Young, envious viewers tend to worship child stars, but it's no secret that the lives of impressionable actors often end up dramatically and adversely affected. While the Disney Channel had many great shows, they have also seen their fair share of controversy, usually when their stars inevitably grew up and sometimes turned on the company - which is only one element of the crazy Hannah Montana stories that have surfaced since Miley left the series for real pop stardom in 2011.
What happened to the cast of Hannah Montana? Sure, we watched the aftermath of Miley's experiences as a child star, but there's a lot that happened to her behind the scenes of Hannah Montana that offers some insights on her trying transition into adulthood. There were also a lot of people on the show who stood much further from the limelight (ones we may not have heard as much about) who had struggled in various ways.
Here are some dark stories of Hannah Montana cast members who might have avoided these problems had they steered clear of Disney stardom.
Miley Cyrus auditioned for Hannah Montana at the age of 11. After landing the role, young Miley was working 12-hour days, which quickly took its toll on her, eventually giving her anxiety to the point of having breakdowns. "Every morning, I was getting coffee jammed down my throat to wake me up," she told Marie Claire. "I just had to keep going, be tough, be strong. Everything happened to me on that set."
She went on to describe how anxiety seeped into her personal life, which might have caused breakdowns when she spent time with her friends because she feared returning to work. Again, she was only a child. According to Miley's Marie Claire interview:
I would have anxiety attacks. I'd get hot flashes, feel like I was about to pass [out] or throw up. It would happen a lot before shows, and I'd have to cancel. Then the anxiety started coming from anxiety. I would be with my friends, thinking I should be having so much fun. You get in this hole that seems like you're never going to be able to get out of.
It's no surprise that Hannah Montana instilled in Miley unrealistic expectations of beauty. Given how young she was when she started acting, it was virtually inevitable. Miley went on in her interview with Marie Claire:
From the time I was 11, it was, "You're a pop star! That means you have to be blonde, and you have to have long hair, and you have to put on some glittery tight thing." Meanwhile, I'm this fragile little girl playing a 16-year-old in a wig and a ton of makeup.
Ultimately, among other issues, the result was something akin to an identity crisis, which played out publicly as she transitioned into a real pop star:
I was told for so long what a girl is supposed to be from being on that show. I was made to look like someone that I wasn't, which probably caused some body dysmorphia because I had been made pretty every day for so long, and then when I wasn't on that show, it was like, "Who the f*ck am I?"
At the height of her Hannah Montana popularity (while she was only 15), Miley had a photoshoot with Vanity Fair, posing topless while covered with a sheet, sometimes even with her father present in the image. Huffington Post covered the photo session extensively at the time, reporting the young star saying she was "embarrassed," and that photographer Annie Leibovitz offered a tepid apology, "I'm sorry that my portrait of Miley has been misinterpreted."
Disney subsequently released a statement that one could only describe as rich, saying, "Unfortunately, as the article suggests, a situation was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines." It seems that no one had the best interests of the child in mind, a sad reality that continued into Miley's adulthood.
Billy Ray Cyrus painted a bleak picture of the Cyrus family as the show was winding down in 2010, telling GQ, "I was going to work every single day knowing that my family had fallen apart, but yet I had to sit in front of that camera."
In 2011, immediately after Hannah Montana had ended, Miley began a very controversial and very public transition into a role as an adult pop star. Watching it all play out was allegedly difficult for Billy Ray, who told GQ at the time, "I'll tell you right now, the damn show destroyed my family... there's no doubt about it. Somewhere along the line, both mine and Mileys faith had been shaken."
Billy Ray revealed a lot in the interview, sharing his disdain for everyone involved and the people around Miley who, per his description, were like vultures.