During the opening minutes of Chasing Happiness — the Jonas Brothers documentary premiering on Amazon Prime on Tuesday (June 4) — Kevin waxes poetic about how the band needs to change. They need everyone to be comfortable, he says, and have open and honest dialogues and not look at the past through rose-colored glasses. Eventually, Nick interjects, telling his oldest brother, "I think you're afraid to be confrontational with me."
It feels like a private moment; like we're not supposed to be listening to their conversation. That sense of voyeurism trickles on for the next 90 minutes, as the John Lloyd Taylor-directed doc chronicles the band's improbably rapid rise to superstardom, their break-up, and eventually, their chart-topping 2019 comeback. We see Kevin, Joe, and Nick speaking candidly together and individually, and their words give some illuminating context to the band's new album, arriving on Friday (the doc even features some snippets of unreleased songs!). Below, check out 11 of the biggest things we learned from Chasing Happiness.
They were shut out by their church
After Jonas Brothers got signed, the label had a vision of them as a punk-rock band. That obviously didn't pan out, but the music the boys were making was still edgier than what people had expected — especially since their father was the pastor of a church. "I think there was some judgment on us for not being a Christian band," Nick said. "Singing about girls started to become an issue." Eventually, Kevin Sr. resigned after facing mounting pressure, and the family subsequently lost their home. Around the same time, the band was dropped from their label, but the boys kept writing songs and eventually scored a lucrative record deal with Disney.
Nick's diabetes diagnosis was a "life-shifting moment"
While the band was grinding away with a grueling touring schedule, Nick started showing some scary health symptoms — he started getting moody and agitated, lost a bunch of weight, and could never quench his thirst. He eventually got diagnosed with diabetes, but the band ultimately decided not to tell the label because they were scared of being dropped. It was a "life-shifting moment for everybody," Joe said, even recalling, "I passed out in the hospital room because I couldn't see him hooked up to all these wires."
Nick was head-over-heels for Miley Cyrus
"I think my brothers and I became closest when we found a common ground beyond music and family: girls," Nick said. While Kevin confessed that he and Joe "were, like, wingman-ing each other constantly," Nick only had eyes for one girl, after the band made a cameo on Hannah Montana. Kev recalled, "That changed girls for Nick forever. When he met Miley, I think that kid's head exploded." From them on, Nick adorably admitted, "I started writing about love. And I actually knew what it felt like." Cue "Lovebug!"
They regret their Disney Channel show, Jonas
In a current-day scene where the brothers decide to play a drinking game that basically involves answering tough questions as honestly as they can, Nick said his biggest regret with the band was Season 2 of their Disney Channel sitcom. He admitted it was a "bad move" that "stunted their growth," explaining, "We couldn't evolve because of it." Kevin added that the show was presented to them as a way to keep them relevant while they were touring, but it wasn't on-brand with them or their music. The show, they lamented, presented them as younger and more "uncool" then they really were. (It did, however, give us "Pizza Girl," and for that, we are eternally thankful.)
Joe felt like a failure after his fizzled attempt at solo stardom
During a hiatus in 2011 and 2012, Nick ventured off to Broadway and made music with his own side project, Nick Jonas & The Administration. Joe, meanwhile, attempted to make it on his own with a solo R&B/pop record that quickly flopped. "The music didn't do as well as I had anticipated," Joe said about it, adding that "it was my first failure" and it was "embarrassing" to feel like he couldn't do anything without his brothers.
Kevin's reality show became a big point of contention
While Nick and Joe were off pursuing solo careers, Kevin was "living [his] best life" as a newlywed. After marrying Danielle Deleasa, the couple documented their lives on an E! reality show called Married to Jonas, which ran for two seasons. His youngest brothers weren't thrilled about the invasion of privacy, admitting they didn't want anything to do with it because they didn't want the show to dictate who they were in the public eye. "Our whole life was a closed-door meeting, and Kevin invited cameras into that meeting," Joe explained. "We felt like he was going to air out a lot of our shit that we didn't want people to know about." Needless to say, tensions were building in the band, which ultimately leads us to...
The band's split was devastating on all fronts
Jonas Brothers reunited in 2013, but it wasn't the same; Joe flat-out admitted, "We were not happy," while Nick confessed, "We hate each other, basically." Nick admitted he had a panic attack the night before breaking the news to his brothers that he wanted to call it quits, and Kevin said Joe "shut down" and took the news the hardest. "I felt betrayed. I felt lied to. I felt angry. Numb," Joe said of his reaction. "What hurt the most is that it came from Nick. Because he is my best friend and I thought that me Kevin and Nick were going to do this forever and it was us against the world, you know?"
Joe and Nick thought Kevin was holding them back
In one of the hardest moments to watch, the boys recalled how, after the band broke up, some radio stations threatened to never play JB's music or any of their solo music if they didn't show up for some promised radio gigs. Nick and Joe went, but Kevin was told that he didn't need to go. He said it was the "hardest moment of [his] entire life" watching his younger bros play the band's music without him there, and Joe candidly told him it was because he and Nick thought they were being held back.
"I think it was because we thought you were holding us back," he confessed. "That's the truth. I think there was moments that Nick and I wanted to do our own thing and we felt like your focus was not in it anymore and it wasn't a priority for you. Starting a family was, and your guitar playing kind of fell in the backseat." Joe continued by saying that he now realizes how "fucked up" that was, and apologized to Kev that he had to go through that.
"Please Be Mine" is still a certified jam
Confession: there are two times I cried while watching this documentary. The first was early on, with old footage of the brothers playing "Please Be Mine," a love song they wrote in their basement that went on to become the closing track off 2006's It's About Time. The second time was towards the end of the doc, with current-day footage of them performing the song, sounding just as heavenly as ever. "Eight years, still a jam," Nick noted after they finished it. Truer words have never been spoken.
They're all family men now
And now, I present you with the cutest quotes from all three brothers about falling in love with their respective wives. Here's Joe: "The impact of falling in love has made me want to be a better man, a better person, and ultimately, made me a better brother. Kevin: "We all spent time apart truly coming into our own. I focused on my family, on being the best husband and father that I could be." And, finally, Nick: "The time apart was necessary. I was able to pursue different creative avenues and experiment with life in a way I never could before. And it led me to find something greater than I could ever imagine: love. And this love has changed my life forever."
Frankie's the biggest JB fan ever, thankyouverymuch
Stick around during the end credits for a glimpse of the Bonus Jonas! The youngest JoBro, 18-year-old Frankie, makes the cutest cameo, telling the camera, "I am their number one fan. I know every lyric of every song. I love their music so much."