Joe and Nick Jonas Once Thought Kevin Was Holding Them Back — and 8 Other Takeaways from 'Chasing Happiness'
In the tell-all documentary “Chasing Happiness,” the Jonas Brothers recount their rise to fame, the abrupt breakup in 2013 that shocked the world and their “second chance” and reunion as a band.
Kevin Jonas is recalling one of the "hardest moments" of his life and it happened after the Jonas Brothers broke up.
Although the decision to break up in 2013 was rooted in Nick’s decision to go solo, what followed after was even more heartbreaking. In their new documentary "Chasing Happiness," the brothers opened up about a hard time in their friendship — when Joe and Nick believed Kevin was holding them back.
According to Kevin, following their split, a radio station refused to play Nick and Joe’s solo music — or any of the Jonas Brothers — if the former band members didn’t reunite to play a particular gig. In December 2013, Kevin was told his brothers Nick and Joe were invited to perform their own songs at this same gig — not any of the band’s hits — so Kevin didn’t have to attend. That was not true.
In reality, Nick and Joe rocked the stage in Argentina, performing the band’s songs…without Kevin.
"The entire set was them singing all the Jonas Brothers songs together," Kevin said. "All the big hits. All the big moments and I’m just not there."
Starting to get emotional, he added: "I think that might have been the hardest moments of my entire life."
So why did Nick and Joe lie to their older brother?
"I think it was because we thought you were holding us back," Joe admitted to Kevin. "That’s the truth. I think there was moments that Nick and I wanted to do our own thing and we felt like your focus was not in it anymore and it wasn’t a priority for you. Starting a family was, and your guitar playing kind of fell in the backseat."
"And I think [Nick and I] wanted to both continue doing music and I think we had these gigs in front of us," he continued. "Sometimes I look back on it how f—ked up it is, going to take a Jonas Brothers gig and you weren’t on stage."
Joe said he didn’t "understand" Kevin’s dedication to his family when he was a teenager — the guitarist shares two daughters with wife Danielle — however, Joe understood when he had someone in his own life who he would do anything for: his now-wife Sophie Turner.
"I’ll do f–king anything to see Sophie for an hour," Joe said. "All of those years our first love was music, our first love was the band and so for me, as a teenager and young adult, to see you prioritize anything but, was bad. But it took me a long time to understand that."
"I love you," he added. "I’m sorry you had to go through that." According to Kevin, the brothers didn’t see each other again until his first daughter was born that following February.
In the tell-all documentary "Chasing Happiness," which released Tuesday, the Jonas Brothers recount their rise to fame, the abrupt breakup in 2013 that shocked the world and their "second chance" and reunion as a band.
Read on for more takeaways.
Kevin was bullied as a child.
While recalling their upbringings in New Jersey, the eldest Jonas spoke about being made fun of when he was a kid. According to Kevin, he had "odd" interests like gymnastics and magic, while his brothers followed their showbiz aspirations.
"I became a target," Kevin recalled. "Kids were cruel at that age. They would call me gay. They would call me a f-g. They would call me p-sshead. It would break me down. I remember coming home from school and crying to my parents."
"But I think what was really hard was I never felt like I could find the place where I fit in," he added. "Even though I had things I loved, I just never felt like I connected with anyone, like, truly."
Meeting Miley Cyrus changed Nick "forever."
Many years before Nick met Priyanka Chopra and they had their multiple, extravagant wedding ceremonies, the "Jealous" singer met Miley Cyrus when the band filmed a cameo on a 2007 episode of "Hannah Montana." And for Nick, meeting the young pop star changed everything for him.
"When I was in high school, I couldn’t get a date no matter how much I tried. I could not get a date," Kevin recalled. "After Disney Channel plays our [‘Year 3000′] music video, life immediately changes as a teenager for me. Me and Joe were, like, wing-manning each other constantly."
According to Nick, the brothers became closer than ever when they found a "common ground beyond music and family" — the ladies!
"[It] changed girls for Nick forever," Kevin recalled. "When he met Miley, I think that kid’s head exploded."
Nick added, "I started writing about love. And I actually knew what it felt like."
Nick’s diabetes diagnosis was a "life-changing moment."
While on tour in 2005, Nick began to experience some scary health symptoms. He had to stop to use the restroom every 15 minutes. He lost a bunch of weight. His personality even changed as he became more "agitated."
Then one day on tour, Kevin noticed something wasn’t right. "One day, me, Joe and Nick were all sharing a room and Nick is changing," Kevin recalled. "I look at him and I could see every single bone in his body."
"I look in the mirror and I’m like a skeleton," Nick added. "I feel like I’m dying."
After Joe went to their mom crying, Nick was taken to the doctor and then was immediately admitted into the hospital.
"I passed out in the hospital room because I couldn’t see him, like, all hooked up to all these wires," Joe recalled. "It was, like, a really life-shifting moment for everybody."
The family originally kept Nick’s diagnosis a secret because they didn’t want to get dropped by their label. "Nick as we had known him — happy, smiley, smiling, singing at the top of his lungs when he wakes up — he was different after that," the brothers’ mom, Denise Jonas, added.
Their music changed their relationship with their church.
At the time when the Jonas Brothers first got signed, their father, Kevin Sr., was a pastor at a local church. Although the Jonas Brother’s later went on to be Disney Channel stars, their music was considered inappropriate for sons of a pastor.
"We were signed to a secular label and we weren’t making a Christian album," Kevin explained in the doc. "There was this perception that was on us that we were supposed to be these squeaky clean, perfect kids. Dad’s job essentially hinged on it."
"I think there was some judgment on us for not being a Christian band," Nick added. "Singing about girls started to become an issue…I started to realize that our dream that we were chasing freaked a lot of people out in church. It’s a totally different lifestyle than I think they expected a pastor’s son to be in."
The pressure eventually prompted Kevin Sr. to make what he called a "devastating" decision: resign from his position.
Oh, those purity rings!
Who can forget the Jonas Brothers’ purity rings? In the documentary, Nick, Joe and Kevin discuss those now-infamous pieces of jewelry the men wore when they were younger when they were known, as Joe described, "these cookie-cutter boy band brothers." However, the men said the purity rings were "just something [they] did when [they] were kids."
"In the Church, it was encouraged that we go through this program," Joe said. "It was, like, wait for the right person or wait for marriage. All the kids that I grew up with were doing it so I was like, ‘Oh, this is cool.’ Probably by 15 I was like, ‘What?! What is this?’" And that was not who we were, it was just something that we did when we were young kids. But we wore the rings through the first bit of the band starting to explode. At that point, it was already too late because it was in the media."
"We had all this success and that’s the only thing we could hear or focus on, was things that people were saying about us," Kevin added.
"It was embarrassing to be aware of this joke in real life with people," Nick said. "When I would go to a sporting event, they would put me on the jumbotron, or us, or whatever, they would boo us. As a sports fanatic, I would be so hurt because I was like, ‘I am one of you. I’m just like you.’"
Joe was originally the only Jonas Brother offered a role in "Camp Rock."
It’s hard to imagine "Camp Rock" without all of the Jonas Brothers. However, the Disney Channel Original Movie was originally only going to star Joe. That didn’t fly with Papa Jonas, who called Disney and got all three brothers booked for the film.
Joe was heartbroken over the band’s breakup.
When the Jonas Brothers split in 2013, fans around the world were devastated and it appears the brothers took it just as hard, if not harder. As we first learned from the documentary’s trailer, after Nick’s decision for the band to break up, he feared his brothers would never speak to him again.
Although both Kevin and Joe were saddened with Nick’s decision, Joe struggled with the break up the most.
"It was not, ‘My heart’s not in it and I want to be real with you as band members and brothers, this is where I’m at,’" Joe recalled. "It was, ‘The band is over. I want to go do stuff without you guys and I’ve made up my mind.’ I felt betrayed. I felt lied to. I felt angry. Numb."
"I was 25, 26, this was all I’d known. This is what I loved more than anything. I loved doing this. And somebody that you loved and cared about so much could take it away from you so quickly. That was heartbreaking," Joe continues through tears. "What hurt the most is that it came from Nick because he is my best friend and I thought that me, Kevin and Nick were going to do this forever. It was us against the world… For a while it was dark."
"And Joe said, ‘I have nothing to say to you… You get one taste of solo success and you forget all the work we put in together," Nick said.
The "Cake By the Ocean" singer was so "destroyed" he "shut down," Kevin recalled of his brother. "Joe finally broke down and was like, ‘You want to be done? Fine. We’re done.’ That’s when I knew the band was over. Because Joe and Nick were thick as thieves."
The split was "necessary" for the brothers to come back (better than ever!)
As we all know Nick, Joe and Kevin are all married now. The time the brothers took to bond — they traveled for a year — along with their love lives and time to focus on themselves was what helped them come back together.
"You spend so much time chasing happiness and the things you think will bring you that joy in life, not realizing it’s been there all along," Nick said. "The time apart was necessary. I was able to pursue different creative avenues and experiment with life in a way I never could before."
Nick, who initiated the reunion, added of his wife Priyanka. "I was feeling inspired. And it led me to find something even greater than I could ever imagine. Love. And this love has changed my life forever."
"Letting go of my anger and my sadness, it took time. I’d rather we be brothers and not have our band dictate our relationship," Joe said, then added of Sophie. "In finding myself, I was also able to find a partner. The impact of falling in love has made me want to be a better man, a better person. And, ultimately, made me a better brother."
"It wasn’t about the money. It wasn’t about the fame," Kevin said "It was, ‘Hey, brothers. Do you want to do something awesome again together?’" Cue "Burnin’ Up!"
Along with the documentary, the Jonas Brothers have a new album "Happiness Begins" out June 7, and have an upcoming tour.
"Chasing Happiness" is now streaming on Amazon Prime.
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