Now that The Jonas Brothers are no more, Joe Jonas is opening up about some of the experiences he had as a world-famous superstar — including being part of the Disney juggernaut and smoking pot for the first time with fellow tween sensations Miley Cyrus andDemi Lovato.
Before they exploded onto the scene in the mid-2000s, the Jonas Brothers — Joe, younger brother Nick and older brother Kevin — spent a couple of years trying to make it as a band, and eventually were signed by Disney and given their own sitcom, Jonas. "Some of the writing on it was terrible," Joe, 24, tells Vulture. "We went along with it at the time, because we thought Disney was our only real shot, and we were terrified that it could all be taken away from us at any moment."
According to Joe, the brothers were constantly reminded by Disney execs not to fall into the behavioral patterns of other Disney stars such as Vanessa Hudgens, who found herself in a nude photo scandal near the height of the JoBros' popularity. Despite the pressure, though, Joe recalls that he first smoked pot at the encouragement of Cyrus and Lovato. "I must have been 17 or 18," he tells Vulture. "They kept saying, 'Try it! Try it!' so I gave it a shot, and it was all right. I don't even smoke weed that often anymore. I was caught drinking when I was 16 or 17, and I thought the world was going to collapse."
Part of the Jonas Brothers' squeaky-clean reputation was fueled by them donning "Promise Rings," a symbol of refusing to have sex before marriage. "Because of our age, because of Disney, because of those rings, there were so many things throughout our career that we had to sugarcoat," Joe says. "We decided to take the rings off a few years ago. I lost my virginity when I was 20. I did other stuff before then, but I was sexually active at 20."
Joe also touched upon his relationships with Ashley Greene and Lovato, the latter of which ended after a month when Lovato went to rehab in 2010. "I really got to know her and got to see the ins and outs of what she was struggling with, like drug abuse," he said. "I felt like I needed to take care of her, but at the same time I was living a lie, because I wasn't happy. ... I couldn't express any of that, of course, because I had a brand to protect. It was an insane situation to be in."
As for the Jonas Brothers' recent breakup, Joe said it was a long time coming. The breaking point came earlier this year, when a meeting to discuss how to release their new music devolved into a screaming match "We hit a place where we just weren't jelling on the same things," he admits. "The whole situation was breaking us up as a family, and we ultimately felt like we were holding each other back.
"When Nick presented the idea of closing a chapter and moving on, I freaked out," he continued. "I didn't know whether to pick up and leave or just punch something, because I was furious. I'd spent so long working with my brothers on this band, and in my mind, it felt like we were just giving up. It didn't make sense to me. But once I started peeling back the layers, I understood. There were a lot of dysfunctional things going on. ... At the end of the day, we're trying to take care of ourselves as family. And that's fine."
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