Tish Cyrus is looking back at Hannah Montana, the show that launched her daughter Miley Cyrus‘ career as well as helped her then-husband Billy Ray Cyrus rise to a new level of fame.
During a recent interview on Call Her Daddy with her oldest daughter, Brandi Cyrus, Tish opened up about how the popular Disney Channel series, which ran from 2006 to 2011, impacted their family. On the show, Miley starred as Miley Stewart, a teen with a secret pop star persona, alongside her dad Billy Ray, who played her onscreen father Robby Ray Stewart.
Tish said the show “became its own phenomenon,” which they were not expecting once it initially premiered. Brandi added, “Hannah Montana was just different. And I don’t think anyone could’ve ever anticipated it or thought how big it would be.”
As for Billy Ray, who rose to stardom with his 1992 hit song “Achy Breaky Heart,” he initially wasn’t set to be a part of Hannah Montana, but when Tish saw an opportunity for her family to be together, she knew she had to push for it.
“He had done ‘Achy Breaky [Heart]’ and nothing else was working,” she recalled. “And then I brought Miley out to audition for Hannah and she had gotten it. And then one of the casting directors said a joke, like, ‘Ugh, too bad we can’t afford her real dad.’ And I said, ‘Oh, maybe you can.’”
The Cyrus family, which includes five children total, had been living in Toronto, Canada, for one of Billy Ray’s shows before Miley booked the role on the Disney Channel series. So Tish knew she had to make a decision because moving the entire family across the country or constantly traveling back and forth was going to be “really hard.”
“Miley had already gotten Hannah, and I was already stressed about, ‘What are we gonna do?’ I couldn’t, as a mom, have half my kids in Tennessee and be out [in L.A.] with Miley, like I just could not do that,” Tish told host Alex Cooper. “And so I was like, ‘I have to bring all the kids.’ And so that’s when I said to Billy Ray, ‘You should come audition for the dad. Because they love you and they’re really interested. Yes, it would be a pay cut but our family could be together.’ ”
Tish’s new comments contrasted with Billy Ray’s past statements where he said Hannah Montana “destroyed” their family. The singer told GQ in 2011, “It destroyed my family. I’ll tell you right now — the damn show destroyed my family.”
Brandi and Tish both disagreed, with the latter saying, “Absolutely not.” Brandi also added, “Not at all … I mean the family’s not destroyed, first of all. We’re doing great.”
“I just think he was having a moment,” Tish, who divorced Billy Ray in 2022, said of his comments at the time.
Brandi and Tish’s latest appearance on Call Her Daddy came just days after Miley won her first Grammy Awards, including best pop solo performance and record of the year for “Flowers.”
Following Miley’s acceptance speech for record of the year at the 2024 awards ceremony, where she thanked her mom and half-sister, Brandi, some fans pointed out on social media that she noticeably omitted her father and younger sister, Noah. This led to some people suggesting a possible estrangement between Miley and Billy Ray.
Following her parent’s divorce, Billy Ray married Firerose, an Australian musician, in October 2023, while Tish tied the knot with Prison Break’s Dominic Purcell in August 2023.