All About the Jonas Brothers' Parents, Kevin Jonas Sr. and Denise Jonas
Before the Jonas Brothers starred in Camp Rock or debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, they had just two major supporters: their parents, Kevin Jonas Sr. and Denise Jonas.
The couple raised their four sons — Kevin, Joe, Nick and Frankie — in Wyckoff, New Jersey, before relocating to the town of Little Falls, where the older three brothers recorded what would become the first Jonas Brothers album.
Kevin Sr. and Denise were so devoted to the band in its early days that Kevin Sr. lost his position as pastor at their church in New Jersey. The family suffered financially and emotionally after being cut off from that community, but the Jonas Brothers quickly found massive success after the release of their self-titled album in 2007.
The brothers' talent didn't come out of nowhere — both Kevin Sr. and Denise were singers who specialized in Christian music. They also passed on the gene to their youngest son, Frankie Jonas, who released his first single, "Cocaine," in February 2023. Kevin Sr. celebrated Frankie's music video with a post on Instagram; in the comments, Frankie wrote, "Love you dad, you are my biggest inspiration. And you always will be."
These days, the couple is busy running their Southern comfort food restaurant franchise, Nellie's Southern Kitchen, and spending time with their five granddaughters.
So who are the Jonas Brothers' No. 1 fans? Here's everything to know about Kevin Jonas Sr. and Denise Jonas.
They fell in love at first sight
Sparks flew instantly between Kevin Sr. and Denise when they met on their first day of college at Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas. They quickly fell for each other in the registration line. "He was talking about working at a summer camp with these young kids, and all his passion and heart for them. And I thought, 'He could be a wonderful father someday,' " Denise recalled to Good Housekeeping.
Six months later, Kevin Sr. proposed and the two were engaged. They married in August 1985, at just 18 years old.
They share four sons and five grandchildren
Kevin Sr. and Denise are the loving parents of Kevin Jr., Joe, Nick and Frankie — who is often referred to as "the Bonus Jonas."
Between Kevin, Joe and Nick's children, the couple has five grandchildren. Kevin and his wife, Danielle Jonas, have two daughters: Alena Rose and Valentina Angelina, born in February 2014 and October 2016, respectively. Nick and his wife, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, welcomed their baby, Malti Marie Chopra, in January 2022 via surrogate.
Joe and Sophie Turner welcomed their daughter, Willa, on July 22, 2020, followed by another baby girl who arrived in July 2022.
Shortly after learning she was going to be a first-time grandmother, Denise shared on Twitter how excited she was to finally have a girl in the family after raising four sons. "I am so blessed to have a granddaughter," she wrote.
They both have musical backgrounds
Kevin Jonas Sr. Instagram
Musical chops run in the whole Jonas family. Back in 1990, Kevin Sr. taught songwriting and wrote and recorded Christian music at Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas, where he and Denise had met. Denise worked in the school registrar's office, and she was also a singer.
"We would take Christian singing groups on the road, so when I traveled, the boys would travel with me and Denise," Kevin Sr. told PEOPLE in 2008. The family, which then included Kevin Jr. and Joe, would spend several months at a time traveling in a 15-passenger van.
After Nick was born, the family settled in Wyckoff, New Jersey, after Kevin Sr. was offered a job as a senior pastor at a church in the area. The family would eventually part ways with the church when questions about Kevin Sr.'s priorities arose as the boys' band became popular.
The former pastor still enjoys performing to this day; in November 2022, he joined his sons onstage in Las Vegas to sing a cover of the Eagles' "Desperado." At Nick and Priyanka's wedding in December 2018, Kevin Sr. performed a rendition of Elton John's "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" while Denise, a former American Sign Language teacher, joined him onstage to interpret the song in ASL.
Kevin Sr. also keeps his love of music alive with his podcast Legendary with Kevin Jonas Sr., on which he discusses "legendary moments" with icons in the entertainment industry. Both Joe and Nick have been guests on the show.
Nick was discovered while Denise was getting her hair done
When he was 6 years old, Nick accompanied Denise to a salon, where he began to sing while she got her hair done. Another customer mentioned that her son was an actor and recommended that Denise and Nick meet her son's manager.
When Denise brought Kevin Jr., Joe and Nick to the meeting, they were signed on the spot. Shortly after, Kevin and Joe were cast in Burger King, Clorox and Office Depot commercials, while Nick made his Broadway debut in Annie Get Your Gun with Reba McEntire.
Kevin Sr. lost his job as a pastor because of the band's music
During a 2019 appearance on Dr. Phil's podcast Phil in the Blanks, the Jonas Brothers recalled the hardships that their family endured before the success. Joe explained that Kevin Sr. had lost his position as pastor at their church in New Jersey. "The biggest issue for them was the fact that he was putting his attention on his family over the church and it really made this divide happen between us," he said.
Nick emphasized that breaking off was "not as simple as just losing a job" for his father or for their family. He explained that being a pastor, or a member of a pastor's family, involved things like keeping a constant bedside manner, taking calls late at night and supporting people through hard times. "So to have some of these people then turn their back was really painful for our parents and for us," he told Dr. Phil.
Joe noted that it was especially hurtful because the church made up their childhood friends and community.
Following the break from the church, the Jonas family moved out of the parsonage house and into a two-bedroom home. That's when Kevin Jr., Joe and Nick began writing music for their first successful album, Jonas Brothers.
Kevin Sr. called the president of Disney to get Kevin and Nick in Camp Rock
During the Jonas Brothers' documentary Chasing Happiness, Kevin Jr. revealed that Joe was initially offered the lead in Disney Channel's Camp Rock on his own.
"We debated it and talked about it and ultimately said, 'We can't split the brothers up,' " Kevin Sr. recalled. He then called the president of Disney Channel and suggested, "What if, instead of just Joe, it was a band?" Of course, all three brothers ultimately appeared in the film.
Kevin Sr. is in remission from colon cancer
Kevin Sr.'s life changed on March 7, 2017, when he was diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer. "My entire life really flashed in front of me," he recalled to PEOPLE in 2018. "In that moment, I thought, 'Have I lived a good life? Have I been good to my kids and my wife? Have I done right by people?' "
Fortunately, his cancer was caught early, and by the next year, Kevin Sr. was in remission. Denise told PEOPLE that learning about her husband's diagnosis was "a really hard time." Nick added, "I pray that no one else ever has to go through that."
The tight-knit family supported Kevin Sr. throughout post-surgery complications, including a polyp, a fistula and an abscess. "The boys showed me constantly — through texts, phone calls, visits — how much they love me," he said.
In 2018, Kevin Sr. became a spokesperson for Fight CRC, an advocacy group that supports research and awareness around colorectal cancer.
They own a restaurant franchise together called Nellie's Southern Kitchen
In 2016, Kevin Sr. and Denise opened a restaurant, Nellie's Southern Kitchen, in Belmont, North Carolina. The comfort food spot is named after Kevin Sr.'s late grandmother and serves Southern staples like shrimp and grits and fried okra.
"My great-grandmother shared her recipes with my grandmother who shared them with my mother who shared them with our chefs," Kevin Sr. told PEOPLE in November 2021. "We have protected the natural recipes and made sure that our professional chefs at Nellie's knew how to make them like my family before figuring out how to serve them to our customers."
After the success of their Belmont location, the couple opened up a second Nellie's in Las Vegas. The new restaurant opened in the MGM Grand Hotel in June 2022.
Kevin Sr. and Denise are still their sons' biggest supporters
After pursuing side projects for several years, the Jonas Brothers announced they were reuniting in 2019. They then debuted a new album, Happiness Begins, went on multiple tours and even received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Through it all, they were supported by their families — including their earliest fans, Kevin Sr. and Denise.
During his speech at the Walk of Fame ceremony, Joe thanked his parents for their "unwavering support and love" through the years. "They have always been our biggest cheerleaders and have been with us every step of the way," he said.
Though the Jonas Brothers have been in the music industry for almost two decades, Kevin Sr. and Denise are seemingly still in awe of how far their sons have come. During a February 2023 performance, a concertgoer filmed a sweet moment between the couple, who were seen dancing and singing along while their boys performed in a video posted on TikTok. The user noted how proud the pair looked, writing in the caption that they were "recording and singing like it was their first show."
Most recently, Kevin Sr. and Denise were on hand to cheer their sons on during their five-night residency in New York City. The trio dedicated each night to a separate album in their discography, culminating in a final performance where they debuted their upcoming sixth album, named The Album, to an audience of family and friends. Of course, Mama and Papa Jonas were in the crowd to celebrate the milestone.