In 1986, Jon Bon Jovi and his band decided to turn Tommy, now 56, and Gina, now 54, into household names. The major rock anthem about a down on their luck couple, was supposed to propel these two Jersey lovers into a lifetime of fame and glory. It didn’t go as planned.
Once Upon a Time, Not So Long Ago
For Tommy and Gina, livin’ on a prayer these last 32 years has been nothing but a series of failed promises.
Tommy used to work on the docks. He still does, when his ailing back allows him too. Gina works the diner all day. She brings home her pay, but these days, it’s not for love. It’s for her arthritis meds, their annual vacation to a roach motel in Atlantic City, and their son’s legal troubles.
Gina still dreams of running away, but there’s nowhere to go. “I’m 54 years old,” she says. “Tommy’s guitar is still in hock. I’m beginning to think he won’t ever make it in the music business. A few years ago, when I was crying myself to sleep, Tommy whispered, ‘Baby, can you keep your pre-menopausal emotions in check? I’m trying to write lyrics.’”
“I remember early on, telling her to take my hand, and that we’ll make it I swear,” says Tommy. “Now all we do is swear at each other, if we talk at all.”
So Tough, It’s Tough
“The issue is that Jon Bon Jovi, instead of focusing his music video on us, decided instead to show concert footage of himself and the band the whole damned time,” says a resentful Tommy. “How narcissistic is it to sing about us while showing only yourselves dancing around with musical instruments, long hair flapping the breeze?”
Gina agrees. “Bon Jovi took our story and made himself famous while we are left in this one-bedroom piece of shit apartment outside of Trenton.”
Years ago, the couple found themselves at a wedding when they heard the familiar musical notes of their story bounding out of the subwoofer.
Both cringed at the sight of the newly married couple dancing joyously to the plight of Tommy and Gina, while the actual Tommy and Gina sat in the corner, shot gunning Pabst Blue Ribbon beers and lamenting their fate.
Jon Bon Jovi wasn’t available for comment.
You Live for the Fight When It’s All that You’ve Got
It’s now all that they’ve got. The mutual resentment, built up over years of failed promises has been tough, so tough, on these once resilient garden state residents.
“We had each other once and we thought that was a lot,” says a regretful Gina. “We gave it a shot.”
Divorce attorneys may be all that they’ve got.
We’re Halfway There
Tommy has a warning to all the stubborn young lovers out there. “Prayer’s cannot be lived upon,” he cautions. “You know what can be lived upon? Condoms. Raising an asshole kid with a juvenile record because you had unprotected sex is a stupid idea.”
Gina adds, “Well, being in the damned music video that’s supposed to be about you, would help.”