In an unusually candid interview with GQ, Billy Ray Cyrus says he blames Hannah Montana for tearing his family apart and worries that Miley Cyrus could go down the same path as Kurt Cobain, Anna Nicole Smith, and Michael Jackson. While the article is fueling another round of media hysteria about Miley's debaucherous lifestyle, Billy Ray's statements can actually be chalked up to him being a dad.
In the most widely-circulated quote from the article "Mr. Hannah Montana's Achy Broken Heart," Billy Ray trashes Hannah Montana, saying:
It destroyed my family. I'll tell you right now-the damn show destroyed my family ... 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.
Though he starred in the show with Miley, Billy Ray says even in the final seasons he only made $15,000 per episode, and he insists, "I've never made a dime off of Miley. You got a lot of people have made percentages off of her. I'm proud to say to this day I've never made one commissioned dollar, or dime, off of my daughter."
Though one could argue he wouldn't have an acting career and two albums in the works right now if it weren't for her, he says he never acted as Miley's manager — though now he may wish he had. In the article he rants about Miley's handlers, complaining that they tried to make him the scapegoat every time another scandal broke. Though he was pushed to attend Miley's 18th birthday party, he says he refused to go because it was at a bar. He explains,
Once again all them people, they all wanted me to fly out so that then when all the bad press came they could say, 'Daddy endorsed this stuff....' I started realizing I'm being used.
The final straw was when Miley's phone, which we now know contained video of her taking a hit from a bong, was stolen and he heard her handlers were "trying to make kids' computers disappear and their phones disappear." When he asked what they were looking for, he was told it was none of his business.
I'm dealing with somebody that had only known my daughter for possibly four years," he says, "and I'm her daddy. I was pretty damn insulted. And I took that as the ultimate alarm. 'It's none of your business'! None of my business that you're out running around L.A. trying to buy kids' computers and phones because there's something about my daughter...?
His concern is understandable, but since Miley wasn't a minor anymore, her handlers weren't obliged to report her drug use to her parents. Even Billy Ray admits that he may be overreacting to her teenage shenanigans, saying,
You know what, there's no doubt I did stuff when I was a teenager that I'm sure could have turned out horribly ... I've done some stupid crap-I do stupid crap. We all do. But it's different when you sit back and you see it happening to your little girl. I feel like I got to try. It's my daughter. And some of these handlers are perhaps more interested in handling Miley's money than her safety and her career.
Later he brings up his strange friendship with Kurt Cobain and desire to reach out to Anna Nicole Smith and Michael Jackson before they died, and 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. When you go through what she's been through, it takes a beating on you. And there comes a point where you just got to step back.
The celebrity lifestyle does have certain risks, and it's probably good that someone in Miley's family is aware that stars are often exploited by the people around him. However, nothing Billy Ray says suggests Miley's handlers are putting her in harm's way. He's angry that he has less of a say in his daughter's life and is worried that she's drinking and doing drugs, but the same is true of any father who sends his 18-year-old daughter off to college. Unless Miley has some raging heroin problem we aren't aware of, she's actually leading a fairly tame life. Aside from issues related to the "sexy, but not too sexy" role young female stars are expected to play, her most "out of control" moments include holding a Corona and trying a legal drug. Billy Ray's sudden overprotectiveness is kind of endearing, and certainly preferable to the Dina Lohan method of stage parenting. However, venting to GQ probably isn't the most effective way to tell you're daughter you're concerned about how fame is affecting her.