Billy Ray Cyrus on 'Hannity'

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," April 10, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


MILEY CYRUS, ACTRESS: Next time you might want to demand a jet with a bigger bathroom.

BILLY RAY CYRUS, SINGER: Why in the heck are you getting all "Hannahed" up?

M. CYRUS: The "Hannah steps off the plane photo op." You know, balloons, limos, the screaming fans. Like Vita says, it's all about the publicity.

B. CYRUS: Yes. That Vita is just full of good advice. Absolutely full of it.


HANNITY: And that was a clip from Disney's "Hannah Montana: The Movie," by the way, in theaters today.

And joining us now is one of the stars of the film. And by the way, his new CD is just out, "Back to Tennessee." It is out this week. Billy Ray Cyrus.

Video: Watch Sean's interview

How are you doing, man?

B. CYRUS: I'm doing great.

HANNITY: I've been following your career forever, and I'm a big fan. You're going to be in our Freedom Concerts this year. I'm excited.

B. CYRUS: Well, I'm really excited about it, too. The Freedom Concerts, and going out and saying thanks to our troops, and knowing that the proceeds go to help the kids of wounded veterans. And I'll tell you, man, that's what this country is all about, the veterans that fight and, you know, give their lives and sacrifice so much for this great country that we live in. And it's — you know, we all need to go out and say thank you.

HANNITY: So far, we've raised about 11 million bucks that we put into a charity for these young kids where the parents — for the kids who lost their moms and dads.

You know, and first of all, I've got to tell you something. My family is — my daughter was here watching, and "Hannah Montana" is on in our house all the time. So we watch you guys all the time. And...

B. CYRUS: Thank you. Thank you very much.

HANNITY: But so first of all, you star in this movie. And one of the things — that is a film. That's a part of the film where Hannah Montana's life is getting out of control, you know. And you've got all the handlers that are taking over. And she's missing family events. And you decide as her dad you're going to step in. She thinks she's flying in that private airplane to New York. You're taking her back to Tennessee.

B. CYRUS: That's right.

HANNITY: Tell us about the movie.

B. CYRUS: Well, there's a lot of art imitating life, imitating art. There's a certain amount of realism to the film. You know, it started with a great script. And Peter Chelsom came on board to direct.

The moral to the story kind of goes back a little bit to what my dad used to tell me when I was a kid. That in life it's important to be aware of your current surroundings and know what's going on around you and always be looking to the future and looking forward to your dreams and having a vision of where you want to go, but most importantly never forget where you come from.

HANNITY: So you decide that, because her life is out of control — and we see this happen with a lot of young stars. And I was watching you introduce your daughter last weekend on the ACM's, and I bet you couldn't have been prouder.

B. CYRUS: It was amazing, great night.

HANNITY: All right. But here she is. She's become one of the biggest stars in the country. "Hannah Montana" is the defining show now for kids on TV. Is this partly what's happened and is this partly why you were drawn to this?

B. CYRUS: I loved the script. We definitely wanted to take it to a place where it could be a stand-alone film, with or without the series. You know, we wanted the film to stand alone so if somebody — grownups did want to come see the movie, but had never seen the series, that it would be a stand-alone script. And it had all the depth, and you know, it had all the emotions.

The point of looking back at, you know, remembering what my dad told me and knowing that you can't forget where you come from, that was — there was a certain amount of realism there for both she and I. I think it was a time for both of us to — you know, to just go back and remember where we come from, why we're here, and why we do what we do. And going back to Tennessee in this film was all a part of that dream.

HANNITY: I love the fact — I'll tell you the thing I like the most about watching the two of you together. When you pull out your guitars, and it's dad and his little girl. And you guys are playing music together. And I watch that a lot. There seems to be a closeness.

Is it hard to be that close, to work with your daughter and also be dad?

B. CYRUS: It's a balancing act. I'm always aware of knowing that she's a teenage girl. She needs her space to do her thing, and I'm always aware.

And I can just imagine what it would be like to work with your dad, and your dad be there all the time. I know at times that's got to be a bit of a bummer for her, you know, so I just try to keep my distance, keep my....

HANNITY: My daughter thinks you're a lot cooler dad than me.

B. CYRUS: I'll tell you, what I do is I just — you know, I just watch and observe. And most of the times Miley has got a great heart and great head on her shoulders, and if she needs to talk about something, she'll — she'll come and talk about it.

So I kind of let the thing run its course, and then if she needs to talk, I'm there.

HANNITY: She said in a recent interview that she — the last thing she ever wanted to do was embarrass her family, and that's why her values are so important to her. And, you know, one of the songs that I think is most touching that she sings is to her grandpa.

B. CYRUS: Oh, my goodness yes.

HANNITY: I mean — and I watched her in the last movie she sang that song. And not only that, but she can sing.

B. CYRUS: Oh, she sings that one. She wrote that song, too.

HANNITY: Yes, she wrote it.

B. CYRUS: And that's a song she wrote for my dad, and my dad was kind of to me what I've tried to be to Miley. I've used him as my mentor of dads. And that's — you know, be a good dad, but be a good friend, too. And be there and try to, you know, use a little psychology, get on their level. That's kind of what I'm doing in the movie by telling her I'm going to get her a private plane and fly her to New York. And I land it in Tennessee and take her back to her roots.

HANNITY: And at the end of the day she comes back to those — the values. Do you worry about — like, I watch all these young kids, and I've watched you navigate, because my kids are such big fans of Miley and yours. And so I've watched just about every episode, as well.

And often at times I've thought of the other kids that have fame and they haven't done so well. Why do you think that you guys have been able to sort of not go down that road?

B. CYRUS: Well, I can tell you this. You know, it's not been perfect. You know, you look at life as a journey, and you make some good calls. You make some bad ones. And, you know, sometimes life just happens, and you've got to try to, you know, figure out what to do. And you just take it one step at a time, one day at a time, and try to stay focused on living for the light, you know. And if we feel like we've gone off path, then readjust.

HANNITY: And you're able to do that?

B. CYRUS: For the most part, you know.


B. CYRUS: Stuff happens sometimes. You've just got to deal with it. You know?

HANNITY: It's an amazing ride. I have to take the kids this weekend because they've insisted. And I love the success. I've watched your career from the "Achy Breaky Heart" days.

And I've always been a fan of your music, and I'm so proud and glad and honored, honest, that you're going to be part of our series with — we've got eight concerts around the country. And so I guess I'm going to seeing you a bit.

B. CYRUS: I'm looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to it. You know, "Achy Breaky Heart," "Could Have Been Me." Some of those songs.

HANNITY: "Could Have Been Me," one of my favorites.

B. CYRUS: Thank you very much. The title track of that album is called "Some Gave All," and that was a song I wrote about a Vietnam veteran I met back in a little club in Huntington, West Virginia, in 1989.

And, you know, I find it sad today, you know, that I sing it, a lot of times at these men and women's funerals. And I sing it at, you know, a lot of the military functions. And "Some Gave All" has, you know, become even more relevant today than it was when I wrote it in 1989.


B. CYRUS: And that's why I'm proud to be a part of your concert tour this summer and looking forward to going out and saying thanks to the troops.

HANNITY: They're wonderful, and they inspire me. I went to Walter Reed, and you meet these kids that have their legs blown off, Billy. And we all think we've got problems. You walk out of that hospital and you realize your problems are so insignificant, compared to what they have to deal with the rest of their lives.

So it's an honor to see it.

Listen, all the best. Say hi to Miley. We wish you all the best with the movie this weekend, and I will be going.

Watch "Hannity" weeknights at 9 p.m. ET!

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