Ever since Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora left the group's tour this past April, fans have been wondering why the New Jersey rocker has gone AWOL. Now, Sambora finally is opening up about his reason for exiting the band.
In an interview earlier this week with Australia's Today show, Richie admitted that he felt he needed to take a break from the road to spend more time with his daughter, 16-year-old Ava, whose mom is Sambora's ex-wife Heather Locklear.
Noting that he'd given a "24/7" commitment to Bon Jovi for 30 years, Sambora added, "I think people don't understand exactly what that means. You don't get to come home. There's a huge sacrifice in that. I missed a lot of my daughter's life."
The 54-year-old guitarist also explained that following the first leg of the band's Because We Can tour, he thought they should have taken additional time before launching a new leg. He also said, however, that he initially had no intention of taking a hiatus from the group.
"I just started spending time with my kid between [tour] legs, and my spirit wouldn't pull myself out of the door," he explained. "I just needed to be home."
Sambora also insisted that his departure had nothing to do with any major conflict with frontman Jon Bon Jovi, while pointing out that "being in a band for 30 years, there's always ups and downs and people have differences of opinion and also differences of pace."
As for whether he'll eventually return to the group, Richie said, "I think so, yeah, I'm pretty sure. I don't think it's going to be the end of the band or anything like that."
Meanwhile, Sambora, who has struggled with substance abuse over the years, maintained that that issue was no factor in his current status with the group. "I've been sober for almost eight years," he declared. "I'm in good shape."
Sambora was in Australia to attend the Melbourne Cup horse race. Bon Jovi, meanwhile, will be heading to the country next month for a tour, with guitarist Phil X continuing to fill in for Richie.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio