Achy Breaky Parenting :: Is Billy Ray Cyrus A Bad Dad?

While browsing through the days news and notes on the Interweb, one headline jumped out at me from the pages of omg! – Is Billy Ray Cyrus a Bad Dad?

My kids are fans of just about everything broadcast on the Disney Channel, which means that I regularly see Billy Ray Cyrus and his daughter, Miley, on the show Hannah Montana. They seem to have a good working relationship on the show and since I don’t keep tabs on celebrity news very often, I wondered why his fathering skills were being questioned.

Apparently, 15-year-old Miley Cyrus recently had a provocative photo shoot for the June issue of Vanity Fair that included a photo of a topless Miley wrapped in a sheet.

The criticism coming down on Billy Ray is not only about why he was not monitoring the photo shoot of his daughter; but also about a photo that he had taken with Miley that some feel looks inappropriate for a father and daughter.

Should Billy Ray have been monitoring the photo shoot?

In a perfect world, he would have been there during the entire photo shoot. However, being a celebrity himself with a previous commitment, he was not able to personally attend the entire shoot but there were people there whom he felt had Miley’s best interests in mind and had the situation in control.

As a parent, sometimes that is the best we can do.

The article at Yahoo! contains a poll, which at last count indicated the following sentiments about the photo shoot:

  • 48% thought he should have been chaperoning the photo shoot
  • 24% thought the publicist should have been monitoring more closely
  • 30% thought there was nothing wrong with the photo shoot

During an interview on the Today show, Billy Ray was asked about whether he had words with Vanity Fair after the fact regarding the racy photo of his daughter. He responded with an interesting lesson he learned from his father:

The more you stomp in poop, the more it stinks.

He recognized the situation for what it was and said that they just needed to accept that this happened and deal with it.

That doesn’t sound like a terrible father to me.

When asked about the photo that he had taken with his daughter, which many felt looked more like a boyfriend and girlfriend rather than a father and daughter, his response was that he did not feel it was a mistake and was simply a daddy that loves his daughter a whole lot.

Looking at this photo, I can see how some would say it teeters on the edge of creepiness but you can also see the close bond between a father and a daughter who just happens to be growing up into an attractive woman.

Again, I don’t think this makes Billy Ray Cyrus a bad dad.

Do you agree or disagree?


  1. says

    From a purely economic point of view (removing for a moment my own parenting point of view), Mr. Cyrus risked the potential fortunes of his daughter’s Disney career by allowing the racy photos of his underage daughter being taken. That economic argument can easily be balanced by the potential FHM photo shoot when she comes of age, but that’s besides the point.

    I am a father of 2 boys, 12 and 5, so I cannot address how a parent of a teen daughter thinks. However, I can envision a dozen different photo angles that would have no creepiness that would also deliver the same bond between father and daughter.

    The father’s job is to ensure his daughter isn’t held up as sex goddess. If he could not be there during the sheet-shot, he should have deputized someone else to be the guardian (I recall her grandmother was actually on site). Or he could have executed parental guidance (since his daughter is not of legal age to enter a contract) and squash the over-the-top photo.

    Or he could at least complained that they were taken/published. He doesn’t seem to bothered, perhaps because he sees the potential financial windfall from the aforementioned FHM potential.

    Sorry, from where I stand, he is not a good dad.

    Charlie on PA Tpks last blog post..Guess I’m good for now

  2. says

    I saw some of the photos of that shoot, and there were posed photos of Billy Rae and his daughter.

    So, assuming those photos were actually part of that same photo shoot, he was obviously there and declined to exercise his duties as a father and make sure his underage daughter wasn’t posing for questionable photos.

    In which case, yes, I think he’s a bad father. I told my wife, before the Hannah Montana craze picked up, that I thought Billy Rae was just exploiting his daughter to get his career back. It’s a little too convenient that his first CD release in 15 years happened during his daughter’s insane popularity, while he’s a character on her TV show.

  3. says

    All-in-all, I thought people (if they’re needing to get into other people’s business that badly) should have been more upset about the photo with Billy Rae than of the one of her in a sheet. Yeah, the sheet one was a tad racey, but if I was 15, I’d feel all cool that I got to look a little sultry. The one with her dad really did kind of ick me out.

    I think the responsibility for that falls to Vanity Fair, though, because he probably had no idea how the photo was going to look when it was done.

  4. says

    We have no idea if he is a good or bad father based on this issue. We can only take a look at his judgment on this issue and try to figure it out. I always say, it is not my position in this life to judge anybody.

    However, did he use bad judgment by allowing his daughter to go on a photo shoot alone? I think so. I don’t think it was a big deal, but our society is going to make a lot more out of this than what they should. You have to adjust your actions with the way society is at that moment. Not a very manly thing to say, but still, you have to protect your family. This is #1 and if society can’t handle something like this, then you have to step up and control the situation for your kids.

    I just saw his photo with his daughter. Again, I think he used bad judgment here and it creeped me out a little. Because if it was a little creepy and I am not the only one that thinks this, it is clear he made a bad choice.

    Again, no idea if he is a good or bad father, but I will give anyone the benefit of the doubt…

  5. says

    I’m such a big admirer of both Vanity Fair and Annie Lebowitz that I would have left my even younger children alone on the shoot. I’ve been in professional photo shoots with my kids for one of my blogs. Honestly, it was a nightmare and I knew they would have behaved better if I wasn’t there. Also, Annie Lebowitz is a parent herself and I would trust her. As a parent I’d want an explanation from the VF before the shoot asking what they were going to have my kids do and what they were going to wear (or not wear).

    A Mama’s Rants last blog post..Sound Off in the Mom Central National Mom Blogger Survey – Win an Amazon Gift Card

  6. says

    You might make the argument that Annie Lebowitz is an incredibly gifted photographer, but you’d be hard-pressed to argue that she typically goes for “safe” imagery. You don’t sign up an attractive 15-year old girl for a Lebowitz shoot and not think there’ll be some racey angle to the result. That’s beyond naive. The sleepy-eyed, tussled hair, wrapped in a sheet photo evokes only one thought – I’ve just had sex.

    Billy Ray is a has-been, one-hit-wonder from 2 decades ago who’s riding his daughter’s coattails to keep his scurvy hide in the limelight. But while that’s despicable, that doesn’t make him a bad dad.

    But to gamble Miley’s future for the sake of some quick fame & fortune is irresponsible to the nth degree. That makes him an opportunistic, scum-sucking, bad dad.

    (Ya gotta wonder where the Mom is in all of this…)

    And she may only be 15, but Miley has the advantage of seeing how similar scandals have thrashed the lives & careers of other young girls in Hollywood. Given that she can pick up the rags and see Lindsey Lohan splattered across them as easily as any of us can, she should have known better than to put herself in this situation. Sure, her parents had a responsibility to look out for her, but she’s due her fair share of the direct blame here.

    If Disney doesn’t set an example by dumping Miley hard & fast – and it appears that they too, are so commercially-vested that they aren’t willing to do the right thing – they’re sending out a message loud & clear that this whole fiasco is completely acceptible. Disney just went down several notches in my book.

    And yeah, the photo of Miley draped across Billy Ray is entirely inappropriate and just plain disgusting.

    Rob O.s last blog post..Tuesdays Are Twos Days

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