The musician wed Locklear in 1994 but the pair - who have a teenage daughter, Ava - decided to divorce in 2007.
Sambora has now revealed on Access Hollywood Live that he is friendly with Locklear, and not just for the sake of Ava.
"Heather and I respect each other," he said. "We've become better friends now that we're not married than when we were, because we were all entangled.
"We go out and stuff all the time as a family... obviously I see her at school functions and stuff like that. It's actually in a very, very good place - knock on everything. It really stinks when it's not like that and obviously there is that spot after you do get a divorce where there's always shaky ground."
Sambora, who split from girlfriend Denise Richards this summer, also revealed that he has dedicated some of the tracks on his new album to Ava, saying: "She's really grown up a lot and she's been a big anchor for me and a big angel for me, so she deserves those songs to be written."
Watch Richie Sambora talking about his relationship with Heather Locklear below: