Billy Ray Cyrus: I Could Have Been a Better Dad

The musician reflects on his challenges as a parent – and his relationship with daughter Miley

Photo: Kevin Mazur/KCA2010/WireImage

Billy Ray Cyrus is recanting the remarks that ricocheted around the world.

“I love Hannah Montana. I love Disney. I wouldn’t change anything,” the musician and father of Miley Cyrus said on Wednesday’s Good Morning America, in response to a volatile interview he gave in December in which he blamed Hannah Montana for destroying his family.

Now, Cyrus says his messy home life was to blame, adding that he was “surrounded in darkness” when he gave the interview. At the time, Cyrus was in the midst of filing for a divorce that he has since called off.

“It wasn’t good,” he said of Miley’s reaction to his printed comments.

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“What I meant to say, and what I hope I said was fame can be a dangerous animal,” Cyrus, 49, told GMA‘s Robin Roberts.

“And it’s a delicate thing,” he continued. “You know, when you get in this industry and you strike so hard for that moment. But, fame is dangerous.”

As for the infamous bong incident (in which Miley smoked the herb Salvia) that threatened to damage her image, her father said in her defense, “Miley has a great heart. She’s very intelligent. She will make good choices and she knows right from wrong.”

A Friend to His Kids

In terms of his own choices, and the sort of father he tries to be, Cyrus admits he might have taken a wrong turn.

“I did kind of approach being a dad as a friend,” he said. “I was a great playmate. I mean, for teaching [my children] how to camp and build fires and ride motorcycles and four-wheelers, and horses, and all those fun kind of things. I was really good at that.”

But, he concedes, “As far as sitting down and doing algebra and science, the homework, I wasn’t very good at that. So I look back on it and think, ‘You know what? Maybe, no doubt, I could have been a better dad.’ ”

Moving ahead, “I still want to be Miley’s friend,” said Cyrus, who sees himself as “that person she comes to talk to.” When it comes to Miley, he declared, he loves her “more than life itself.”

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