In rock 'n' roll, few men have managed to juggle their private and public lives the way Jon Bon Jovi has.The world knows him for the 93 million albums he's sold worldwide, his continual role in the final season of Ally McBeal and various parts in movies like U-571 and Pay It Forward.
But The Post didn't interview Jon Bon Jovi the megastar; we gabbed with the family man.
The 40-year-old dad lives in Red Bank, N.J., with his wife, Dorothea, and three children -- 9-year-old Stephanie Rose, 7-year-old Jesse James Louis and the newest Bon Jovi, 4-month-old Jacob Hurley.
Bon Jovi's career and family life collided in May, when Dorothea went into labor with Jacob and her husband was playing a gig in New Orleans. The guy was so bombarded by calls to his hotel room he took the phone off the hook.
When Dorothea couldn't reach him, she call the band's manager to wake Jon up. Without packing bags, he went to the airport, booked a private jet and flew back to Jersey to be at his wife's side. He beat Jacob to the finish line by two hours.
Last month, the band entered into the highest stratosphere of rock when they played a free Times Square concert that drew half a million fans.
On Tuesday, Bon Jovi releases Bounce, an album that deals with everyday life, rock stardom and pays homage to the victims and heroes of Sept. 11.
In this revealing conversation, Bon Jovi said he "wears his heart on his sleeve," and he proved it by showing a little of his private side.
Post: Why don't you ever speak about your home life?
Bon Jovi: I never talk about it because nobody ever asks. Shoot.
Post: Your marriage to Dorothea is one of the most successful in rock 'n' roll. What's the secret?
Bon Jovi: It's hard work, but my wife makes it easier.
Bon Jovi: She's a karate instructor and incredibly independent. She's never hindered my working.
Post When did you meet?
Bon Jovi: We've been together since high school. She been there with me for the ups and the downs -- she was there with me before there was an up.
Post: What else?
Bon Jovi: She's the mother of my kids and truly my best friend. A good marriage has to be worked at.
Post: And you still have time to make movies, work TV shows and make music?
Bon Jovi: Thanks to her. Dorothea takes care of things at home. When I'm not there, I know everything is getting done.
Post: Do you find her influence in your music?
Bon Jovi: Sure, she's the muse for all the syrupy ballads I write. It's obvious. I try to relate it with out being too saccharine. Yeah, it definitely comes out in the songs.
Post: What does she think about those songs?
Bon Jovi: She's wasn't always the biggest fan of my music.
Post: Before you were married, what did she listen to?
Bon Jovi: Elvis Costello, the Clash, Bowie.
Post: What does she think of Bon Jovi now?
Bon Jovi: She's learned to like it.
Post: On your new album Bounce, a tune called "Misunderstood" could be interpreted as an I'm-sorry note to your wife.
Bon Jovi: Bang. That's one of those tongue-in-cheek songs where you make fun of yourself.
Post: Jokes are funny because of the truth in them. What's the truth behind the song?
Bon Jovi: I had just come home from a long stint out in California doing "Ally [McBeal]." I got home late on a Thursday, I had a Friday meeting and was going to start work on the record on Monday. The band was all heading in over the weekend.
Post: How long were you away from home?
Bon Jovi: Maybe five weeks. She just looked at me and said to me, "You've snapped. I'm going to be really mad now -- so get ready."
I told her "You're absolutely right." I was so caught up in being [the Ally McBeal character] Victor, and making a new record that I forgot that part was just make-believe, and I had to come back down to earth.
Post: Another Bounce song is "Hook Me Up." That one is written from the point of view of a Palestinian boy. Are you concerned with political backlash?
Bon Jovi: Every Palestinian isn't a terrorist. Every Jew isn't trying to kill every Palestinian. What made me want to write it was a "60 Minutes" piece about two childhood friends -- one Palestinian the other Jewish who were always best buddies. When the conflict escalated in their country, they became enemies and stopped speaking. They hate each other now, but neither has ever tried to hurt the other.
Post: So the song is about people, not politics.
Bon Jovi: I have a real hard time with the idea that I'm supposed to hate all Iraqis, for instance, just because George Junior hates them. I don't hate Iraqis -- I hate terrorists. I don't agree with Bush's politics, I'm still the guy on the Al Gore line.
Post: Politics aside, you and your band have always faced an uphill battle to make it in music. Why?
Bon Jovi: There are radio stations that just won't play Bon Jovi. If my record said Goo Goo Dolls on it, they'd be playing it. They see Bon Jovi, and they say we're too old. I'm 40 years old, gimme a break. I'm frustrated by that. I want people to hear the music.
Post: Does the band get a fair shake in the business?
Bon Jovi: Do we get a fair shake? Do we get the cover of Rolling Stone when we've sold more records than most bands? No and no.
Post: You don't sound angry about it. No chip on your shoulder?
Bon Jovi: I'm beyond that.
Post: Is TV better? More respect?
Bon Jovi: TV is a tough gig. Respect? Look at poor Calista Flockhart. I never met this kid before, and on the first day, our first scene together she has to sniff my rear end. I'm bent over and she has to sniff my butt like a dog. I thought this is a tough gig, nice to meet ya. She told me later this wasn't the first butt she had to sniff for the show.