Celebrity Dolly Parton Defends Miley Cyrus: 'People Thought I Was Trashy' The iconic country singer says she empathizes with her goddaughter By Sheila Cosgrove Baylis Sheila Cosgrove Baylis Sheila Baylis is Senior News Editor for PEOPLE's Health vertical; she contributes to print features and directs the digital Health team on stories ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to body image and women's health. She has a Master's Degree in Gender Studies. People Editorial Guidelines Published on June 9, 2014 03:20 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty; Robert Pitts /Landov Miley Cyrus has her critics, but she can rely on a fellow songstress to always have her back – her godmother, Dolly Parton. Like Cyrus, Parton grew up in the spotlight, with her career already underway at age 10. The seven-time Grammy winner tells The Sunday Times magazine that she understands what Cyrus goes through. “Yeah, well I do, ’cause back in the day, doing my own things my own way, and dressing sexy and showing my cleavage and all that, I got a lot of criticism. Lots of people thought I was making a mistake and that I was just trashy, which I was,” says the singer and songwriter, 68. “So I did go through that, but I don’t give her advice. Everyone has to walk this journey according to their own rules. That’s what she’s doing. And I lurve her.” Parton has known Cyrus since she was a little girl, and supports her on-stage experimentation, having said that Cyrus is “just trying to find her own place and wings and learn to fly.” “I’ve known her daddy [Billy Ray Cyrus] the many years he’s been in the business. I’ve watched her grow up,” Parton says. “She’s a smart girl. She had to go to extremes to get her point across. I think she got the point across.” Dolly Parton: Maybe I Wasn’t Meant to Have Kids Which Country Star Could Run for President?