A Minute With: Billy Ray Cyrus on Miley and his "Hillbilly Heart"

Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:34am EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - After writing hit song "Achy Breaky Heart," starring in Disney Channel show "Hannah Montana" and raising a famous daughter, country singer and actor Billy Ray Cyrus has found himself at a crossroads.

In his memoir "Hillbilly Heart," published this week, Cyrus writes about his early life in Kentucky, joining his daughter Miley on the 2006-11 TV show that made her a teen idol and how he is still hungry for success despite having moved out of the spotlight.

Cyrus, 51, talked to Reuters about the challenges of raising Miley, his mistakes, and what he wished he had not included in his new book.

Q: Revisiting your life for this book, did you have any revelations about your journey so far?

A: The one thing that was pretty obvious is that I've had a pretty crazy life. It's colorful ... reliving some of those closets that I had shut, locked and thrown away the key intentionally because it was painful to revisit a lot of those places - especially the loss of my buddy Robbie Tooley, the divorce of my parents, some of the things I went through as a kid, a lot of that stuff was locked up for a reason - it was painful. But at the same time, there was some therapy in revisiting some of those spots.

Q: Was it hard to balance how much you wanted to include in your book about Miley's story?

A: I think it would have been hard to write my life story without touching on (hers) somewhat. But at the same time, I respect her privacy and her life, and her world and her life is examined by everybody and everything. For me, I'm very respectful of her privacy, but yes ... I think it would have been missed a bit if I didn't touch on some aspect of it.

I'm respectful that she's a young human being and just being a young person in today's world is tough enough as it is. That makes it hard on a young person let alone be that famous and to live her life in that spotlight. I kind of walked through it respectfully."   Continued...

Recording artist Billy Ray Cyrus arrives on the red carpet at the Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night Awards XIX in Phoenix, Arizona March 23, 2013. REUTERS/Ralph Freso