Did you get the sense that when Billy Ray Cyrus addressed Miley’s Salvia scandal with the tweet, “Just saw this stuff for the first time myself. Im so sad. There is much beyond my control right now” that he might be tipping over into Michael Lohan territory (hallmarks of which include “talking about your scandal-ridden daughter with the press in order to promote your own project” and “claiming that major magazine articles, tweets, and RadarOnline.com exclusives are the only way you can reach out to your daughter, because her people won’t pass your messages through”)? Suspicions confirmed! Intending to drum up press for an upcoming patriotic album, Billy Ray sat down with GQ for one of the magazine’s signature attempts to find wounded humanity inside a pop cultural punch line (see also: The Situation Is Lonely), and what they found was a man with a lot of excuses. Who does he blame for Miley’s recent headline-making controversies?
Her handlers: “For the record, to set it straight, I want to tell you: I’ve never made a dime off of Miley,” claims Billy Ray, who made over a million dollars playing her father on Hannah Montana and a pretty penny producing The Hannah Montana Movie. “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.” Sort of! In fact, Billy Ray says that he hasn’t seen his daughter in quite some time because her handlers would use his presence to justify her bad behavior: “If I would have went out there I would have been right in the middle of all this stuff that’s going on right now with the bong. They’d be hanging it on my ass … I’m staying out of it.”
David Lynch: Says Billy Ray, “Were it not for David Lynch, Miley would never have been Hannah Montana.” This is because Lynch employed Billy Ray in his 2001 masterpiece Mulholland Drive, which might have given Billy Ray the juice he needed to star in the medical drama Doc, where Billy Ray allowed his daughter to take small acting roles for the first time.
Satan: Shaken by a stretch of highway near the Disney studios that was adopted by Atheists United, Billy Ray calls it “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.’” Does he think the Cyrus clan has been under siege by the dark lord? “I think we are right now. No doubt. There’s no doubt about it.”
Hannah Montana: “Oh, it’s huge — it destroyed my family,” Billy Ray says about the show he participated in for four years. “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.” Or, produce another Hannah Montana movie, if the price were right.
Himself, kind of: Finally, finally, Billy Ray admits that maybe he wasn’t the best parent, though he says it is because he is too nice (he would be great at a job interview) and is unable to make this conclusion independently of the press that has been written about himself, which he has read: “How many interviews did I give and say, ‘You know what’s important between me and Miley is I try to be a friend to my kids’? I said it a lot. And sometimes I would even read other parents might say, ‘You don’t need to be a friend, you need to be a parent.’ Well, I’m the first guy to say to them right now: You were right. I should have been a better parent. I should have said, ‘Enough is enough — it’s getting dangerous and somebody’s going to get hurt.’ I should have, but I didn’t. Honestly, I didn’t know the ball was out of bounds until it was way up in the stands somewhere.”