Christopher Polk/Getty Images
Christopher Polk/Getty Images
The truth comes out! For the Dec. 9 issue of New York magazine, Joe Jonas penned an essay titled "Joe Jonas: My Life As a Jonas Brother," which chronicles his life as 1/3 of the popular Jonas Brothers trio. In it, he opened up about his well-documented relationships with Demi Lovato and Ashley Greene, being branded by Disney, his experimentation with drugs and the loss of his virginity.
Though the Jonas Brothers had already signed a record deal in early 2005, their lives changed forever when the Mouse came calling later that year.
"Disney is great at creating fame. They've done it with so many pop stars and young actors, from Hilary Duff to the High School Musical crew. Miley Cyrus played an already-famous pop star on a Disney show, Hannah Montana, and as we were starting to blow up, we got a boost by playing ourselves, as her favorite band on her own show," Jonas recalled. "That was definitely our first major love shown by Disney, and I think it might have been a trial to see whether they should give us a show of our own, and they did. We got a sitcom called Jonas in which we played characters named Kevin, Joe, and Nick Lucas, members of an already-famous band."
In Jonas' opinion, the scripts were sometimes "terrible" and watered down to appeal to a younger demographic. "I had to shave every day because they wanted me to pretend like I was 16 when I was 20 (when the show was done, I cut my hair off and grew as much of a beard as I could). 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," he explained.
"Being a part of a company like that comes with certain expectations. Not overtly, but there was a subtle vibe. We were working with Disney in 2007 when the Vanessa Hudgens nude photo scandal happened," he said. "We heard that she had to be in the Disney offices for a whole day because they were trying to figure out how to keep her on lockdown. We'd hear execs talking about it, and they would tell us that they were so proud of us for not making the same mistakes, which made us feel like we couldn't ever mess up. We didn't want to disappoint anyone—our parents, our fans, our employers—so we put incredible pressure on ourselves, the kind of pressure that no teenager should be under."
Jonas added, "Disney made us more famous than we ever knew we could be."
Though the siblings went through media training, the Jonas Brothers weren't prepared for some of the questions that came their way. "The topic that dominated news coverage of us for a long time was the whole promise-ring thing. We couldn't escape it. It started when I was really young—I must have been 10 or 11. There's a program people do in some churches called True Love Waits, where you wait for marriage to have sex. Kevin and I decided to join—Nick tried it later," he said. "Fast-forward a few years, we've started playing music and we're working with Disney and we have these rings."
"I remember this interview with this guy whose entire agenda was to focus on the rings. He kept pushing the subject, and when we insisted that we didn't want to talk about it, he told us, ‘I can write whatever I want,' which terrified us," he continued. "That's the thing: We didn't know any better, and we just wanted to make people happy. Now I know that I don't have to answer any questions I don't want to. Like, why do you even care about my 15-year-old brother's sex life?"
Jonas said it was never the band's intention to champion abstinence 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. If a lyric was slightly sexual, someone at the record company would tell us we had to change it," he explained.
"We decided to take the rings off a few years ago," he revealed. "I lost my virginity when I was 20. I did other stuff before then, but I was sexually active at 20. I'm glad I waited for the right person, because you look back and you go, ‘That girl was bats--t crazy. I'm glad I didn't go there.'"
The aspiring solo singer also said he feels no "resentment" towards any of his ex-girlfriends, and he vowed to "never disparage" them in the press. (Taylor Swift, you can breathe a sigh of relief!)
"One relationship that meant a lot to fans was the one I had with Demi Lovato, who I've known for years. We had been friends forever, we were both Disney kids, and because we played a couple in the Camp Rock Disney Channel specials—and fans liked seeing us together—we eventually dated for a month. I really got to know her and got to see the ins and outs of what she was struggling with, like drug abuse. 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 but felt like I had to stay in it for her, because she needed help. I couldn't express any of that, of course, because I had a brand to protect."
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"It was an insane situation to be in," he continued. "Things kept building up, and Demi ended up punching a girl in the face on a plane, because she thought the girl was blaming her for something. Everybody gasped, and the girl just started bleeding. That's when her team and her family told her, ‘You need to go into rehab.' I remember being in South America, and fans immediately jumped to the conclusion that we kicked her off the 2010 tour, and they just hated on us for it."
Jonas also revealed that he "smoked weed" for the "first time" with Cyrus and Lovato. He claimed they peer pressured him into getting high. "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 recalled. "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. But I was in another country, and it was legal there," he shared. "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. Now I appreciate wine or a vodka-soda at the end of the day every once in a while."
Jonas also laughs off the fact that his "first serious relationship" (with Greene) ended the day after his gushy Details magazine cover story hit stands. "That was just coincidence, but it's funny how that always happens, right?" he says. "After Ashley, I took two or three years to just be single. I was hooking up and having fun. Now I'm with someone I really care about," he says of Blanda Eggenschwiler. "We get each other."
Jonas said he's excited to finally be in charge of his own career. "Now that I'm 24 and have control of my life, I'm going back to the drawing board," he wrote. "I've been through a s--t-ton of stuff, but I'm genuinely excited because now I can go back to the studio with those people who I used to work with. I don't have to rely on anyone else's opinion, whether good or bad, and hear them say, "No, no, you can't go write with them. That's too weird for us." Because weird works. Look at Lorde."