Over a decade after the premiere of Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus is still an international superstar. Known as much for her offstage antics as her onstage presence, the singer has long-since shed her alter ego.
Hannah Montana has moved away from a pop culture phenomenon and now remains a strong point of nostalgia for those who grew up with it. However, for those involved, it’s been a mixed blessing. Some still remember the show fondly, while others have had their troubles since and even others have claimed that the series ruined their lives.
As is the case with every kids show— but especially one as high profile as this— not everything was as happy and fun behind-the-scenes as viewers saw on screen. Actors had their share of turmoils, many people felt they didn’t get what they deserved from working on the program and several cast members have had run-ins with the law after the series wrapped.
The legacy of Hannah Montana is still going strong, and it is not always a positive one. In this list, we’ll be looking at anything that could be counted as a dark secret to happen during the show or to affect the legacy of the show after it finished airing.
Here are the 15 Behind-The-Scenes Secrets You Never Knew About Hannah Montana.
15. Miley Cyrus Claims the Role Gave Her Body Dysmorphia
Despite the show’s message of self-confidence, Miley Cyrus has admitted that bringing her picture-perfect alter ego to life gave her body image issues. In an interview with Marie Claire, Cyrus said that, “from the time I was 11, it was ‘You’re a pop star! That means you have to be blond, and you have to have long hair, and you have to put on some tight glittery thing.’”
Speaking deeper about the issues that this mentality caused for her at a young age, she said, “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.”
14. Miley Caused a Stir Using a Stand-In At the 2008 Hannah Montana Tour
This seems to be at least one clear-cut instance of a situation being blown out of proportion. The early/mid-2000s were rife with on-stage scandals from Janet Jackson’s infamous wardrobe scandal to Ashlee Simpson badly lip synching, which no doubt contributed to the apparent shock at Miley using a stand-in for a brief moment during the 2008 Hannah Montana tour. The stand-in was only on-stage for a few seconds before the switch was made.
In a show as big and technical as something like Hannah Montana, all kinds of tricks are employed to keep the audience dazzled. It’s not that far off from watching a magic show. This instance was no different, as the double was on stage while Miley made a costume change, in order to make the change appear as though it happened immediately.
13. Billy Ray Cyrus Got Caught in a Twitter Scandal When Miley Accused Him of Cheating
By this point in time, Billy Ray Cyrus’ divorce to Trish was already official. However, nobody really knew what to make of the situation. The family had made nearly every decision in the public spotlight, so to not have insight into such a personal issue was something that drove fans crazy.
Miley only added fuel to that fire when she sent Billy Ray a series of cryptic tweets. She told her dad, “since you won’t reply to my texts, I’m giving you an hour to tell the truth or I’ll tell it for you.” Attached in the tweet was a picture of an unidentified mystery woman.
The tweets were deleted almost immediately. However, the Internet always latches onto things like this. Once something gets posted, it’s out there forever. It’s easy to assume that Miley knew the reasoning behind what led to the divorce, which clearly involved this woman somehow, though there’s no real way to know for sure.
12. Cody Linley Got Caught Wasted on Camera When He Was 19
The Cyrus family aren’t the only members of the Hannah Montana cast to have had their share of public controversy, though they’ve certainly had the most. Cody Linley, who portrayed Miley’s boyfriend Jake Ryan on the show, had a bit of a scandal when he got caught totally wasted on camera at the age of 19.
It was a big deal not just because he was a TV personality, given that he still wasn’t old enough to drink at the time. Even friends who witnessed this were surprised by Linley’s behavior and described it as out-of-character.
Still, the actor managed to put the incident behind him. Since his time on Hannah Montana, Linley has gone on to appear on Dancing With the Stars, as well as joining the Sharknado franchise with Sharknado: The 4th Awakens.
11. Miley Claims She Was Grossly Underpaid
Contracts can be tricky to navigate, especially when you’re only eleven. Because of this, Miley noted in an interview with Elle that she was significantly underpaid on Hannah Montana.
She said, “I did not grow up spoiled in any way. I just wanted to be on TV. I mean, at one point— they’ll probably kill me for saying it— I was probably the least-paid person on my cast because I didn’t know any better.”
She also added that, even though her father was a country singer, he wasn’t really “in the industry” at the time, and that her mother quickly learned some of the perils that face child actors and helped to keep her daughter protected.
10. Moisés Arias Caused Controversy Posing In Bed With Willow Smith
Though Moisés Arias, who played Rico on the show, is well-known for his friendship with Willow Smith, the age difference between them has caused some controversy in the past.
This was especially true in 2014, when the 20-year-old actor released an Instagram snap of himself in bed with the 13-year-old Smith. Though the pictures caused a stir, both insisted that the photos were harmless and certainly were not meant to convey anything sexual.
Willow, of course, is the daughter of Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith. It’s hard to tell how a scandal like this, good natured as they might have claimed it to be, should have affected their relationship moving forward, but the two continued to be friends as if nothing had happened.
9. Billy Ray Cyrus Says Hannah Montana Ruined the Family’s Lives
In an interview with GQ that was conducted when Miley was 18, just after the show had come to a close, Billy Ray Cyrus pulled no punches in explaining that the show ruined the lives of the family.
“I’ll tell you right now, the damn show destroyed my family,” he said. He went on to add that, “there’s no doubt about it. Somewhere along the line, both mine and Miley’s faith had been shaken.” He also noted that there were a “great deal of people” putting her in danger and said, “I want to get her sheltered from the storm.”
This was after the first couple controversies had come to light. However, things only blew up more after. Throughout the early-mid 2010s, Miley seemed to be at the center of a string of scandals, one right after the other.
Her co-stars and even her father were not immune. While Hannah Montana leaves a lasting legacy of music and merchandise, it also leaves a legacy of controversy. It remains to be seen whether the show will be remembered for its positive message or its behind-the-scenes antics.
8. Mitchel Musso Got a DUI When He Was Only 20
Yet another Hannah Montana actor got caught in an underage drinking scandal, when Mitchel Musso, who played Miley’s best friend Oliver on the series, got pulled over on a DUI suspicion.
Musso was subjected to a field sobriety test and breathalyzer, blowing above the legal limit. Even though he was not of legal age, Musso was released on account of no outstanding warrants. He noted in an interview with E! that he believed “stepping up and taking responsibility” was the best way to handle the situation moving forward.
The incident did have more lasting effects on his career, though. After this, Musso was written out of the series Pair of Kings, in which he was a main character, and even led to the cancellation of the show PrankStars, which he hosted as himself.
7. Co-Creators Michael Poryes, Barry O’Brien, and Richard Correll Filed Complaints Over Compensation
Miley Cyrus is not the only person to claim that she didn’t get paid enough for Hannah Montana. In fact, she’s far from the only one. Two separate complaints from the show’s creators were filed over compensation.
Michael Poryes was the first to file, with Barry O’Brien and Richard Correll filing the second. Both parties said the same thing, though: they insisted that there had been a breach of contract over compensation and sought accounting.
O’Brien and Correll’s case eventually went nowhere after they insisted that they were entitled to money from merchandising and the arbitrator agreed with Disney that they were not.
Poryes, however, was much more successful and wound up settling with Disney. Afterward, O’Brien and Correll wanted access to Poryes’ documents, but that was refused. Witnesses in Poryes’ case were also not allowed to discuss the contractual interpretation that had taken place.
6. Buddy Sheffield Claims the Show Ripped Off His TV Pitch, Rock and Roland
Buddy Sheffield is a writer best known for working on the sketch comedy In Living Color. He also co-created the show Roundhouse for Nickelodeon. In 2001, he pitched a show to Disney—a musical sitcom by the name of Rock and Roland.
The idea centered around a middle school student who was a regular, normal kid by day and a pop superstar by night. It’s hard not to admit that the plot sounds very familiar. Sheffield’s lawsuit claimed that Disney showed great interest in the project, requested to see more material, then ultimately passed on it and misappropriated it.
He claims that they changed the genders of all the main characters— an option he apparently gave them in the pitch— and went on to produce the show under the name Hannah Montana.
Obviously, that series became an international phenomenon, one that is still widely beloved over a decade after its release. Hannah Montana generated millions for Disney. Sheffield’s case was quietly settled prior to the announced August 2008 court date.
5. Miley Caused Huge Controversy Over Her 2013 VMA Performance
Years later, this is still the most infamous thing Miley Cyrus has ever done. In fact, it will likely go down as the moment when Miley shed the Hannah Montana image for good.
This not only gained attention for being a scandalous thing to witness, something people couldn’t believe was happening live, but it was also just downright bizarre. During the performance, Miley took to the stage in a flesh-colored bodysuit to twerk and grind up against Robin Thicke, who was dressed like Beetlejuice for reasons unknown.
There are still memes about it and people are still talking about it. For better or worse, this is going to go down as one of the most talked about music moments of the decade. Miley even called back to it ahead of her 2017 VMA performance, promising that she’d “be good.”
4. The Hours Were Way Too Long And Intense for Child Actors
As a kid who was no doubt simply delighted to have her own TV show, Miley was not remotely prepared for the long, grueling hours of network television. They were often 12 hour plus days.
She claims that she had to have coffee poured down her throat to get her through it sometimes, as she was so exhausted. “I just had to keep going, be tough, be strong,” she said in an interview with Marie Claire. “Everything happened to me on that set.”
There are very specific labor laws regarding child actors. Actors under a certain age can only be working for a few hours at a time without a break. This can sometimes be side-stepped if an actor’s parents are on-set, though, as Miley’s were most of the time. That would allow her to keep working for a full day’s intense schedule, as most television episodes shoot in a week, sometimes even less.
3. Miley Posed Topless For Vanity Fair At the Age of 15
One of Miley Cyrus’ first controversies is still one of the most perplexing. Only a few years into her Hannah Montana fame, the young singer posed for a suggestive shoot for Vanity Fair.
There are many confusing things about this. Some of these photos are taken with her father, who somehow must have seen the whole thing as harmless. It’s not the pictures themselves that are confusing, as many fans had to stop and wonder how a publication as huge as Vanity Fair would have even thought this was a good idea in the first place.
Miley later issued a statement saying that she was “embarrassed” by the photos, which were taken by renowned photographer Annie Liebowitz. “I never intended for any of this to happen,” she said in the statement. “And I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about.”
2. Miley Was Caught Smoking a “Mysterious” Substance On Camera A Month After Turning 18
Miley caused yet another controversy in 2010, when she was seen on-camera smoking something from a bong. While many immediately assumed that the substance was marijuana, it turned out to be salvia.
Though it has many of the same qualities, salvia is legal in many more states— even more so at the time, before marijuana legalization truly began to kick off. In California, where Cyrus was at the time of the incident, sale of the salvia plant is legal.
There are no known harmful effects of salvia, but many still took issue with Cyrus smoking the substance, especially since she was still starring on Hannah Montana. For many, this was the start of Cyrus rebelling against her Disney Channel image. For others, it was simply a case of an 18 year-old engaging in pretty standard behavior.
1. Racy Photos of Miley and Nick Jonas Leaked Online When She Was 15
When she was only 15 years old, a group of photos intended for then-boyfriend Nick Jonas leaked online. They included a shot baring a bare-midriff, as well as another displaying a wet T-shirt.
These bathroom pics were deemed a little too racy for someone still in her early teens and thus blew up online and caused huge controversy— although there’s definite blame to be placed on whoever hacked the images to begin with— turning into a full-blown scandal overnight.
Part of the issue with the photos was that both Miley and Nick sported purity rings at the time, insisting that they were abstaining from sex before marriage. Once the photos broke online, that was definitely called into question. While some had speculated that one or both of them released the pictures themselves, it was never really investigated.
Do you know of any other behind-the-scenes secrets about Hannah Montana? Let us know in the comment section.
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