It was a great day for parents of New School graduates. It was an even greater day for Jon Bon Jovi.
The iconic singer’s 23-year-old daughter, Stephanie Bongiovi, was awarded a liberal arts degree on Thursday during the New York City school’s commencement ceremony. The Bon Jovi frontman was there in total (cool) dad mode — jeans, blazer, shades, and a camera.
He posed for photos with his only daughter (with wife Dorothea Hurley Bongiovi), who shares more than a passing resemblance to the singer. She wore a red robe and black cap and had her long hair styled down.
We say it was an especially great day for dad because he almost didn’t see this day — neither did Stephanie. In 2012, when she was freshman at Hamilton College in upstate New York, she overdosed on heroin in her dorm room. She was also arrested for drug possession (police found heroin, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia on the scene), however, charges against her (and a male companion from her Red Bank, N.J., hometown) were later dropped.
Jon, who later clarified that Stephanie was not injecting heroin, subsequently described the incident as his “worst moment as a father.” And while “it was a terrible tragic lesson of life,” he said, “I thank God every day because she is whole. It happened and it has gone. I know personally people whose sons and daughters, where it was a lot, lot worse. That could have been Stephanie.”
The rocker has said he has a very close relationship with all of his kids (he also has three sons), and it sure looked that way in February when he called Stephanie out on stage and she danced with him to his song “I’ve Got the Girl.” (She had previously danced onstage with him to the tune when she was 7.)
He told the audience, “I wrote this song for that little baby, who’s now not such a little baby anymore.”
Bon Jovi is in full graduation mode. Last week, he surprised students at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey by doing a surprise performance.