tish cyrus
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Billy Ray + Tish Cyrus: Inside Their 28-Year Love Story

90's country hitmaker Billy Ray Cyrus and longtime love Leticia Jean Finley, "Tish," have not had an easy road over the past 28 years of marriage. But despite their struggles, they have chosen to keep fighting for each other to make their relationship work which is pretty admirable in an industry full of failed relationships.

Billy Ray was actually married for the first time to Cindy Smith from 1986 to 1991. Smith even co-wrote some of his songs that were included on his 1992 album, including "Wher'm I Gonna Live?" and "Some Gave All." After they ended their relationship, Billy Ray had a fling with a South Carolina waitress named Kristin Luckey. After Kristen, he met the future Tish Cyrus and was immediately smitten. The only problem? Both women were pregnant. 

At the time, Tish was pregnant with a baby Miley Cyrus (originally named Destiny Hope) and Kristen was pregnant with Christopher Cody. Though Billy Ray financially helped Kristen and Christopher, who based themselves in South Carolina, he was fully focused on Tish. When she became pregnant the following year with their second child, Braison Cyrus, they tied the knot in 1993. 

According to Tish's Instagram, the couple said "I do" in the living room of their Franklin, Tennessee home. Tish also had two children from a previous relationship, Trace and Brandi, who Billy Ray adopted. They were officially renamed "Brandi Cyrus" and "Trace Cyrus." The couple also welcomed one more child together, youngest daughter Noah Cyrus, in 2000. 


In 2006, Billy Ray and his daughter Miley booked the roles of the lead father and daughter on the Disney Channel TV show, Hannah Montana. This moved the family from their Tennesee farm out to Los Angeles and Miley's career skyrocketed. While the show also gave Billy Ray a chance to make a music comeback, Tish started focusing behind the scenes and became Miley's manager. She also produced some of her daughter's films including Miley Cyrus: Bangerz Tour, LOL, So Undercover and The Last Song, based on the Nicholas Sparks novel. 

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Over the years, Tish and Billy Ray have both filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. Once in 2010 and again in 2013, but both times they called it off.

"We both woke up and realized we love each other and decided we want to stay together. We both went into couples therapy something we haven't done in 22 years of being together, and it's brought us closer together and really opened up our communication in amazing ways," Billy Ray's rep told Us Weekly in 2013 after they called off divorce for the second time. 

"Tish also said marriage can be really hard especially after 22 years of being in entertainment. We've had rough times but we both realized we didn't want to be another statistic and wanted to make it work."

In an interview with Bravo, Tish said that despite having their marriage out in the open during their public breakups, she wouldn't have it any other way. They decided to fight for their marriage and cherish what they have together today.

"But, also, I do think that marriage is hard work. And I think a lot of people, when you go through struggles and difficult times, that people throw in the towel a little too easy," she said. "And I think that any relationship — whether it's marriage or family, it doesn't matter — it's you truly do have to take care of it and nurture and really work hard at relationships. And that's not always easy, especially in the business that we're in. So I think it's a lot just dedication and communication, which I'm not very good at."

These days, Tish and Billy Ray seem stronger than ever before. And so do their careers. Billy Ray made a major comeback recently with the hit song "Old Town Road," and in 2017, Tish was busy starring alongside daughter Brandi in a Bravo reality show, Cyrus vs. Cyrus: Design and Conquer.

This article was originally published in 2020.