Rooting for Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus

February 25,2011
Erin Dower( )

Child stars are lucky if they turn out normal. Many of them end up failing in the business -- and in life (I know I don't need to go into examples here).

Miley Cyrus is at a crucial moment in her career, as her dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, recently recognized in a GQ magazine confession of his parenting mistakes with Miley. He told GQ that doing Hannah Montana drove a wedge in his family (he and wife Tish recently split), and being more of a friend than a father figure to the now 18-year-old Miley put her on the wrong path.

We all know those parents who have tried to play it cool with their kids rather than going the hand-holding or tiger mom route. And hindsight is always 20-20 when it comes to parenting teens.

Should Billy Ray Cyrus have known better? Probably. But his GQ interview sounded very heartfelt and made me feel bad for this family that was on top of the world a few years ago. Cyrus said he's "scared for" Miley and rambled on about stars like Kurt Cobain, Michael Jackson, and Anna Nicole Smith who went off the deep end. While he thinks and hopes she's not in that much danger at this point, he knows he needs to help protect her from the hazards of Hollywood.

I hope he can, because it's not too late for Miley. She has stumbled, for sure -- her image became increasingly risqué after she posed partially nude for a Vanity Fair shoot at 15, and she was caught on camera smoking what she claims was salvia (a legal plant in California) through a bong last year. But she certainly hasn't hit a wall yet. She has two films in the works and is slated to host Saturday Night Live on March 5 (she'll certainly poke fun at herself).

I'm a fan of pop music ('Party in the U.S.A.' is in my head right now) and I actually want the we-love-to-hate-them girls like Britney, Lindsay, and Miley to survive, be normal. and keep making good (subjective term) music and movies. Only time will tell if Miley and other celebs can weather the storm of post-childhood stardom in Hollywood. But it is possible -- look at Drew Barrymore!

I say, skip the club scene in L.A. and have some QT at your dad's ranch, Miley! We're rooting for you!