Once upon a time, the Jonas Brothers were nice young boys who liked to wear matching rings. Only there was a bit more to it: those were purity rings.
When the band was new it was the kind of thing that made people sit up and pay attention, but now that all three of the brothers — Nick, Joe and Kevin — are either married or engaged, the rings are long gone.
And according to Joe, who took a drive with his brothers and James Corden in "The Late, Late Show's" "Carpool Karaoke" segment Thursday, the rings were never meant to be the "running joke" they became.
"We were in an interview one day, and the guy asked about them, and we said, 'We don't want to talk about them,'" Joe recalled. "He was like well, 'I'm just going to say you're in a cult.' ... We were scared to death, it was one of our first interviews."
"The next thing you know, it's the Jonas Brothers ... and their purity rings," Joe continued. "That was what people ran with forever, that was the running joke."
Purity rings are meant to symbolize chastity before marriage, and as Joe explained, they'd grown up in a church where wearing them was normal for adolescents.
"Purity rings were to wait for the right person when the time is right," he said. "It came natural for everyone we grew up with to go through this and get one and say, 'I'm going to wait for the right person,' some people say, 'I'm going to wait until marriage.' But when you're like 15, 16, and you start dating, and you go 'wait a minute, what did I say I'm going to do?'"
The rings didn't really last long on the brothers; as Joe, 29, told New York Magazine in 2013, "We decided to take the rings off a few years ago. I lost my virginity when I was 20."
Kevin, 31, revealed in the car that he was actually the first brother to take his off.
Currently, Joe is partnered with "Game of Thrones" actress Sophie Turner, Kevin has been married to Danielle Delesea since 2009, and Nick famously wed Indian movie star Priyanka Chopra earlier in 2018.
Still, during the first iteration of the band, the scrutiny was hard to manage.
"We found the humor in it sometimes," said Joe. "But we of course we just decided at one point, 'Look, this is not who we are. We don't need to wear these any more. This is annoying, and people are making fun of it anyway.'"
Looks like it all turned out well in the end — with two brothers now officially wearing very different kinds of rings. And not only that, the band's back together!
That's something worth singing about.