Can tour, the guitarist apologized for his controversial decision to leave the legendary rock band in the last episode of the new Hulu docuseries Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story.

Sambora, who had checked himself into rehab in 2007 and 2011, gave personal reasons for his abrupt disappearance at the time, but he later said that he made the decision specifically because he needed to prioritize his health.

What happened to Richie Sambora? Detangling the mystery
Richie Sambora

Thus, musician Phil X, who covered for Sambora in 2011, came back to play the remaining dates on the band’s 2013 tour. These days, Sambora feels proud and accomplished when he thinks back on his time spent with Bon Jovi.

After Richie Sambora abruptly left Bon Jovi in 2013, the music industry was rocked. Now, over ten years later, he and his former bandmates are talking openly about that momentous occasion like never before.

The new Hulu series Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story documents the highs and lows of the legendary band through interviews with Jon Bon Jovi, Hugh McDonald, Tico Torres, David Bryan, and Sambora.

The rock icons go into great detail regarding the internal conflict that finally led Sambora to postpone a show as they talk about their thirty years together in a number of episodes.

However, Sambora maintains that “an amalgamation of things”—including his rigorous tour schedule and personal issues with his ex-wife Locklear and his 26-year-old daughter Ava—was what ultimately broke him.

In 2013, twenty performances into a major tour, Sambora asked if he could stay home one more day before joining the group the following day via private jet, but he did not show up for the flight.

In the show, McDonald claims he was “sadder” than he was “pissed off” about Sambora’s departure, and Bon Jovi asserts that his absence put the band in a tight spot where they had to choose between continuing or postponing the show and disappointing thousands of fans.

Is Richie Sambora married?

Ava was born three years after Heather Locklear and Richie Sambora, got married in 1994.

Even though they broke up in 2006 and had a custody dispute, their divorce was finally completed in 2007, and since then, they have continued to get together for significant events in their daughter’s life.

Ava got engaged to her longtime beau, Tyler Farrar, in February 2024. The momentous news was revealed on Instagram. Locklear and Sambora announced their separation when Ava was eight years old.

The family got back together for Thanksgiving the following year, and the ex-couples carried on their cordial co-parenting.

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