Why the Jonas Brothers Needed to Break Up to Come Back Stronger—and Closer—Than Ever

Kevin, Joe and Nick reunited to release their first song in five years, "Sucker," on Friday; here's how they found their way back together as a band and a family

By Tierney Bricker Mar 02, 2019 11:00 AMTags

We're a sucker for a reunion—especially when it's family. 

But it wasn't just a reunion for The Jonas Brothers on Friday, it was an official comeback as the reunited band released their new single "Sucker," and its accompanying music video, which immediately became the No. 1 single on iTunes, the No. 1 trending video on YouTube and has over 7 million views (we're sure the fun and fashionable appearances from the respective significant others didn't hurt). 

But their takeover is heading to the small screen as well, as the band is heading to The Late Late Show With James Corden starting on Monday for Jonas Week. It's official: the Boys are back and closer than ever and it seems like the Internet is a "Sucker" for the JoBros all over again.  

"Sucker" was the recently reunited group's first song in six years after shocking their fanbase by announcing their breakup in 2013 after releasing four hit studio albums, selling 20 million records, starring in two Camp Rock movies and their own Disney Channel show and becoming one of pop music's most iconic boy bands.

Jonas Brothers Through the Years

In that six-year time period, a lot changes for all of the brothers: Kevin Jonas, 31, became a father. Joe Jonas, 29, got engaged. Nick Jonas, 26, had one of the most high-profile weddings in recent celebrity history. And that was just in their personal lives; professionally, each of the Jonas Brothers embarked on their own path based on their individual interests.

In October 2013, a rep for the band confirmed the brothers were going their separate ways, with rumors circulating that the split could be more than just creative. 

"There is a deep rift within the band," their rep told E! News. "There was a big disagreement over their music direction."

Of course, the news was shocking for several reasons.

1. They were set to go on a 19-city tour, which they canceled just days before it was set to begin. 2. There were plans in place for their fifth studio album, titled V. 3. They had been one of the most popular music acts in the world since forming in 2005. 4. The fact that they are, you know, actual family members. 

At the time, a source told E! News that the deep rift was between "all three of them, not any one or two," and said, "They're brothers and that will never change. This isn't about personal issues. The guys recorded a lot of music and there was broad disagreement within the group about what direction to take the music."

In hindsight, the official disbandment was a long time coming as the band had been on hiatus since 2010 after completing their world tour. In that time, Joe released a solo album and Nick released an album with his band, Nick Jonas and the Administration.

Courtesy of Republic Records

And three weeks after their rep confirmed the news, the brothers made an appearance on Good Morning America to publicly explain their split, which ultimately seemed to be the best decision for their relationships. 

Nick, who "initiated" the conversation about breaking up, said they're reached a place where they "feel like we're best suited to do our own individual things, all things we're passionate about, and choose to be brothers first."

"I think it was time, and for us it took some time getting there, but we feel like it's time that the Jonas Brothers come to an end," Kevin said.  

He continued, "We're family first, and that's always been our main priority, and so honesty within what we do as a group was really important. I came to the table with the guys just before we were prepping to leave for tour, and I shared my heart with them, my feelings. In a nutshell, I said, 'Look, I feel like we've had some complications within the group for a long time without addressing them. I think this train will fall off the tracks without really getting real about some of the concerns and some of the limitations that we may feel as individuals in the group.' It was a tough conversation…It was the first time we really had that real conversation. It was a few days of working through it."

Before coming to the "unanimous decision" that the band should split, Joe admitted they had been fighting over just about everything, including their individual interests in exploring new opportunities and the direction for music videos. 

"At some point, we decided it was best to finish this and support each other and our own ventures down the way," he explained.

Still, not wanting to disappoint their loyal fans who had been looking forward to the band's first album since 2009's hit Lines, Vines and Trying Times, Kevin offered a bit of comfort. 

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

"The album will actually not be completed, but we will be doing something for our fans," Kevin said on the morning news show. "They have traveled with us and been with us for so many years that we did not want to just leave without giving them back something. So what we're going to do is, we're going to release four unreleased songs from the album. The rest of the album will be never released."

While it was ultimately for the best, the brothers acknowledged there was a "heaviness" that came with ending the Jonas Brothers, and each revealed their individuals plans for the future. 

Nick Jonas

"We're really in a season right now of being real excited about the future, but also there's a certain heaviness that comes with closing a chapter," Nick admitted. "I think that, for me personally, my next move will be recording music, writing for myself and other people, and some acting opportunities, and maybe a return to theater at some point."

And he did make most of those moves. 

Soon after the split was announced, Nick began working on his second solo album, Nick Jonas, eventually releasing "Jealous," the single that would become his first top ten hit as a solo artist on the Billboard Hot 100.


And in 2016, he released his next album, Last Year Was Complicated, with Nick revealing Jay-Z actually came out with the name of the album after he had a meeting with the music mogul. NBD! While the first single "Close" charted, the album didn't generate the same buzz or sales of Nick Jonas

Still, he'd go on to co-headline a tour with friend Demi Lovato in 2016 and served as Bruno Mars' opening act in 2018. And his song "Home" for the movie Ferninand landed him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song in 2017.

Nick was just as busy when it came to his acting career, too: He impressed critics and viewers with his turn as a closeted MMA fighter on DirecTV's gritty family drama Kingdom, before showing off his comedic chops on Ryan Murphy's Fox hit Scream Queens in 2015. 

But he also made his way onto the big screen, starring alongside Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Jack Black in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, one of 2017's highest-grossing movies, and is set to reprise his role in the upcoming sequel. 

Aside from his music career and acting credits, Nick, as you might've heard, settled down, marrying Baywatch star Priyanka Chopra in a very small, intimate ceremony in December 2018.

Just kidding: Nick and Priyanka, 36, exchanged vows in several ceremonies spread out over a  three-day wedding extravaganza in India. And their wedding was such a big deal that the couple posed together for the cover of Vogue, detailing their whirlwind romance. 

AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade

The couple first met at the Vanity Fair Oscars party in 2017, with Nick later sliding into her DMs. But they didn't officially start dating until the almost a year later, with Nick popping the question in July 2018. 

During an appearance on Ellen, Priyanka admitted she didn't really know much about the Jonas Brothers or their music before meeting her future husband. 

"Nick and I didn't know much about each other so we did a show and tell when we started dating where we showed each other our work from when we were younger—the embarrassing stuff—it was great," she dished. "That's how we got to know each other."

As for Nick, he pretty much knew as soon as he met the Isn't It Romantic star that she was The One. 

"I can go into all of it and get all mushy, but I think the thing that really connected both of us was our love for family and faith and the importance of being connected to those," he told E! News. 

And since officially becoming the latest Mr. and Mrs. Jonas, it's been "marital bliss" for the couple, who are definitely interested in becoming parents. 

"I definitely want to be a father someday," Jonas shared during an interview for Spotify's The Rewind with Guy Raz. "I think that's a real dream, and I think I have had to grow up pretty quick. With that, you could look at it two ways, you could say that was unfair, or you could say it has given me some real perspective at an early age."

And when E! News asked Chopra about her good friend Meghan Markle's pregnancy, she laughed, I just have a few of my friends who are having babies right now and I'm like, 'God I need to catch up!'"

Yu Tsai

But before marriage and his solo career really took off, Nick talked about mapping out his transition from teen idol to one of Hollywood's hottest hunks. 

"The challenge was, 'How do we educate people on who I am as a 21-year-old guy, as opposed to the 16-year-old kid they are familiar with?'" he recalled to American Way in 2017.

Well, the best way to do that is to go shirtless and grab your crotch for an infamous Flaunt magazine photoshoot as an homage to Mark Walhberg's iconic Calvin Klein ads. 

The photos, along with the sexy turn his music took, turned Nick into a sex symbol, something he had trouble getting used to. 

"It just kind of happened, and now I have a lot of unexpected new fans," Nick told Rolling Stone. "It was pretty interesting to watch it all unfold and travel in the way it did. It's resurfacing at the moment, as another male artist [Justin Bieber] has done a photo shoot similar to it. It's one of those things where I'm getting sick of looking at myself like that."

Joe Jonas 

While some may have expected Joe to be the brother to go the solo route, especially after being the first to release an individual album pre-split, he actually found success with his band DNCE, which officially formed in 2015 and had a major hit with "Cake By the Ocean." The song was one of the most successful singles of 2016, and was the second-most played song in Canada that year. The band embarked on The Greatest Tour Ever Tour after the release of their debut album. 

In January 2016, Fox tapped DNCE to serve as the band in the network's musical event Grease: Live, with Joe taking on the role of Johnny Casino. And Joe would return to TV again in 2018 when he joined Australia's The Voice as a coach after serving as a mentor on the U.S. version. 

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Global Lyme Alliance

But Joe's love life has always been a tabloid magnet, beginning with his infamous relationship with Taylor Swift in 2008. (Never, ever, ever forget the 27-second breakup phone call!)

Following the band's split though, Joe entered one of young Hollywood's most high-profile romances when he began dating supermodel Gigi Hadid, with fans dubbing them G.I. Joe. (Admit it, it's cute.)

While they were friends for years, Joe and Gigi began dating in 2015, though they split after six months, with a source telling us, "They still remain friends but their schedules started affecting their relationship."

But the following year, Joe would end up finding the one when he began dating Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner, and it seemed to be pretty serious right from the start.

"They're dating exclusively. He was playing the field, but he really likes her and is willing to settle down for her," a source told People in early December 2016.

In an interview with Marie Claire, Sophie did address the own downside of dating a JoBro: "You do feel like you're living in a fishbowl. It's frustrating [that] it's the most mundane things that make the news—how boring!"

And after attending family weddings, spending holidays and adopting a dog together, the couple announced they were engaged with matching Instagram posts in October 2017.

"I said yes," the British actress wrote in hers.

"She said yes," he wrote in his.

Emma McIntyre /VF19/WireImage

But unlike Nick and Priyanka, Joe and Sophie, 23, aren't in that big of rush to walk down the aisle, 

"There's this weird misconception that being married is the greatest thing that'll ever happen to you. But I've always found that my career is something I work for, and when I achieve something, there's a sense that this is the greatest thing I'll do in my life," Sophie turn Marie Claire. "It's lovely to be engaged. Not like I achieved anything, but I found my person, like I'd find a house that I love and want to stay in forever. There's a sense of peace that comes with finding your person. But there's a drive that comes with your career."

And after serving as the best man at Nick's wedding, Joe admitted he was keeping some things in mind for his own impending nuptials while performing his duties.

"I definitely took some notes but that week was all about them, just celebrating the two of them, and that's what it was about for us, and experiencing it and looking back and you're just in awe," Joe said on the Today show after Nick and Priyanka's lavish wedding celebration. "My time will come but I'm thrilled for the two of them."

After Joe's wedding, almost all of the Jonas brothers (Who can forget "Bonus Jonas" Frankie?!) will be married men, dashing many a-teenage dreams from the aughts. 

Sophie Turner & Joe Jonas: Romance Rewind

But like his younger bro, Joe was somewhat perplexed by his sex symbol status, even though he showed off his rockin' bod in a 2017 Guess underwear campaign that drew a lot of eyeballs.

"There's a little bit of an idea that you've gotta stay in the gym if you're going to be in an underwear campaign, so you have that in the back of your head," Joe explained. "But it's a lifestyle now. It was life-changing, I had to focus on getting in great shape for this. But no, I don't think I'd consider myself a sex symbol."

Kevin Jonas 

As for oldest JoBro, he was ready to go behind-the-scenes, where he admittedly always felt more comfortable.

"I'm going to be going back my first passion, which was the business side of things," he said. "I'm in the first round of funding for an entertainment fund that will position brands to target millennials."

Of course, he was also readying to become a father for the first time, as his wife Danielle Jonas, whom he married in December 2009 after two years of dating, was pregnant.

"We're having a baby," Kevin said on GMA. "We're really excited for it."

2019 Celebrity Babies

In February 2014, Kevin and Danielle, who starred in their own E! reality show Married to Jonas in 2012, welcomed their daughter, Alena Rose Jonas, and in a joint statement said, "She is precious! We could not be more excited to start building our family together. We want to thank our family and friends for their love and support, and our fans for all of their well wishes."

Michael Simon/Startraksphoto.Com

And the couple welcomed a second daughter, Valentina, in October 2016. 

In an interview with Oprah's Where Are They Now?, Kevin admitted to initially struggling to find his place as a new father. 

"I knew baby girl [Alena] needed Mom and that was great," he said. "So I kind of dove into work because I was not fully finding my place yet. And I think that a lot of guys just don't realize how much of an effect it has...Don't be surprised if you don't connect as a father right away. That's the one thing.... No one ever talked to me about it."

Of course, he eventually settled into fatherhood, gushing, "It's just so amazing."

Professionally, Kevin stepped away from the mic and dove into the business world. He founded JonasWerner, a real-estate development and construction company in 2014, and is one of the CEOs of a social media influencer marketing company, The Blu Market Company. In addition, he partnered with a start-up video-sharing app, We Heart it, and launched PhilyMack games, a game development company that works with artists and entertainers, with one of the band's former managers, Phil McIntyre

Noam Galai/Getty Images for Republic Records

His business savvy earned him a profile in Forbes, where he talked about how his time in the music industry prepared him to take on the tech world as a young entrepreneur. 

"Being in a band is very much like a startup. You start in a garage. You hope to get interest from investors, like a major record label," he said, "Once you get an investor on your side, you work your ass off building the product, like recording an album. And then you need to sell it, hope the audience likes it and ultimately buys it. It's pretty much the same thing as a start up."

Being in a band is very much like a startup. You start in a garage. You hope to get interest from investors, like a major record label. Once you get an investor on your side, you work your ass off building the product, like recording an album. And then you need to sell it, hope the audience likes it and ultimately buys it. It's pretty much the same thing as a start up." 

Aside from his business endeavors, Kevin also competed on the seventh season of The Celebrity Apprentice and made a brief-but-memorable appearance on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, serving as one of the women's contractor. 

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas' Wedding Weekend

But after five years without a single update on the band, whispers of a reunion began in 2018, when eagle-eyed fans noticed that the Jonas Brothers' social media accounts had been quietly reactivated. 

Before fans could get too excited, Nick was quick to shoot down the rumors at the 2018 Grammys, telling Ryan Seacrest on Live From the Red Carpet, "We hung out for a weekend all together then I guess our Instagram is restarted or reopened. But I can tell you there's no reunion planned, but I can never say never. You never know what's going to happen." 

Hm...something tells us Nick may have known what was going to happen at the time, as almost a year later, he liked a few tweets from fans expressing how much they would like to see the brothers reunite. 

And looking back now at an old tweet of Joe's, it was clear they just needed time. 

Turns out, it was going to take a lot of time and talking to get their s--t together, as they admitted on Friday to Elvis Duran that they brushed many of their issues from fives years ago under the rug. 

Instagram / Priyanka Chopra

Despite the lingering private tension and everything going on in their own lives, the brothers were still working to keep their family unit close following the split, coming together for holidays, engagement parties and weddings—and to rally around their father, Kevin Jonas Sr., who revealed he was diagnosed with colon cancer in early 2017.

"A situation like this makes you wake up and appreciate the ones around you," Joe told People, with Kevin adding, "Just spending time together can be the best coping mechanism."

After having his tumor removed and undergoing chemotherapy, their dad, who also served as their manager, was declared cancer-free by his doctors in 2018. 

"Being here with him when he went in to have his tumor removed was a really special thing and really important," Nick said on iHeartRadio's Label Defiers with ZICO Coconut Water podcast. "I had a lot of things on my schedule, but I said, 'I'm going to be here with you and walk through this with you and the family.' And it was a moment of pride for all of us to say, 'Alright, all that we been through, with the brothers, and Dad being a manager at one time,' to be able to be there with him, be a unit as a family, is something I think, we should be really proud of."

And Kevin Sr. told People, "The boys showed me constantly—through texts, phone calls, visits—how much they love me." 


After that, Kevin, Joe and Nick decided to reunite professionally, just not as the Jonas Brothers, at least at first. 

Still believing they would never record music together again, revealing the dissolution of the band impacted the family far more than they admitted back in 2013, they first came back together to film a documentary, not stage a musical comeback. 

"It started about a year ago, and initially it was about filming a documentary," Nick explained on Z-100. "We wanted to tell our story, where we came from, what happened on our journey back then together and where we are now. And in that, we just spent a lot of time together filming again and I think we realized there was a magic that was together that we missed."

And in the same way he was the one to initiate the break-up talk, Nick was also the brother to address the chances of a make-up, though Kevin and especially Joe, who was "last to the party," took some convincing. 

"After a few conversations, they came around to it. Because when it ended, it was not good. It was a challenging few years of kind of rebuilding this family and I think in our minds it seemed like it would be impossible to ever do this again. Thankfully, there was some good healing that happened during the filming of the documentary...and now, we're in the best place we've ever been as a family, which is the most important thing. From there, this new music and this new chapter has just been incredible."  

And looking back, the brother are glad they finally addressed the simmering issues from back in 2013, which they admitted to never fully discussed before filming the documentary, which sort of "forced them into therapy," Kevin said.

Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra's Swiss Getaway

"It took a lot of time. Talking through a lot of those things, especially for us as a band, but especially as a family, like we had to work through and understand what we were going through when we were that young," Joe explained. "It was interesting because for so many years we just put it under the rug and said, 'OK, we're done. Let's just rebuild our friendship and relationship as brothers.'" 

And for Kevin, who basically came out of "retirement" for their comeback, he never thought this would actually happen because he felt their relationships became so "inauthentic" when they were in public. "When we saw it was bad, people are like, 'Yeah, OK,' and it was not OK." 

ABC/Ida Mae Astute

You know what else helps bring a family back together, aside from being forced to address your issues in front of cameras for a documentary? A drinking game!

 "We put a bunch of questions in a fish bowl that we always wanted to ask each other," Nick revealed to Elvis Duran. So after answering a question, the other brothers would rate the honesty of the response. If it was a 7, that brother had to drink for seven seconds. (Receiving a 1 is the best rating in this game, by the way.)

"We didn't hold back, we asked the questions we really wanted to ask," Kevin said. 

Also helping bring the boys back together? The bond between the ladies in their lives, who adorable dubbed themselves "The J Sisters."

"This is the first time we've worked together but not for a moment did it feel like work. Such a fun family affair…#JonasBrothers and the #JSisters cheering each other on!" Priyanka tweeted along with the "Sucker" video.

Danielle also shared a clip of the three women from the video, simply captioning it "JSisters" with a heart emoji.

And yes, all of the ladies are fully behind this reunion (in case you couldn't tell from their presence in the music video). 

While Kevin found his time away to focus on his family "so gratifying," he said "to be able to come back and do this as a family again and honestly bringing them along with us is going to be such a different day." 

But before the official reunion, the brothers had to have some conversations about what it would be like to come back together as adults, with significant others and families. 


"It's a very different Jonas Brothers than the Jonas Brothers of 2009," Nick said, "the biggest factor in that is that we have our lives sort of set up...One of the most amazing things was not just including our wives and fiance in our music video, but from the ground floor, the foundation of this new chapter, having it be a family ordeal...this is really about saying: we're not taking ourselves too seriously this round. We're so thrilled that we're in a healthy place as a family and we want to include everyone in that."

And now, they're ready to combine their three individual lives to form a new sound for the band, something they could only do once sorting out their issues. 

"When we started to figure out what the sound was going to be like—balancing Nick's sound, DNCE's sound and, to be truthful, Kevin bringing so much heart into this," Joe told Duran. "It's been incredible—his stories, his family and everything that he has going on now, it was really important to be able to blend the three and so, we have probably 30, 40 songs recorded that we can't wait to release."