Nick Jonas was barely a teenager when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
“I was a 13-year-old kid with a life that was kind of uprooted by this disease,” the musician and actor told me Wednesday at the Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation’s “Big Fighters, Big Cause” charity boxing match at the Beverly Hilton hotel. “I didn’t really know of anybody in the public eye who was living with it at the time.”
Three years later, when the Jonas Brothers were one of the hottest boy bands around, Jonas went public with is condition.
“If me sharing my story over these past 16 years has helped anybody, that’s the goal,” he said.
He was honored by the foundation with this year’s Golden Glove award for his diabetes advocacy. “I look to the people that helped me through my journey — my family, my friends — and I want tonight to be about them,” Jonas said. “But they decided to give me this honor and it just kind of feels bizarre in some ways, but I’m really grateful.”
The Jonas Brothers will be on stage early next month for a five nights of performances in Las Vegas. “We’re cooking up a few special things for our fans,” Jonas said. “They’re going to help us pick the set list every night. We all walked through our homes and grabbed a bunch of own personal memorabilia that we’re going to be selling for a dollar each at a pawn shop to thank them for always being so supportive.”
What couldn’t Jonas part with? “Not to say it won’t happen in the future, but a couple of lyric sheets and a certain guitar,” he said.
The charity event took place just a day after the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which left 19 children and two adults dead. Jonas tweeted about the massacre, “I am sending my thoughts and prayers to everyone who lost a loved one in this horrific tragedy and all of the far too frequent tragedies in the recent weeks, months, and years. But that being said, we all know that thoughts and prayers are not enough.”
He also tweeted a link to Mom’s Demand Action, a group demanding solutions to end gun violence. “As a father, as an uncle, I can’t not think about the kids and all the lives that were lost,” Jonas told me. “I’m hoping for change to happen and we’ll see the end of this.”
Jonas and wife Priyanka Chopra welcomed their first baby, daughter Malti Marie, via a surrogate in January. The couple recently revealed that the newborn spent the first 100 days following her birth in the neonatal intensive care unit. Jonas says Texas and similar tragedies have hit harder now that he’s a dad. “Everything does,” Jonas said. “The weight of everything is much more intense. I think it’s now about trying to be as present as possible and as thoughtful as you can be for your family, but also for other people’s journeys. I’m so grateful for [Malti Marie] and the wonderful perspective of being a parent.”