10 Things You Didn’t Know About Billy Ray Cyrus
Happy 50th birthday, Billy Ray Cyrus! On August 25, 1961, Cyrus entered the world, and he's been breaking hearts ever since. Unquestionably, he's had a wild ride -- but thankfully, Cyrus is back on his feet and better than ever, with a new album, new single, 'Nineteen,' and a new grandbaby on the way. We want to tip our hats to the man who made our hearts all achy and breaky with a list of things you may not have known about the celebrated singer.
Billy Ray Cyrus' signature '90s 'do is a thing of the past in 2011, but it doesn't have to be. While discussing a potential 'Hannah Montana' revival, Cyrus hinted that he might be down for a modern mullet style. He told E! News, "You know, there’s wonderful buzz right now for a prequel to 'Hannah Montana.' I know Miley couldn’t step back and be that little girl, but I could get my mullet back real quick."
Who knew that one of country music's biggest stars could be discovered opening for, well, one of country music's biggest stars? Well, that's what happened to Billy Ray Cyrus! The 'Achy Breaky' game-changer opened a Reba McEntire concert in Louisville, Ky. way back in 1990, where talent scouts for Mercury apparently liked what they saw -- because they signed him.
Billy Ray Cyrus is all about two things: family and animals, apparently. In 2008, the father-daughter duo teamed up with the American Eagle Foundation, which hatches and releases baby eagles each spring in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. He and Miley named two babies -- Tennessee, for their home state, and Hope, for Miley's (former) middle name -- before they were let go near Dollywood.
Great lyrics don't just fall out of the sky. Billy Ray's 1992 hit gave him a No. 1 and became a worldwide dance phenomenon -- all thanks to a lyric in the George Jones hit 'Aching, Breaking Heart,' released 30 years prior. "Oh this / Aching, breaking heart of mine / Is crazy over you," Jones sings in his tune, which inspired Cyrus to change the world with a song of his own. 'Achy Breaky Heart' was a smash hit here in the United States, and it was the first single ever to go triple-platinum in Australia.
Really, he said so himself! Billy Ray Cyrus joined Hellmann's Mayonnaise's Sandwich Swap ‘n’ Share program in 2009 to benefit the hunger-fighting charity, Feeding America. But he wasn't just in it to do good. "You can’t find a bigger sandwich fan than me -- I’m just a real food, real sandwich man," Cyrus said at the time. "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."
In high school, "William" was an all-star athlete, stealing the show as a football and baseball superstar. His baseball skills earned him a college scholarship at Georgetown College in Kentucky, and he was reportedly well on his way to becoming a professional baseball player ... Until he dropped out to form a band. Good thing that worked out for him!
On May 1, 1995, Billy Ray Cyrus took his heartthrob status to TV. The 'Achy Breaky Heart' hitmaker appeared as himself in an episode of the hit Fran Drescher show 'The Nanny.' As we know, a pretty significant acting career followed. Cyrus went on to appear in movies, like the 2001 flick 'Mulholland Drive,' in which he played a pool boy, and of course, there was that four season stint on 'Hannah Montana.' What can we say? This guy does it all.
Last fall, Billy Ray Cyrus filed for divorce from his wife of 17 years, Tish. By March of '11, the news broke that he was singing a different tune and had high hopes of putting what he calls the "darkest time of his life" behind him by reconciling with his wife and family. Apparently, he and Tish had been working things out, (mostly) out of the media's sharp eye long before we found out about it. In February, the couple was spotted in the Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park -- likely one of the few places they felt they could meet up without being seen.
You're nobody until you've been touched by the hand of Alvin and his chipmunk brothers. In the height of Cyrus' fame, the Chipmunks created their own high-pitched rendition of 'Achy Breaky Heart' for their 'Chipmunks in Low Places' album. The best part? The song features speaking parts from the man himself. "I never dreamed as a kid that the Chipmunks would ever cover one of my songs," Cyrus says in the track.
We wish we could debunk this one, but we can't. Billy Ray Cyrus says he's likely quitting music after he releases his next album. "I don't even want to write another album, I don't want to record another album after this one," he told The Boot back in May. "I didn't even want to write this one. I was going to retire after 'I'm American,' but I wrote this next batch of music so now I need to record it and bring it full circle."