Billy Ray Cyrus had a lot of things break his way in the early 1990s.
A photogenic pop country star with an iconic haircut, he had the ability to wear a pair of jeans in a way that made women swoon. In 1992, he released one of the most popular, catchy yet annoying, best-selling and just flat-out awful hit songs of all time.
The song “Achy Breaky Heart” will live forever. Thanks to the explosion of pop country and the popularity of Country Music Television, Billy Ray’s video will live even longer.
But all of that may not be the country star’s most significant achievement.
How did Dolly Parton become Miley Cyrus’ godmother?
When Bill Ray’s daughter Miley was born in 1992, he showed that in addition to good looks and talent, he had one more key quality: Chutzpah. Why you may ask? Because he asked fellow country singer and global icon Dolly Parton to be her godmother. The two were close friends, so Dolly accepted.
“When she was born, he said, ‘You just have to be her godmother,'” and I said, ‘I accept,'” Dolly told Good Morning America. “We never did do a big ceremony. But I’m so proud of her, love her and she’s just like one of my own.”
Fast forward a decade, and Miley’s Disney sitcom “Hannah Montana” is a massive hit. Suddenly, Miley’s dad country music legend Billy Ray Cyrus is just known as Miley’s father.
In the first year of the show, Miley called in a favor. She asked her world-famous godmother Dolly Parton to be on the Disney Channel show.
Dolly agreed, appearing as Miley’s character’s godmother and aunt, a role that overlapped with real life. Miley still refers to her as Aunt Dolly. Over the years, Parton was a guest star a number of times, building a special bond with her goddaughter Miley Cyrus.
Miley explained on the Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon just how much of an impression her famous godmother Dolly Parton made.
“I remember her coming to a table read for ‘Hannah Montana,'” Cyrus said. “I had, like, zit cream all over my face and my pajamas were on, and we all had our backpacks, going to school, and she came in, in a pink silk robe! And her hair could barely fit through the doorway.”
Are Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton related?
Dolly and her husband Carl Dean don’t have any children of their own. However, Dolly has often said she feels like Miley is one of hers.
But no, they’re not actually related. She is actually Miley Cyrus’s godmother, but that’s not a legal thing. It’s more of an honorary position.
Is Dolly Parton proud of Miley Cyrus?
Country legend Dolly Parton understands the entertainment industry – maybe as well as anyone who has ever navigated it.
So when Miley started to grow up and broke away from the fairy godmother and fairy goddaughter TV relationship and role, to become pop star, Miley’s godmother probably understood the journey ahead of her better than anybody.
As the “Wrecking Ball” singer tried to make a name for herself as a solo artist and popular American singer, she had to break away from her past at a time when many in country music considered her a role model. The safest way to state it is that Miley tested the boundaries of what is acceptable.
She wanted to become a strong, independent, female artist, not just someone who’d been famous for being on a kid’s television show.
A lot of Miley’s fans were challenged or struggled with the transition. During this time in Miley’s development, interviewers would challenge Dolly about what she thought about her goddaughter Miley Cyrus and her choices.
Not surprisingly, Dolly stood by her 100 percent.
“She was very proud of the work she did as Hannah Montana, but people were gonna leave her there forever,” Parton told Time Magazine. “And she was just smotherin’ and chokin’ in it. So she felt she had to do something completely drastic. And she did. She made her point, she made her mark, and more power to her.”
Parton added: “And she doesn’t have to be so drastic. But I will respect her choices. I did it my way, so why can’t she do it her way?”
Miley also helped introduce Dolly to a new generation
It doesn’t hurt, of course, that Miley has the chops.
She’s used her influence and talent to help Aunt Dolly whenever she gets a chance. For example, the show “Hannah Montana” introduced Dolly to a new generation of fans. Miley also helped celebrate the Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge.
Miley also recorded her own version of one of Dolly’s signature hits, “Jolene.” Miley’s backyard sessions cover of the classic song went viral and certainly put a few more dollars in her godmother’s pocket as did her performance of “Light of a Clear Blue Morning” on Saturday Night Live.
Cyrus said she got good feedback from the performance.
“Dolly doesn’t want anyone to copy/paste,” Miley explained. “She wants them to infuse themselves into her music.”
Who is Dolly Parton related to?
Miley’s godmother has several talented brothers and sisters and in recent years nieces and nephews that have started to make a name for themselves.
Dolly’s late brother Randy Parton was one of the most famous. He had his own theaters and in North Carolina but they collapsed rather infamously.
Dolly’s sister Stella Parton has earned a certain level of fame as a singer-songwriter. She was on the revival of “To Tell the Truth” with Anthony Anderson.
Also, Dolly’s younger sister Rachel Dennison did a little acting in the 80s, most notably playing Dolly’s role in a sitcom version of “9 to 5”.
The Partons are a talented bunch and with 12 brothers and sisters, it seems like it’s only a matter of time until one of Dolly’s nieces or nephews hit it big.
My money’s on Dolly’s niece Danielle who has opened the Shine Girl distillery in Sevier County. She’s a former flight attendant who joined the Air National Guard as a pilot and has flown C-130s and C-5s in combat.
Do Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus stay in touch?
In May of 2022, Miley was on the Late Night with Seth Meyers Show. She said that when she coordinates with Dolly, it’s via fax.
Miley sends a text message, then Dolly types out a response, faxes it to an assistant who puts it into a phone to send back to Miley, who added that Dolly has a flip phone.
“I did a poll,” Miley told Meyers. “I think Dolly is the most loved person on the planet, right? She’s been so consistently caring and kind and herself.”
Did you know Dolly Parton is Miley Cyrus’ godmother? Tell us what you think in the comments.