What Happened to Billy Ray Cyrus?


In a GQ article back in 2011, Billy Ray Cyrus lamented over his daughter Miley’s rebellious turn for the worse. At the time, Billy refused to attend his daughter’s 18th birthday because it was in a “bar.”  Like any father would be, he was greatly disturbed by her lewd pole dancing and public drug use. 

The article painfully walks the reader through the ordeal of a father fearful for his daughter’s life because he’s seen too many of his friends and acquaintances destroy themselves.

At one point, Billy leads the author into a dark hallway to read a framed poem he wrote in memory of the King of Grunge, Kurt Cobain. At the height of his career, Cobain committed drug fueled suicide. Of this tragedy, Billy wrote:

“But after all was said and done,

And the big top now came down,

No one could ever doubt the fact

The circus came to town.” 

Billy then brings up the King of Pop Michael Jackson, who, after a lifetime of iconic musical accomplishments, wound up dead from a drug overdose. Billy doesn’t leave out his friend Anna Nicole Smith, of whose death by overdose, he says, “you could see that train wreck coming.”

Of course, he could have also brought up the King of Country ole Hank Williams, the Queen of R&B Whitney Houston, the King of Rock ’n’ Roll Elvis Presley, the queen Rocker Janice Joplin, or The Doors’ “Lizard King” Jim Morrison, and even “non-royalty” like Jimi Hendrix, Sid Vicious, Amy Winehouse, etc. All have one thing in common: self-induced drug overdose.  In 2011, Billy worried that his daughter might see the same fate as so many of his friends.

Given Miley Cyrus’ increasingly erratic behavior – bragging about her drug consumption, passing out joints at a press conference, declaring herself sexually open to “every single thing that is consenting and doesn’t involve an animal and everyone is of age” – you’d think Billy would be more worried than ever about the direction his daughter is headed. But he’s all smiles now.

So what changed?  Why is Billy all of the sudden proud?  In 2015, Billy has done a 180 regarding his daughter’s bizarre and destructive behavior, and now he says, “We’ve always been very open-minded.”  Billy now seems to fully embrace his daughter’s unbridle pursuit of happiness – drug use, raunchy demeaning sexual exploits, and all. “Seeing her happy is the greatest thing ever,” he tells E! “She’s rocking and rolling and having a good time. What the world needs is love.” 

But real love isn’t watching someone jump off a cliff.  Perhaps someone should acquaint Billy with some poetic words written 2,000 years ago about what real love is:

“Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 

Love tells the truth even when it hurts, and the real truth is that sometimes having a good time can kill you. 

Consumption is not the key to happiness, be it consumption of drugs, fame, or attention. If it were then those who reached the top of that mountain would be the happiest among us, yet if history is any indication, they often are the most miserable.

I agree with 2011 Billy. What about you?

Zach Dasher  was a 2014 Congressional Candidate and is currently a Cultural Activist 

Folllow Zach on Twitter @dasherzach