Dark Behind-The-Scenes Stories From 'Hannah Montana'

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.

Photo: user uploaded image

  • The Demands Of The Show Reportedly Strained Miley's Mental Health

    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.

  • She Also Claimed To Have Developed Body Dysmorphic Issues

    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?"

  • Miley Had A Topless Photo Shoot As A Minor
    Photo: Chrisa Hickey / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

    Miley Had A Topless Photo Shoot As A Minor

    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 Claimed The Show 'Destroyed' Their Family

    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 Miley's 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.

  • There Was A Strain In The Familial Relationships

    Miley and her father Billy Ray had something of a falling out after Hannah Montana. There was a public and strange scandal in which Miley appeared to accuse her father of cheating on her mother, which she did via Twitter. She sent a tweet reading:

    @billyraycyrus since you won't reply to my texts I'm giving you an hour to tell the truth or ill tell it for you.

    Attached was a picture of Miley herself posing with an unnamed woman, the insinuation being that Billy Ray had had an affair with this woman. The tweet disappeared just a few minutes later and Miley posted something suggesting her account had been hacked. However, the damage had been done, and both the tweet and picture are part of the public record.

  • In Many Ways It Sounds Like The Show Destroyed Billy Ray Himself

    In the GQ interview, Billy Ray was adamant about the fact he had "never made a dime off of Miley." His protestations sounded defensive, but what bothered him more was watching "the train [go] off the track" in terms of Miley's public life.

    In addition, he felt like he was made a scapegoat for everything she did - not by Miley, but her managers, who he claimed would always publicly blame him for her outlandish behavior at the time:

    Her people, or as they say in today's news, her handlers, every time they'd put me... "Somebody's shooting at Miley! Put the old man up there!" Well, I took it, because I'm her daddy, and that's what daddies do. "Okay, nail me to the cross, I'll take it..." All those people around, they used me every time. It became so obvious that, man, no matter what happens, they're going to put you up there and let you take the bullet.

    In 2011, he discussed what the show had done to his daughter:

    I've done some stupid crap - I do stupid crap. We all do. But it's different when you sit back and you see it happening to your little girl. I feel like I got to try. It's my daughter. And some of these handlers are perhaps more interested in handling Miley's money than her safety and her career.