About six months after country singer Billy Ray Cyrus’ ex, Tish, filed for divorce after almost 30 years of marriage, Cyrus appears to be engaged to another woman—a singer named Firerose, who some have claimed is at least a year younger than his daughter, Miley, 29. Cyrus, mind you, is 61. We don’t know exactly how old Firerose is, but she divulged in 2021 that she met Cyrus “10 years ago,” when she was still a teenager, “on the set of Hannah Montana.” So the oldest she could possibly be is 30.
On Tuesday, Cyrus and Firerose shared a series of photos in which a pretty sizable rock is visible on her engagement finger. The conspicuously FaceTuned joint Instagram post is captioned “Happy Autumn🧡,” and has been flooded with congratulatory comments, though neither had confirmed whether they’re actually engaged as of Wednesday afternoon.
In contrast, the FaceTune app has weighed in, appearing to acknowledge the egregious editing in a reply to a tweet with the photos: “no comment.” I, personally, am of the opinion that if the duo cares this much about appearances, they should really consider doing something about Cyrus’ hair. What’s going on there??
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The pair sparked engagement rumors last month, when Firerose posted photos of herself with the same hunk of glass on her finger, captioned, “Taking in the moment…” She first confirmed their relationship in a birthday post dedicated to Cyrus in August, at which point sources close to Cyrus said they’d “been dating for a little while” and that they “grew close while working on music together. … He and Tish were over before he started dating her.”
But how, exactly, did Cyrus and Firerose meet? Good question! Over a year ago, in August 2021, the duo appeared on Live with Kelly and Ryan to perform their song “New Day.” She said they met a decade ago on the set of Hannah Montana, when she was a teenager, and that “Billy Ray has been a phenomenal supporter of my music ever since. He’s just really believed in me and continued to tell me to pursue my dreams no matter what, and not give up. The music industry is not easy, but he’s been just a really, really incredible support.”
This context, along with Firerose potentially being younger than Cyrus’ most famous daughter, has prompted some social media users to accuse Cyrus of grooming. This isn’t exactly unfounded: Grooming is often characterized by a much older person mentoring or forming a close, supportive relationship with a much younger person while they’re still a minor until they’re old enough to be a romantic partner. Groomers often express interest in their victims’ dreams and passions, as Cyrus did here. Now, of course, we don’t know anywhere near enough about Firerose and Cyrus’ relationship to make any such prescriptions. What we do know is that their age difference and the timing and circumstances of when they met are a little eyebrow-raising.
That said, enormous age differences between male stars and their leading ladies are hardly uncommon, even though the only age difference that seems to get any actual heat is that of Olivia Wilde and Harry Styles (Wilde is 10 years older than Styles). Cyrus’ apparent engagement comes shortly after Leonardo DiCaprio, 47, broke things off with yet another girlfriend shortly after she turned 25. (DiCaprio is now currently linked with an ancient 27-year-old, breaking the mold.) At 50, Dane Cook just got engaged to his 23-year-old fiancé, whom he’s been dating for five years.
It seems worth a gentle reminder that just because a relationship is legal doesn’t mean it can’t be icky or embarrassing. Inviting your 19-year-old girlfriend to a board game night, while you, yourself, are pushing 50? Pretty embarrassing. Dumping every girlfriend you’ve ever had when she turns 25, while you, yourself, are pushing 50? Very embarrassing! Getting engaged to a woman roughly the same age—or maybe even younger than your daughter—who you met on the set of a Disney show when she was a teenager, and just months after your divorce at 61? Extremely embarrassing. Mortifying, even!
Nonetheless, Tish Cyrus appears to be taking things in stride. The 55-year-old mother who shares daughters Brandi (35), Miley (29), and Noah (22), and sons Trace (33) and Braison (28), posted a glamorous series of car selfies earlier this week. Good for her!