"When he feels special or important, it’s like healing a childhood wound, and I’ve always been made to feel like a star," said Cyrus
In the pop star's new Hulu special Endless Summer Vacation: Continued (Backyard Sessions), she opens up about growing up with a massive country star dad and how their relationships to fame have differed throughout her life.
"When I was born, my dad had the No. 1 country song," said Miley, 30, referencing Billy Ray's breakout single "Achy Breaky Heart." Of course, she's had many hits of her own since then.
"When I see the numbers, I just see the humans behind it enjoying the music, and I just see people in numbers. A number doesn’t change who I am," added Cyrus.
She then explained what it was like being raised by Billy Ray, 62, and his ex-wife Tish after her father first experienced fame — which made for quite a different life than he was used to as a child.
"My dad grew up the opposite of me. I grew up on a soundstage, like, in a house with a family that was super close and all lived under the same roof, and I grew up financially stable and emotionally stable, I think, in my relationships also," said Miley. "That’s something that my dad didn’t have."
Having witnessed individuals around her going from "having nothing to everything," the Grammy nominee described the experience — which rings true to Billy Ray's life — as a "really dangerous place."
"I think that’s where me and my dad’s relationship to fame and success is wildly different," said Miley in the special. "Him feeling loved by a big audience impacted him emotionally more than it ever could me. When he feels special or important, it’s like healing a childhood wound, and I’ve always been made to feel like a star. It makes me emotional, so I think that’s the difference."
After accompanying him on tour growing up, Miley has duetted with Billy Ray several times throughout her career, on tracks including 2006's "I Learned from You" and "Stand," 2007's "Ready, Set, Don't Go" and 2009's "Butterfly Fly Away."
"I do have a lot of great memories singing music with my dad and learning and watching his voice and the way that he’s using the instrument," she said of Billy Ray, before vouching for his talent: "I will say that I feel vocally my dad was underappreciated."
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