Billy Ray Cyrus: 'Hannah Montana' destroyed family
Singer-actor Billy Ray Cyrus spills his achy-breaky heart in the new issue of GQ, saying he wishes he'd been a better father to his pop-star daughter, Miley Cyrus, and that her hit show "Hannah Montana" "destroyed my family."
"I'm scared for her," he said of his daughter, 18, a former Disney Channel star who caused consternation when photographed discreetly nude in Vanity Fair at age 15, doing a lascivious pole dance in concert at 16, drinking underage and smoking a bong containing what her representatives called the legal high salvia.
"Every time something happened in Miley's career, every time the train went off the track . . . her handlers [would] put me [in the spotlight]: 'Somebody's shooting at Miley! Put the old man up there!' Well, I took it," Cyrus, 49, said, "because I'm her daddy, and that's what daddies do."
He said he now realizes that the business was "driving a wedge" between him and his daughter. "How many interviews did I give and say, 'You know what's important between me and Miley is I try to be a friend to my kids?' . . . And sometimes I would even read [that] other parents might say, 'You don't need to be a friend, you need to be a parent.' Well, I'm the first guy to say to them right now: You were right. I should have been a better parent."
He also noted that although he played Hannah's father and business manager on "Hannah Montana," he was not Miley's manager. "I'm proud to say to this day I've never made one commissioned dollar, or dime, off of my daughter," he said, adding he was paid only a relatively paltry $12,000 to $15,000 per episode during his four years on the series.
And despite that show's star-making success, "I'd take it back in a second. For my family to be here and just be everybody OK, safe and sound and happy and normal, would have been fantastic. Heck, yeah. I'd erase it all in a second if I could."