As “Hannah Montana” Miley Cyrus shaped a whole generation – after that she settled accounts with Disney. The singer turns 30 today.
Miley Cyrus (30) has been in the limelight for half her life. She was formed into a teen idol by Disney, then her reckoning came, which some might also perceive as a crash. Nevertheless, today Cyrus is one of the most successful singers of her generation, highly praised and appreciated by rock stars. On November 23, the singer celebrates her 30th birthday and looks back on an unprecedented career.
Cyrus was born Destiny Hope Cyrus on November 23, 1992 in Franklin, Tennessee. Her parents are country singer Billy Ray Cyrus (61), who had a huge hit with his song “Achy Breaky Heart” in the 90s, and film producer Tish Cyrus (55). In her childhood she was often called “Smiley” because she laughed so much. Cyrus later officially changed her name to Miley, a nod to her nickname from when she was young. Cyrus has two younger siblings, Braison (1994) and Noah (2000), and two older half-siblings, Brandi (1987) and Trace (1989), from a previous relationship by the mother. All siblings are also active in the entertainment business.
A legendary godmother
You’d think Billy Ray Cyrus inherited his daughter’s rock star genes. Perhaps the early influence came from the extravagant godmother. None other than country queen Dolly Parton (76) sponsored Cyrus. While not related, the two are said to be very similar. “She’s just as headstrong as I am,” Parton joked in 2022.
At first, despite her famous family and acquaintances, Cyrus had a relatively “normal” childhood in Tennessee, attending a standard elementary school. Already during her childhood she had small supporting roles on television. But at the age of 13, her life would change forever.
How a wig changed her life forever
Miley Cyrus was cast in 2005 to star in a new Disney series, Hannah Montana. The young talent actually applied for a supporting role at the time, but later she was given the most important role. It is said that the reason for this was her extraordinary singing talent. The teen comedy series premiered on Disney Channel in 2006 and took the hearts of young viewers by storm. Miley Cyrus, Billy Ray Cyrus, who also served as the serial father, and their co-stars Emily Osment (30), Jason Earles (45) and Mitchel Musso (31) shaped an entire generation.
The plot of “Hannah Montana” was simple: Miley played herself on the show, a normal teenager attending high school by day. In the evenings, however, she puts on a blonde wig and acts as the pop star Hannah Montana, which is acclaimed by millions of fans. Except for a few confidants, no one is privy to their secret, which often leads to problems and games of hide-and-seek. The series was a huge success, but not only had positive effects on the young leading actress.
“It was like an identity crisis. I’ve been a character almost as much as I’ve been myself. The concept of the show was that if you’re that character, you’re that alter ego, then you have value,” Cyrus told 2021. “The concept was also that when I was myself, no longer wore the wig, no one was interested in me.” Quite a lot to process for a girl who was only 13 when her world fame took off.
“Hannah Montana” got several seasons, a feature film (2009) followed, and Cyrus began releasing music outside of the series under her real name. She also started dating colleagues like Nick Jonas (30). However, the teenage idol was always exemplary by American standards. Like many other young stars at the time, she wore a chastity ring.
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But the facade soon crumbled. In 2010, Cyrus showed a more mature side with the release of her single “Can’t Be Tamed” – but the attempt failed in the charts. In the same year, the singer got into her first real scandal. A video surfaced showing Cyrus smoking a bong. Was this the start of another teen star’s fall?
However, to call Miley Cyrus’ next few years a crash would simply not be correct. Nevertheless, she polarized with her album “Bangerz” (2013) and lascivious performances as often as she could. In 2013 she performed at the MTV VMAs together with Robin Thicke (45) – the number, which was not entirely suitable for children, caused outrage among “Hannah Montana” fans and their parents. Cyrus was also torn apart in the press. “Please stop it” after her scandalous performance.
Nevertheless, Miley Cyrus made herself immortal during this time. Her single “Wrecking Ball”, in the music video of which she swings naked through the picture with a wrecking ball, became a hit. Her “Bangerz” tour was praised by critics despite the provocative performances. It almost seemed like she didn’t have to hide behind the Hannah Montana wig anymore, like she could finally stand up for herself.
In 2016, Cyrus seemed to slow down her “wild years” again. She was hired as the youngest coach on the US version of “The Voice”. In May 2017 she released one of the most important songs of her career. With the ballad “Malibu” she showed a vulnerable, gentle side of herself that was no longer used to from the “Bangerz” days. “This song is complex because it’s filled with so many different feelings,” she explained in 2021. The press speculated at the time that the song was about her on-off relationship with actor Liam Hemsworth (32). From 2018 to 2019, the two were even married for a few months.
From teen idol to rock star
In addition to her divorce, Cyrus also had to cope with another loss. In late 2018, her Malibu home burned down. These cuts in her life caused her to take a little break in her career. In 2020 she returned with one of her biggest hits, “Midnight Sky”. Later there was an equally successful remix of the song with Stevie Nicks’ (74) hit “Edge of Seventeen”.
In the same year Cyrus released her album “Plastic Hearts”. It seems like Cyrus finally found a sound there that she feels comfortable with. A mix of pop, country and glam rock. Duets with rock legends Nicks, Joan Jett (64) and Billy Idol (66) can be heard.
While Miley Cyrus still had to hide behind a wig 15 years ago, today she is self-confident. She has always changed and is a true chameleon in the music business. At 30, the songwriter can look back on many different phases in her life. And yet it always remains exciting with her. What path do you think she will take next?