Dear Billy Ray,
Or is it just Billy? Just Ray? Oh, gawd. I’ll just call you Mr. C because it reminds me of Happy Days and I get to sound like the Fonz and you get to sound like a model dad. Even though I don’t think lovely Mr. Cunningham would ever have had to give an interveiw to GQ talking about regretting nearly every choice he made as a parent for the entire second half of Richie’s life. Like you did.
You’re achybreakin’ my heart, Mr. C. You’re sad because your daughter Miley Cyrus is surfing the fame wave and will probably end up beached. She humps poles. She does bong hits. She gets nekkid when she shouldn’t. She has her 18th birthday party in a bar even though she’s too young to go to bars. And you say you feel utterly out of control and sad and you wish you could protect your little girl from her handlers who – gasp! – may be more interested in their percentage than her well-being. You say you regret trying to be a friend instead of a parent.
Boo. Fucking. Hoo.
You did this, Mr. C. Sorry to say this but you did it. You and your soon-to-be-ex-wife, eyes wide open. You let your 8 year old guest star on a tv show you were making and when Miley said “I want to be an actress!” you found a way to get her professional training and launched the career that led to her becoming an international tween sensation and, now, a vaguely skanky 18 year old who can say “You’re not the boss of my life!” to you with perfect impunity. Your ex was so tuned in to the vagaries of Hollywood that she actually had the whole family baptized before heading out to start the Hannah Montana adventure because she was worried about evil affecting you all.
Shoulda used more holy water. Or stayed home and avoided the whole mess.
Look, I know all you show biz types seem to like having your kids follow in your footsteps the moment they say “I wanna be just like you, Daddy!”. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. My dad is a doctor. If I’d turned to him when was 8 and said “I want to be a doctor!” he would have admonished me to study hard and maybe bought me a book about being a doctor. He would not have taken me into the OR with him and let me try my hand at removing an appendix. And he sure as hell wouldn’t have enrolled me in medical school as a child and pushed me into a full-time professional medical career when I was 11. Eleven year olds can’t handle that. Because they’re eleven! They’re little kids! Little kids don’t need careers! They need to finish 5th grade!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with letting a stage-struck tween give performing a try. Maybe in her youth group musical. Or she could take a nice tap class an do a recital at the end. Or let her learn an instrument and play in the school band. But running out and helping her get a tv series? That’s not likely to end well.
You learned that the hard way, Mr. C.
I’m sorry you daughter is skanking it up and acting like an over-privileged harridan surrounded by babbling sycophants who prop up her over-inflated sense of self-importance. I would sure hate if that had happened to my kid. Only it won’t happen to my kid because I’m not going to let it. I can totally see why you say you wish it all had never happened to you. I hope Miley comes out the other side ok. Maybe then you’ll get a chance to be her dad, instead of her friend.