Billy Ray Cyrus says "Hannah Montana" ruined his life and family
These days Billy Ray Cyrus's life is imitating a bad country song: He's headed for a messy divorce, his record company just delayed his latest comeback, and his cherished 18-year-old daughter seems destined to rip bong hits at every party in the U.S.A.
I point out to him that the examples he's just given—Kurt Cobain, Anna Nicole Smith, Michael Jackson—are all pretty terrifying. Does he really think Miley is in that kind of situation?
"I don't know. I'm her daddy so maybe I'm a little sensitive to it, but now's a real good time to make sure everything's okay. An ounce of prevention's worth a pound of cure."
More here: Billy Ray Cyrus: 'Hannah Montana destroyed my family' | The Music Mix | EW.com
"Somewhere along this journey," he says, "both mine and Miley's faith has been shaken. That saddens me the most." When they first came to Hollywood for Hannah Montana, the two of them would drive down the freeway together to the studio each morning, and every day Miley would point out the sign that said
ADOPT-A-HIGHWAY Just before moving out to Los Angeles, the whole family had been baptized together by their pastor at the People's Church in Franklin, Tennessee. "It was Tish's idea," he remembers. "She said, 'We're going to be under attack, and we have to be strong in our faith and we're all going to be baptized...'" And there, driving to work each day in the City of Angels, was this sign. "A physical sign. It could have easily said 'You will now be attacked by Satan.' 'Entering this industry, you are now on the highway to darkness...'"
Do you really see it in such clearly spiritual terms—that your family was under attack by Satan?
"I think we are right now. No doubt. There's no doubt about it."
And why is that happening?
"It's the way it is. There has always been a battle between good and evil. Always will be. You think, 'This is a chance to make family entertainment, bring families together...' and look what it's turned into."
Hannah Montana probably has brought a lot of families together—just not one...
"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."