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Miley Cyrus: Daddy’s Little Girl


A Facebook friend posted that Miley Cyrus’s performance on the Video Music Awards last night was traumatically bad. Naturally, I had to trundle over to that Prytania Theater that is my MacBook Air to see it myself. I think my friend underplayed its awfulness. The giant dancing teddy bears were just embarrassing, but when Miley started masturbating on stage with the big foam hand, I bailed.

I was going to snark about what a train wreck that girl has become, but I thought instead about linking to the sad interview her semi-estranged father, Billy Ray Cyrus, gave to GQ a couple of years ago, not long after he and his wife, Miley’s mother, broke up, and he moved back home to Tennessee. (They’re apparently back together now; he remains a mess.) Excerpts:

After the first two seasons [of Hannah Montana] he felt things changing. “The business was driving a wedge between us,” he says. He tells me that he has never been able to discipline his kids and that he now wonders whether that was a mistake. “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.”


I ask what kind of communication he and Miley are able to have at the moment. “Good enough to know that it could be a lot better,” he says. “I’m scared for her. She’s got a lot of people around her that’s putting her in a great deal of danger. I know she’s 18, but I still feel like as her daddy I’d like to try to help. Take care of her just a little bit, to at least get her out of danger. I want to get her sheltered from the storm. Stop the insanity just for a minute. …”


Hannah Montana probably has brought a lot of families together—just not one… [the interviewer says.]

“Yeah. I know. I know. I know.”

And do you see the show as a big part of what has made things not work in your family?

“Oh, it’s huge—it destroyed my family. I’ll tell you right now—the damn show destroyed my family. And I sit there and go, ‘Yeah, you know what? Some gave all.’ It is my motto, and guess what? I have to eat that one. I some-gave-all’d it all right. I some-gave-all’d it while everybody else was going to the bank. It’s all sad.”

Do you wish Hannah Montana had never happened?

“I hate to say it, but yes, I do. Yeah. I’d take it back in a second. For my family to be here and just be everybody okay, safe and sound and happy and normal, would have been fantastic. Heck, yeah. I’d erase it all in a second if I could.”

Poor guy. I quite often feel that my greatest task as a father is to raise children who love what is good, true, and beautiful, and who are therefore aliens in this popular culture.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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