Nick Jonas, one-third of the former boy band The Jonas Brothers and son of a former worship leader and pastor, outlined in an interview this week that he has abandoned his purity ring, but claimed that his relationship with God and love for the Church remains of utmost importance despite his recent appearances in dramatized sex scenes and at “gay” clubs.
“This is a real growth in me and that’s not something I’m doing anymore,” he told HuffPost Live’s Caitlyn Becker in response to a question from a fan about his much-publicized ring, which signified his commitment not to have sex before marriage. “But I’ve got my set of values, things that are important to me now at this point in my life, and that’s all that matters.”
Jonas appears in the new television drama series Kingdom, which he admits features simulated sex scenes, including with men. Jonas has also recently been appearing at a number of “gay” clubs, performing a striptease in front of 1,000 men at a club in New York City earlier this month. While Jonas does not identify as homosexual himself, he states that it is “a community that I love and have embraced, and [that] has embraced me.”
His new music video, Jealous, features his real-life girlfriend, Olivia Culpo, playing a cello in a bikini.
When asked if his involvement in the projects conflicts with his profession of faith, he said he didn’t see any problem.
“I’ve had an incredibly intense journey with faith and religion and my growth,” Jonas replied. “My belief in God is still very strong and important to me as a person, and I think that’s all that should matter. The other things around it are not as important to me as my relationship with God.”
“There are a lot of things that I feel I agree with and things I don’t,” he continued. “I grew up in a church environment, and still have love for the church, but what’s important to me now in my life is my relationship with God and that I not be judged and that I not judge.”
As previously reported, Jonas, 21, and his brothers Kevin, 26, and Joe, 24, disbanded last year after an eight-year run as The Jonas Brothers. Before forming the group, Jonas had been signed as a solo artist to the Christian record label INO Records, where his first single, Dear God, had been released to Christian radio stations nationwide.
“Dear God, people take your words and try to twist ‘em round/I know you can’t be happy with what’s goin’ down,” he sang as a 12-year-old in the song, which he also performed at churches and other venues.
“I hope this record touches a lot of people and I’ve been praying that the Lord will use it in a big way,” Jonas said in a press release about the album. “The hope of this record is to make people feel good and happy inside. I’m excited to see what comes next.”
Jonas’ father, Kevin Sr., worked for a time at Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas, where he served as a worship leader and taught songwriting to students. Kevin Jr. was the subject of one of Jonas Sr.’s worship songs, entitled I Am Amazed. A young Kevin sang the song for the church, surrounded by other children whose voices rang out in awe of the love and mercy of God. Jonas’ mother, Denise, was a singer at Christ for the Nations as well.
In 1996, Jonas’ father was offered a ministerial position at Wyckoff Assembly of God in New York, and the family soon moved to the big city, where Jonas soon became involved in show business as a Broadway actor.
However, after his Christian music release caught the attention of a Columbia Records official, Jonas was signed to the secular label with his brothers, who then became known as The Jonas Brothers. The trio was featured on MTV, Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel, and were later signed to Hollywood Records after being dropped by Columbia. They were featured in a Hannah Montana episode with Miley Cyrus and were also stars in the Disney film Camp Rock featuring Demi Lovato.
“More to love when your hands are free/Baby, put your pom poms down for me,” The Jonas Brothers sang as screaming girls pined for the trio. “Want you like a kid just wants a milkshake/And I won’t let it go to waste if I get a taste/I’m gonna drink the whole thing.”
During this time, megachurch leader and author Rick Warren invited the group to perform at a service celebrating Saddleback Church’s 30th anniversary. Warren applauded the trio as being “followers of Jesus Christ,” noting their commitment to wear purity rings until marriage as he gave the brothers the stage to sing some of their most popular secular hits.
But some expressed concern, stating that The Jonas Brothers’ music was not reflective of Christianity and that their appearance at Saddleback was anything but honoring to God.
“How anyone, especially someone who claims the name of Christ and claims to read and know His word, could look at something like the mess that was presented by Saddleback Church … and not have problems with it, is beyond me,” wrote blogger Mike Corley.
Some had speculated in recent years that Jonas had discontinued wearing his purity ring.