Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora and Heather Locklear were married 11 years before their high-profile divorce. That was just the first of many personal crises to hit Richie. In his first interview in two years, Richie told Access Hollywood’s Tony Potts about what a tough time things have been for the rocker and how he is coping.
"I felt like I was at that bottom and there was really nowhere else to go so it was all up from there," Richie told Tony.
Among the crises Richie has weathered are his split from Heather in 2007, the breakup of his relationship with Heather’s former best friend, Denise Richards and the death of his father from cancer last April.
The three severe emotional hits drove Richie to alcohol dependency and to entering rehab twice last year.
"How are you doing with everything you've been through?" Tony asked.
"Fantastic. I'm healthy and happy," Richie said. "Learning about all those different things psychologically — about grief and my own addictions and problems and stuff like that, and really getting an education on it, I think it was part of the process of it, learning about it and trying to lick it."
Richie said the loss of his father was the toughest of the three.
"Going through the grief period of my dad and losing him — that was the worst thing because you know when you get that call… When you are seven, eight years old, you have that almost vision in your mind of what that's going to be like and what your going to feel like and it doesn't prepare you," Richie explained.
"How tough was it for you to have this play out in the public forum?" Tony asked.
"You get used to it. It's a part of the fame game," Richie said. "I have been used to it since the late ‘80s. I was living with Cher. That was the first time I was ever exposed to it and it was like [an] amazing paparazzi fest on me every where I went."
Now, Richie is channeling his positive energies to helping those afflicted by cancer.
Richie, along with Bon Jovi, kicked off the Stand Up For A Cure concert series at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, on Tuesday night, which will raise money for lung cancer research at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the place where his father was treated.
"We're going to put [three] mobile hospitals out there in the city today for people who can't get to the hospital," Richie said.
"What do you think he would say [about what] you have done?" Tony asked.
"Oh, there is a lot of smiling going on in heaven tonight man," Richie said.