Billy Ray Cyrus recently did an interview with GQ that’s lighting up the ‘net. The stand-out quote getting the most play?
“Oh, it’s huge—it [Hannah Montana] destroyed my family. I’ll tell you right now—the damn show destroyed my family.”
He later goes on to say that he wishes the show had never happened which is interesting seeing as this is something that they pursued. Miley wasn’t discovered while skipping down the street, she had to audition quite a few times to get the part. Hannah Montana has given the whole family exposure and opportunities (and a paycheck) that few will ever have. At 17, Cyrus earned $48 million last year and ranked number 4 on Forbes Best Paid Celebs Under 30 List.
To now denounce it and wish it all away? It seems pretty easy to blame fame, handlers, the show, etc. after the checks have all been cashed and it also absolves him from any parental responsibility.
Granted, it can be hard to say no. If your child is the star or principal of the production, in some cases the crew and director will cater to their whims because they have to get the show done and as a person who could potentially upset the star and slow down production the sentiment is parents should be seen and not heard.
Miley’s recent bong-smoking-pole-dancing-beer-drinking escapades serve as a reminder to all parents about what can happen when we go slack on the reins. Let’s look at Billy Ray as a cautionary tale, no matter how famous our children become, how much money is thrown their way, you only get to help them navigate their way out of childhood once…and if you flub it up the first time, you have a multitude of child-stars-gone-bad examples that will forecast the future.
Although, for every blaring headline about child stars and their bad behavior, there are plenty of young actors who were able to make the leap from child star to non-rehab-residents and productive adults. Mayim Bialik former Blossom star is now a neuroscientist and Wonder Year’s Danica McKellar is a math whiz, just to name a few.
Billy Ray said it best:
“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’? I said it a lot. And sometimes I would even read 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. I should have said, ‘Enough is enough—it’s getting dangerous and somebody’s going to get hurt.’ I should have, but I didn’t. Honestly, I didn’t know the ball was out of bounds until it was way up in the stands somewhere.”
As a parent, you have to know going into it, it’s not your job to be popular or a friend. If Billy Ray is at one end of the spectrum and Tiger Mom is at the other, a happy medium seems to be somewhere in the middle. Do you think it’s too late for Billy Ray to step up and assert himself as a parent to his (legally) adult daughter or is she lost? Destined to be the butt of SNL spoofs?