Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Confessions of Joe Jonas

By Chelsea Broughton

Most people that have heard of the Jonas Brothers know that they have a squeaky clean image. The three brothers, Nick, Joe and Kevin Jonas, grew up as the sons of a pastor in Wyckoff, New Jersey. Early this month, the middle brother, Joseph, released some intimate details of his and his brother’s lives to Vulture, an entertainment news website. In this article, which originally appeared in New York Magazine, Joe revealed that he might not be the “good boy” that the public knows him to be.

The Jonas Brothers started their band at a young age. Nick was 12, Joe was 15 and Kevin was 17. It began when Nick got his own record deal, but the family came up with the idea of the three brothers being in a band together. Their journey to the top was not easy. “Those early touring years were rough … It was always a struggle because every single night we were walking into hate. Sometimes people flipped us off, threw water bottles at us,” Joe recalled. This changed when the boys signed up with Disney.

It was never obvious to the public that the Jonas Brothers were unhappy with being a part of Disney. It was Disney that gave them the fame they eventually received, but being associated with that brand made them feel restricted. “Being a part of a company like that comes with certain expectations.” Joe describes the media train that they had to go though, which he hated. The boys were so afraid of making a mistake that they felt pressure to be these perfect teen idols. “We were just kids. That’s the reality. We were frightened little kids. So you got all this responsibility that’s foisted upon you and you’re expected to be perfect.”

In the media training the Jonas Brothers were taught not to answer any risqué questions and how to change the subject. They were each assigned to answer specific categories of questions. It was a routine for them.

Being a part of Disney meant getting their own television series. The show was called “Jonas” where the boys played a version of themselves where they were high-schoolers in a famous rock band. The series aired for two seasons and Joe exposes that he was not the biggest fan of the show. “But the thing about the show was that some of the writing on it was terrible. It just ended up being some weird slapstick humor that only a 10-year-old would laugh at.”

Joe also confesses his unhappiness with experiences he has had with fans. Since their primary fan base was mainly screaming teenage girls, they were put in situations that they weren’t always comfortable with. He describes how during their concerts they would be having an intimate moment with the crowd, but they would all be screaming, which Joe felt ruined the moment. He wished they would just calm down and enjoy the moment with them. The hysteria overwhelmed him as well. “It could get scary, too: We did a meet-and-greet in Spain, and like 100,000 people showed up and we ended up being chased through a shopping mall.”

One major aspect of the Jonas Brothers’ fame was their purity rings. Joe revealed that they got the rings when they were very young and they were supposed to symbolize their promise to God that they would remain virgins until marriage. The Jonas’ did not like talking about the rings in interviews and were very uncomfortable with it. They felt that the rings were the focus of many of their interviews, when they just wanted to talk about music. Many parents loved the fact that the band their daughters were obsessed with talked about abstinence, but that was not what the Jonas Brothers wanted to be known for. They did not want to influence their fans’ decisions about their sex lives.

The rings were restricting them from being able to write music the way they wanted to. Disney would not allow them to have lyrics that could be considered remotely sexual. “It felt like we couldn’t be creative, so we stopped listening to them and just started handing shit in.”

When the boys stopped wearing their rings in 2011, the media went crazy with rumors about the reason why. Joe clears it all up. “I lost my virginity when I was 20. I did other stuff before then, but I was sexually active at 20.”

Kevin had said in a previous interview that he did wait until marriage to lose his virginity and it is unknown whether or not Nick stuck to his purity promise.

Joe also opens up about his relationships. He says he does not have any negative feelings towards any of his exes, which he has a lot of. He talks about his most talked about relationship, which was with his friend Demi Lovato. After the two broke up in 2011, Demi revealed that she had been struggling with depression, drug abuse and an eating disorder. She ended up going to a rehabilitation center where she turned her life around. Joe’s relationship with Demi was during the height of Demi’s problems. They were on tour together and Demi was acting out. She ended up punching one of the dancers on tour in the face, which is when she went away to rehab, according to Joe's account in Vulture . This is also when their relationship ended.

Another shocking confession Jonas had was about his own drug and alcohol use. “The first time I smoked weed was with Demi and Miley. I must have been 17 or 18. They kept saying, ‘Try it! Try it!’ so I gave it a shot, and it was all right.” He then expressed that he still does partake in the use of marijuana occasionally, but not very often. Before Joe turned 21, he was in another country where it was legal to drink alcohol at 16 so he did so and it caused another media uproar. On his actual 21st birthday he reveals that he might have had a little too much fun.

“My 21st birthday, I fell down a flight of stairs. I was unconscious that time, and my whole team was scared to death that somebody was going to get a picture.” Luckily for Jonas, nothing about that incident was ever released until now.

The last thing that Joe touched upon was the recent breakup of the Jonas Brothers. “We hit a place where we just weren’t jelling on the same things, and we didn’t want to become a band that was worried about the fact that people didn’t understand how cool we were,” Jonas said. “The whole situation was breaking us up as a family, and we ultimately felt like we were holding each other back.”

Though they weren’t always truthful about their ideals and opinions, the Jonas’ did truly care about their family. Moving on from the group was a hard decision for the brothers, but they ultimately believed it was the right choice, Joe said. “Now that I’m 24 and have control of my life, I’m going back to the drawing board.”

All three Jonas brothers are hopeful for their future as they go down different paths to be the individuals they have always wanted to be.

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Chelsea Broughton is a sophomore at St. Thomas Aquinas College studying communications arts.

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