Billy Ray Cyrus Facts For Every Country Fan

Country music giant Billy Ray Cyrus and his achy breaky heart have been a staple of the entertainment industry for decades. From hit songs and TV gigs to relationship woes and parenting pains, Billy Ray is always making headlines for one reason or another. The public either seems to love him or loves to hate him, there isn't much of a grey area here, but no matter where you fall, you have to admit the guy sure knows how to stay relevant in a fickle as all get-out industry.

Whether you first found out about him as the dad of uber-famous entertainer Miley Cyrus or as the voice behind the monster hit "Achy Breaky Heart," there's a lot to know about his story. Aside from the obvious parts of his very public persona, Billy Ray is a multilayered fellow who comes from humble beginnings and never forgets who helped him get to the top of his game. You can't call yourself a Billy Ray Cyrus super fan until you've read through these tidbits of info, so sit back, enjoy a sandwich, pop a cowboy hat atop that mullet, and relax. We are about to get into all things Billy Ray.

Billy Cyrus grew up with gospel

Known for his country crooning voice and his honky tonk vibes, music has always been a big part of Billy Ray Cyrus' world. Born in Eastern Kentucky, Billy Ray was raised in a musical household. Per CMT, his mother was a pianist and his father sang in a prominent gospel quartet. As he recalled to Risen Magazine, he loved singing with his dad's group and especially loved the harmonies he heard them create.

Billy Ray has passed his appreciation for gospel down to his children, many of whom are also in the music industry. Daughter Noah Cyrus especially connected with the spiritual genre. She told NPR, "Gospel music has been such a big part of my life. Listening to Pappy's music, there were harmonies, always so many harmonies. I was listening to all different genres from all different decades, but the one thing I loved the most about songs was when harmonies just hit right. And there's something about harmonies that are so beautifully haunting in songs." Noah may be the spitting image of her mom, Tish Cyrus, but her love of gospel is very much Billy Ray.

Bily Ray Cyrus is a big time baseball talent

As if being a talented and wildly successful musician wasn't impressive enough, Billy Ray Cyrus also happens to be a gifted athlete. He was particularly good at baseball and had big dreams of making it to the National League. The singer told PopCulture, "I was a ball player. I was going to be the catcher for the Cincinnati Reds or the Dodgers. That was my backup team, the Dodgers. I wanted to be Johnny Bench, but the Dodgers were scouting me. And I would have said yes to either."

He didn't make it to the majors, but he did earn a baseball scholarship to Kentucky's Georgetown College. His dreams shifted from ball to music after Cyrus attended a Neil Diamond concert. He recalled to PopCulture, "I saw the power of a song and witnessed the power of an entertainer holding an audience in their hands and representing God's light and God's love through the music."

From that point on, it was bye-bye baseball and hello music, and while Cyrus never changed his tune regarding career paths, he has stayed a ball fan his whole life, even throwing out the first pitch at a Detroit TIgers game and lobbying for Pete Rose's induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

When Billy Ray Cyrus got his break

For many years, plenty of nothing was happening with Billy Ray Cyrus' music career. Per the Los Angeles Times, before he left Ohio for Los Angeles in 1984, he had been working the local bar circuit with his band Sly Dog. Moving to the City of Angels didn't pan out for Cyrus, and after struggling to find success in the music industry, he headed back to the East Coast. That move proved to be a good one: After regularly commuting back and forth between shows in West Virginia and Nashville, he not only scored a spot opening for none other than Reba McEntire but got signed by Mercury Records. According to CMT, it was that show opener gig that won over the Mercury Records execs; they recognized something major was unfolding before them on that stage. 

In 1992, Cyrus released the album "Some Gave All," and it soared to the top of the charts — probably thanks to a little ditty called "Achy Breaky Heart," a country-pop supernova of a crossover hit. What's more, his debut made him those millions — according to ABC News, $40 million in a single year — he had been dreaming about for all those years he struggled to make ends meet doing what he loved. 

No matter what happened from there on out, Cyrus' place in music history was set in stone. 

He is super close with country's darling Dolly Parton

Over the years, Billy Cyrus has amassed some very influential friends in the industry, and one of those close pals is none other than the Queen of Country herself, Dolly Parton. Parton and Billy Ray ran in similar circles during the height of their careers and forged a tight bond during that time, even working together every now and again. The "Achy Breaky Heart" singer has gone as far as to give Parton credit for his success, telling Closer Weekly, "I love Dolly. I probably wouldn't be doing what I'm doing without her."

However, their bond doesn't just cover the professional side of things, as the two are practically family: Parton is the godmother to Miley Cyrus. Of her special connection to the "Wrecking Ball" singer, Parton said on SiriusXM's "Just Jenny," "When Miley came along, you know, we just said, she's got to be my fairy goddaughter." Talk about a lucky, lucky kid.

Parton continues to be a part of both Billy Ray and Miley's lives, offering tidbits of wisdom when necessary and, of course, being a one-of-a-kind fairy godmother. She once shared with People, "I've told [Miley] some things that I think are valuable and that she uses, but I'd rather live an example."

Tish Cyrus turned his achy breaky heart upside down

There was a point in Billy Ray Cyrus' life when everything was happening quickly. Seemingly overnight, he went from a guy living out of his car to the next big thing in Nashville. Along with the glitz and glory of success came the women. And in 1992, he welcomed a child with Kristen Luckey. That same year, he also welcomed a child with Tish Finley. 

Per People, Cyrus and Finley first met in 1991 at a club before Cyrus' career took off, and the singer's opening line evidently hooked her. As she recalled to People, "'Do you know the first thing he said to me? 'I've never seen you drink, ever, and I think that's so cool.'" Two connected following Cyrus' divorce from his first wife, Cindy Smith. Cyrus and Finley tied the knot in 1993. 

In 2010, Billy Ray filed for divorce, citing cheating rumors. The divorce was called off, and the Cyruses dug deep to repair their union. In 2013, it was Tish's turn to file. That parting was also called off by the couple, who continued to choose marriage to one another over all. Finally, after 28 years of marriage, Tish filed for divorce from Billy Ray yet again in 2022, and this time they actually ended things officially, citing "irreconcilable differences." It's sad, but no one can say these two didn't try.

Billy Ray Cyrus built a big family

Billy Ray Cyrus does life big. He had a big-time career, can rock a big-time mullet, and has built a big family. Billy Ray and ex-wife Tish Cyrus have always had children underfoot, even from the very early days of their relationship. When she met Billy Ray, Tish Cyrus (née Finley) already had two young children, Trace Cyrus and Brandi Cyrus. (Billy Ray eventually adopted both kids.) By the time Billy Ray and Tish were expecting Miley Cyrus, their first baby together, Billy Ray was gearing up to welcome a son named Christoper Cody into the world with another woman.

The couple had a lot on their plates during their first few years together: They shared multiple children, were juggling Billy Ray's massive country music career, and got hitched. Most people would let the dust settle, but Tish and Billy Ray continued to build their family. Braison Cyrus was born in 1994, and Noah Cyrus arrived in 2000. If you are keeping count, that is six children in the mix, although son Cody was raised by his mother and his stepfather, not in the Cyrus household.

While Cyrus and Tish won't be having any more babies together, the brood continues to expand. As of 2021, Braison Cyrus is a father, making Billy Ray a grandfather. The country singer made the exciting announcement in a now-deleted Instagram post (via WKML 95.7).

He loves a good... sandwich?

Famous people have favorite foods just like the rest of us. As noted in Alt Press, rocker Jack White has a thing for guacamole, Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong loves a slice of pizza, and Paramore's Haley Williams can't get enough coconut milk ice cream. Country great Billy Ray Cyrus also has a go-to meal, and it is as simple as his country roots: The guy loves himself a good old sandwich. Cyrus discussed his favorite delectable while partaking in the Sandwich Swap 'n' Share program, a component of Feeding America. The initiative was sponsored by Hellmann's and Best Foods. For every sandwich created on the company's Facebook site, seven lunches would then be donated to the Feeding America program.

"I am so honored that Hellmann's asked me to be part of this great project. You can't find a bigger sandwich fan than me — I'm just a real food, real sandwich man. The best part of the whole program is that we'll hopefully inspire folks to join the effort to end hunger by supporting Feeding America; I can't think of a more worthy cause," Cyrus said in a statement.

Fun fact: the entertainer even has a sandwich named in his honor. Yes, really. The Baton Rouge eatery The Overpass Merchant has a Nashville-inspired hot chicken sandwich on its menu called "The Billy Ray Cyrus." It was dreamed up by chef Jon Breaux who is apparently a serious Cyrus fan. 

Billy Ray Cyrus misses his mullet

When you hear the name Billy Ray Cyrus, you think country music, the song "Achy Breaky Heart," and, of course, a mullet.

Billy Ray's life nowadays looks a lot different from his life 30 years ago. Kids grow, careers evolve, and relationships change. Hairstyles also go through transformations, as Billy Ray knows all too well. His magic mullet is no longer in vogue, and instead, Billy Ray sports long locks nowadays, but that doesn't mean he doesn't yearn for his old 'do. In 2018, he told The Daily Telegraph (via the Daily Mail) that ever since he saw a person on a bus with a purple mullet, he's toyed with the idea of giving a similar look a try. "If I ever get mine back, I would want it to be purple," he declared.

Billy Ray's daughter Miley Cyrus has not only followed her father's career path, but has paid homage to his iconic style, wearing her tresses in a mullet for a spell. She explained on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" that her mullet stemmed from the pandemic and salons being shut down. Miley's mom, Tish Cyrus, offered to cut her famous daughter's hair, but the caveat was Tish only knew how to create one hairstyle. Yep, Tish can apparently turn any head of hair into a mullet.

He said Disney 'destroyed' the Cyrus family

People all over the globe adore all things Disney, but country star Billy Ray Cyrus does not seem to be the biggest fan. From 2006 to 2011, Billy Ray Cyrus appeared on the Disney Channel show "Hannah Montana" alongside his daughter Miley Cyrus. The series was a massive success, putting Miley on the map in a major way. The publicity Miley gained from the show might have sent her entertainment career into a whole other orbit, but her father has said it also catapulted Miley into dangerous territories. He told GQ in 2011, "The damn show destroyed my family. I'd take it back in a second. For my family to be here and just everybody be okay, safe and sound and happy and normal would have been fantastic. Heck, yeah. I'd erase it all in a second if I could."

Billy Ray might hold the show responsible for his family's problems, but long after the show ended and Miley made some significant life changes, drama reared its head in a big way. Per The Sun, Miley and her dad didn't see eye to eye on a number of issues that took place towards the end of Billy Ray and Tish Cyrus' marriage. Things have taken such a turn that Miley and Billy Ray unfollowed one another on social media. 

So the Disney show might not have done anyone any favors, but it sounds like it wasn't the only thing that contributed to the Cyrus family breakdown.

New beginnings with a new woman

After nearly thirty years as husband and wife, Billy Ray Cyrus and Tish Cyrus finally decided to divorce, and it didn't take long for Billy Ray to move on to a new woman. Just months after calling it quits with Tish in April 2022, Billy Ray was making his new lady, an Aussie entertainer who goes by the name Firerose, front and center. The quick turnaround ruffled feathers and made many raise their eyebrows, but per People, there was no overlap between the relationships. A source close to the family revealed to the publication that Billy Ray and Tish had been well and done before Firerose ever came into the picture romantically.

That said, Billy Ray and Firerose go way back. The two joined forces on the 2021 track "New Day," and before that? Well, as Firerose shared on "Live with Kelly and Ryan," they met when she appeared on "Hannah Montana." 

According to Instagram, Billy Ray and the much younger Firerose are already gearing up to become man and wife: In some of the pics, there looks to be a blinding diamond ring on a particular finger. His family members are reportedly not supportive of the new relationship. Per Radar Online, Miley Cyrus and Tish apparently are chalking it all up to a midlife crisis. Maybe, maybe not, but excuse us all as we watch with our popcorn and wait for this new chapter in the Book of Billy Ray to unfold.