Pop wildchild Miley Cyrus was just 11 when she auditioned for the title role on the popular Disney Original Series Hannah Montana. She originally tried out for the part of Lilly Truscott, but her star qulaity shone through and the daughter of country crooner Billy Ray Cyrus quickly settled into the role of a girl who split her time as an average American kid and wig-wearing pop singing sensation. America fell in love with the pint-sized singing, acting superstar and soon the rest of the world followed suit. She sold over 12 million records internationally.
But for Billy Ray, who has been estranged from his troubled daughter since video footage of her smoking the legal substance salvia surfaced online in December, Hannah Montana is largely responsible for destroying his once solid family.
“The damn show destroyed my family. I hate to say it, but yes, I do. I’d take it back in a second,” Billy Ray says in the new issue of
Though the “Achy Breaky Heart” crooner acknowledges that he could have been more firm with the most famous of his six children during those pivotal years following her first major public scandal — that nude Vanity Fair cover shot snapped back in 2007 — he accuses the teen’s legion of “Yes Men” of giving her free reign and then using him as the fall guy.
“Every time the train went off the track . . . her people, or as they say in today’s news, her handlers, every time they’d put [the blame on] me . . . I took it because I’m her daddy . . . OK, nail me to the cross,” says Cyrus, who is in the early stages of a divorce from Miley’s mom, Tish. “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 want to get her sheltered from the storm.”
Cyrus apologized to Miley’s fans after that video appeared online featuring his now 18-year-old daughter smoking the legal, but psychedelic-effect inducing herb salvia from a bong.
“Sorry guys. I had no idea,” he wrote. “Just saw this stuff for the first time myself. Im so sad,” Billy Ray continued in his Tweet. “There is much beyond my control right now.”
He says he approached Miley’s team immediately after the incident, but was told that the actress’ actions were “none of his business.”
A whopping 6.2 million viewers tuned in for last month’s Hannah Montana series finale. The TV special broke all Disney Channel records and achieved the channel’s highest ever ratings in the hour with 2.1 million kids ages six to 11 tuning in, and 2 million tweens, aged nine to 14, also switching on throughout the hour.