Jon Bon Jovi Recalls a Wild Night Partying With Michael Jackson’s Chimp Bubbles in the 1980s

Jon Bon Jovi just shared an absolutely wild story with Jimmy Kimmel about partying with Bubbles, Michael Jackson’s chimp and one of the most iconic celebrity pets. In the late 1980s, Bon Jovi was at its peak. In 1986, they released their third album, Slippery When Wet, which went on to become their biggest-selling album, with 28 million sold. But at the time, no one was more famous than Michael Jackson.

Jon Bon Jovi Partied Like a Rock Star With Michael Jackson’s Chimp Bubbles in the 1980s

In September 1987 while on their Slippery When Wet tour, Bon Jovi happened to be staying at the same Tokyo hotel as Michael Jackson. Their managers organized for them to meet, with Bon Jovi starstruck upon meeting MJ. But they were equally impressed with his chimpanzee, Bubbles, who MJ’s manager “fixes his hair, puts his cigar out, fixes his shirt before he enters the room.” Bon Jovi then invited MJ to their hotel room party that night. MJ was disappointedly a no-show… But he sent Bubbles as his “representative”.

 Bubbles comes down and wreaks havoc. Bubbles partied like a rock star. [He was] jumpin’ on the bed, puttin’ on a show, oh yeah. And I don’t remember who brought him down or if he just came down on his own with a cigar. Bubbles showed up, man. He hung hard.

Jon Bon Jovi, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, April 2024

[Clip starts when Bon Jovi tells his Bubbles the Chimp story]

While Jackson passed away in 2009, Bubbles is still alive and is around 41 years old. MJ bought him from a Texas research facility in the mid-1980s and slept in a crib in Jackson’s bedroom at his Neverland Ranch. Bubbles went on MJ’s Bad World Tour, which included a visit to Japan and drinking tea with the mayor of Osaka. In 2003, Bubbles was too large and aggressive to keep as a pet, which is common for chimps by that age. He went on to live with an animal trainer for a year, before moving to the Center for Great Apes in Florida, where he’s lived since 2005.

The clip below shows highlights from Bubbles’ time in Japan, including having tea and MJ using sign language to tell him to sit down. And make sure to watch until the end to see Bubbles moonwalk! If you’re a MJ fan, make sure to read up on the incredible history of Michael Jackson’s Pets.

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