For the last few weeks I'd been hearing about the GQ interview with Billy Ray Cyrus, father of Miley Cyrus, aka Hannah Montana. In the interview, Cyrus says that the Disney show "Hannah Montana", which starred his teenage daughter Miley as the main character, ruined his family.
I finally had a chance to sit down and read the whole interview last week, and I have to admit that I was pretty surprised by what Mr. Cyrus had to say:
"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."
In other portions of the interview he admits to being manipulated by Miley's handlers to legitimize some of the questionable decisions made by her or on her behalf:
"All those people around, they used me every time. It became so obvious that, man, no matter what happens, they're going to put you up there and let you take the bullet."
When he heard about her upcoming eighteenth-birthday party, he decided he wasn't going to play that role anymore.
"You know why I didn't go? Because they were having it in a bar. It was wrong. It was for 21 years old and up. 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. 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. (A video of Miley smoking a bong surfaced last December. Her reps say she smoking the legal high salvia.) They'd be hanging it on my ass. I had the common sense... I said, 'This whole thing's falling apart up there and they just want to blame all of this stuff on you again.' I'm staying out of it."
Because you felt you were just expected always to say everything's okay?
"That's right. And it's not okay."
I have to admit that as much as I've found myself disappointed with Cyrus' seeming endorsements of his teen daughter's questionable actions in the past, this interview has inspired a newfound sympathy and respect for the man. What I read came across as sincere and full of remorse. As a parent, I can't help but feel sorry for someone who realizes too late that they've let their child down. And now she's paying the price for his mistakes.
The fact that he can admit to his mistakes and take responsibility for them, and in such a public way, is a humbling feat for any man. Normally, I don't approve of the airing of dirty laundry by celebrities and such, but in this case, considering the publicity surrounding Miley and the family's problems, a public acknowledgement of responsibility is somehow reassuring. And perhaps this will serve as a lesson to other parents who find themselves tempted to let others usurp their authority when it comes to raising and disciplining thier children.
It's simply not worth it.