After a breakup that devastated millions of fans around the world, including the band themselves, the Jonas Brothers are back. All grown up and having finally faced their inner band demons, the trio of Kevin, Nick and Joe Jonas have returned with mega single “Sucker” and a new documentary that takes an unfiltered look at their meteoric rise to success and the breakup that led to the brothers barely speaking for years.
Released on June 4, the Amazon doc Chasing Happiness features in-depth interviews with the group, those closest to them, including their parents Denise and Kevin Sr., other band members and longtime manager Phil McIntyre. But the most revealing moments come from the brothers themselves, who chronicle going from a two-bedroom house in New Jersey to the biggest band in the world. Here’s what we learned from watching.
IT (ALMOST) GOT PUNK
Would you believe that when they were just starting out, the brothers Jonas were partnered with a backing band and spent two years playing small shows and school assemblies and pushed as a punk band by their label? Staying true to the punk ethos, the bros would drive all day to a show, play their songs, and drive home to New Jersey and do it again the next day because gas money was cheaper than renting a hotel and they couldn’t afford both.
MILEY CYRUS TAUGHT NICK ABOUT LOVE
The brothers appeared on an episode of Hannah Montana, which introduced Nick to his first girlfriend, Miley Cyrus. “When we met Miley, I think that kid’s head exploded,” remembered Kevin. “I started writing about love and I actually knew what it felt like,” said Nick. Awww,
THE PERSON JOE RESENTS MOST IS A BALLERINA
While playing a drinking game in the doc, Joe named the one person he resents the most and the exchange between him and Kevin is both surprising and hilarious.
“That talked about your small penis?”
“She talked about my penis,” Joe admitted. “I don’t know if she talked about it being small. To this day I’m not cool with it.” Well, mystery ballerina, you’ve been put on blast.
THE PURITY RINGS WERE THE BEGINNING OF THE END
At the height of their success, the band became a pop culture joke because of their purity rings. The pressure from the media put weight on the group, with Nick diving deeper into the music and Kevin and Joe pulling away. “That was not who we were, “Joe revealed. “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.” The attention and scrutiny lead to more stress and tension within the band until they eventually broke up in 2011, initiated by Nick.
JOE FACED HIS FIRST FAILURE AS A SOLO ARTIST
Following Nick’s decision to begin his side project of Nick Jonas and The Administration, Joe also tried his hand at a solo career to lackluster results. “I was really trying to prove myself, probably to my brothers and to everyone out there, that I could do it without Kevin and Nick. I started dressing differently and I started acting differently,” said Joe, who released Fastlife, which received mixed reviews, in 2011. “It was my first failure. I felt like I couldn’t do anything without my brothers,” he said. “It was embarrassing.”
KEVIN’S REALITY SHOW WAS NOT COOL WITH THE OTHER BROS
While Nick and Joe explored solo careers, Kevin and wife Danielle Jonas shot their E! reality show Married to Jonas. Kevin was excited that the reality show offered him the chance to do something on his own, but his brothers were upset with the decision. “Our whole life was a closed-door meeting and then Kevin invited cameras into that meeting finally. We felt like he was going to air out a lot of our s–t that we didn’t want people to know about,” said Joe. “We didn’t like the idea that the reality show could dictate who we were, and to watch it every Sunday was not fun for us.” Kevin remembers the brother’s resistance to filming an episode. “Joe and Nick didn’t want anything to do with it. They were kind of forced to do the show.”
THE BREAKUP DESTROYED JOE
Kevin and Joe both agreed that they were taken aback by how bluntly Nick spoke about the band breaking up. “I felt betrayed. I felt lied to. I felt angry. Numb,” said Joe, on the verge of tears in the doc. “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. What hurt the most is that it came from Nick, because he is my best friend. I thought me and Kevin and Nick were gonna do this forever.” “Joe shut down,” remembered Kevin. “I’m looking at my brother just being destroyed inside.”
THE BROTHERS WEREN’T TALKING WHEN KEVIN’S DAUGHTER WAS BORN
Following the band’s breakup, Kevin and Danielle welcomed their first daughter, Alena, with the baby arriving at a precarious time for the Jonas family. “I think what was really hard for me was that when Alena came, we weren’t really talking,” said Kevin, who remembers celebrating holidays without his brothers for the first time. The birth of his daughter finally brought the family together again. “It was the first time I saw my brothers since the breakup.”
THE BAND NEEDED TIME APART IN ORDER TO GROW
The brothers agree that their time apart was necessary in order to grow as individuals. Nick and Joe both met their wives during the band’s break, with Joe crediting wife Sophie Turner with making him a better person. “In finding myself I was also able to find a partner,” said Joe. “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.”
THE FIRST REUNION DIDN’T STICK
In 2012, the Jonas Brothers reunited to record a new album. “We got the band back together because in a lot of ways we felt we had to, but this time everything was different,” said Nick. “We thought because of the success we had or because of the familiarity of the name the Jonas Brothers name that we would have success. We were wrong. I really want to have a second chance with them so I can enjoy every moment with my brothers, and I can smile more,” said Nick. Mission accomplished.