The story that Richie Sambora was kicked off the Bon Jovi tour is bunk, according to Jon Bon Jovi. In a new interview, the singer said that the decision was made entirely by Sambora.

“I think Richie’s doing all right, [but] I haven’t spoken to him,” he told the Austin American Statesman. “We were surprised. It was 3:30 on show day on Tuesday and we got a phone call that he wouldn’t be there. It’s a personal matter."

Last week, it was reported that Sambora would miss the band's current shows, citing the always-vague "personal issues" and little else. Naturally, this led to speculation from all angles, and yesterday, reports broke that Sambora was kicked off the tour due to a relapse back into his hard-partying lifestyle. The story suggested that Bon Jovi's wife, Dorothea, who reportedly declared the tour to be a drug-and-alcohol-free zone, had something to do with the decision.

However, Bon Jovi defended his high school sweetheart, to whom he's been married since 1989, and took aim at the gossip mongers. Still, he refused to clarify on the "personal matter" that led to the decision, most likely out of respect for his longtime bandmate.

“Don’t believe what you read on TMZ because it’s the furthest thing from the truth,” he declared.