John Oates Credits Ultimatum Wife Aimee Gave Him 30 Years Ago for Their Family's Success: She Was '100% Right' (Exclusive)

John Oates released his sixth studio album 'Reunion' last Friday

<p>Jason Kempin/Getty Images </p> Aimee and John Oates in September 2023

Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Aimee and John Oates in September 2023

Back in the 1990s, Hall & Oates was hitting the road, which meant rocker John Oates was often on tour.

But when he met his now-wife Aimee, she laid down the law — and it seems to have paid off, as the couple will celebrate their 30th anniversary in November.

“When Aimee and I first got married, [touring] was a boys club,” Oates, who released his sixth studio album Reunion last Friday, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “When we got serious, she said, ‘Look, if we’re going to do this, we have to do it together as a family or it’s not going to work.’”

He continues: “It was hard for me to process that, but the reality of it was, she’s 100% right.”

When Oates, 76, and Aimee welcomed son Tanner, now 28, the family kept good on the promise, and brought their son on the road starting when he was just 5 weeks old.

Related: How John Oates Is Moving Beyond Daryl Hall Dispute and 'Reuniting' with His 'True Self' to Create New Music (Exclusive)

<p>Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images</p> John and Aimee Oates in 1994

Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

John and Aimee Oates in 1994

“He was on the road for the rest of his life until he was 13,” Oates says. “We homeschooled him, and we had tutors and things like that. When he was 13, he said, ‘That’s it. I don’t want to do this anymore. I want to be with kids. I want to be in a school.’”

The Grammy-nominated musician jokes that he used to tell Tanner there was no need for him to go to college, as Oates was happy to hook him up with a job on his road crew.

“He said, ‘No, I’m going to college.’ And he did,” says Oates. “He’s his own man.”

Oates’ new album Reunion features sweet songs like “I Found Love,” which was originally written before his 1994 wedding to Aimee. When asked what lessons his partnership with musical collaborator Daryl Hall taught him that have served him in his marriage, Oates admits that Hall & Oates prepared him well.

<p>Courtesy John Oates</p> (L-R) John Oates' brother-in-law Osiris, sister Diane Oates-Lopez, Oates, dad Al Oates, son Tanner Oates and Aimee Oates.

Courtesy John Oates

(L-R) John Oates' brother-in-law Osiris, sister Diane Oates-Lopez, Oates, dad Al Oates, son Tanner Oates and Aimee Oates.

Related: John Oates Is 'Extremely Proud and Grateful' of Hall & Oates but Says It's a 'Miracle' They 'Lasted That Long' (Exclusive)

“Partnership is the ultimate collaboration. It’s about compromise, it’s about sensitivity, it’s about trying to understand your role in the process,” he says. “Whether that’s a romantic partnership, or a creative partnership in terms of songwriting… Part of the magic of being a good collaborator and partner is trying to understand what your role should be.”

Together, he and Hall sold more than 80 million records, and were nominated for five Grammy awards. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, and last performed together in 2022. The two are currently locked in legal limbo after Hall sued Oates in November over a proposed sale of his share of their business partnership, something Oates calls “boring, legal mumbo-jumbo.”

For more on John Oates, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere now.

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