Emotional Miley Cyrus and dad Billy Ray have different relationships with fame. Here’s why

Miley Cyrus with short blond hair and a white suit jacket and Billy Ray Cyrus wearing all black pose in front of backdrop
Miley Cyrus repeatedly paid tribute to her dad Billy Ray Cyrus in a TikTok series for her new single, “Used to Be Young.”
(Matt Sayles / Invision / Associated Press)

Miley Cyrus got emotional and nostalgic in a retrospective TikTok series this weekend.

The 10-part series is inspired by her new song, “Used to Be Young,” and reflects on her 30 years of life. It touched on the relationship with fame fostered by her country-crooner dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, her step back from arena touring and her audition process for her hit Disney Channel series “Hannah Montana.”

She used to be young, for sure. And — in case you missed her unavoidable ascent and maturing — she’s got the video footage to prove it to you.

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“When I was born [in 1992], my dad had the No. 1 country song [‘Achy Break Heart],” the “Flowers” singer said Sunday in one TikTok. “When I see the numbers, I just see the humans behind it enjoying the music. And I just see people in numbers.


“My dad grew up the opposite of me, so I think that’s where me and my dad’s relationship to fame and success is wildly different,” she explained. “Him feeling loved by a big audience impacted him emotionally more than it ever could me. When he feels special or important, it’s like healing a childhood wound. And I’ve always been made to feel like a star.

“I think that’s the difference,” she said, wiping away tears.

Several of the video clips she showcased in the series featured Billy Ray Cyrus. One of them showed the country crooner playing guitar and singing to her as a child. Cyrus said she had “a lot of great memories singing music with my dad, like, learning and absorbing.

“I think I can see my wheels turning and watching his voice and the way that he’s using the instrument. I will say I feel, vocally, my dad was underappreciated,” she asserted.

Another throwback interview showed the veteran musician praising his young daughter as a natural entertainer: “The more people clapped for her, the more she’d dance,” he said.

“I’m just grateful that was projected into the universe before I even could fathom what that meant,” she said. “There’s gratitude for that being the energy that was attached to my vessel because it became a reality.”

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The former cheerleader also explained how her introduction to the sport set up a base for her career. She likened the preparation work that goes into the spirit competitions to that of touring. (The “glam” was nice too, she said, but also name-checked her godmother Dolly Parton and mentors Joan Jett and Stevie Nicks for giving her “cheat codes” to musical success.)


“Traveling as a cheerleader really set me up for touring. Like the show or the competition may only be a day — and that’s what people don’t really understand about touring: The show is only 90 minutes but that’s your life,” Cyrus explained in another clip.

In May, “The Voice” coach made headlines when she revealed that she preferred performing at festivals or doing truncated album tours with five to eight performances to doing arena tours, which she feels provide “no connection” and “no safety.”

“If you’re performing at a certain level of intensity and excellence there should be an equal amount of recovery and rest,” Cyrus said in another TikTok post Sunday. “There’s a level of ego that has to play a part that I feel gets overused when I’m on tour. And once that switches on it’s hard to turn it off. And I think when you’re training your ego every single night to be active, that’s the hardest switch for me to turn off.

“Having, every day, the relationship between you and other humans being subject-and-observer isn’t healthy for me because it erases my humanity and my connection. And without my humanity and my connection, I can’t be a songwriter, which is my priority.”

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Cyrus also looked back at the beginning of her acting career — a chicken pot pie commercial — and her audition for “Hannah Montana.” She started that process in 2004 as a middle schooler, going out for the part of the titular character’s best friend Lilly. About a year later, she landed the lead role instead and catapulted to fame.

“A year had gone by — I kept cheerleading, going to school — and they called back saying they wanted to give me another chance now that I had grown up. I came to L.A. to prove to them that I had grown up. ... After I had been cast, it was time for them to bring the dads in to audition. And the casting agent said ‘your dad is so cute, it would be amazing if he could actually play your dad on the show, but we don’t know if that’s actually possible.”


That’s when her mom, Tish Cyrus, who was her manager and producer at the time, stepped in.

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“My mom said we had been apart as a family because of the show he was doing in Toronto, that she would try to make it work and get him to California to audition. And we did,” she said, playing back a video of her and Billy Ray doing their famous handshake during a tryout.

“And the rest is herstory,” she concluded.

Cyrus famously penned an ode to her “alter ego” when the show marked its 15-year anniversary in 2021. “Hannah Montana” ran for four seasons, from 2006 to 2011, and spawned two films that starred Cyrus as a teenager balancing dual lives as an anonymous high school student named Miley Stewart and the chart-topping pop sensation Hannah Montana.