Miley Cyrus struggled with body dysmorphia, depression and anxiety while starring on the Disney TV show, “Hannah Montana,” from 2006 to 2011. Miley said she suffered anxiety attacks and poor body image due to the constant pressure to be perfect as a child.
“I was told for so long what a girl is supposed to be from being on that show,” Cyrus told Marie Claire Aug. 13. “I was made to look like someone I wasn’t, which probably caused some body dysmorphia because I had been made pretty every day for so long. Then when I wasn’t on that show, it was like, ‘Who the f*ck am I?” ‘
Cyrus, who has made headlines for her outrageous antics and racy (or nude) photo spreads in recent years, was forced to wear lots of makeup, a long blonde wig and glittery tight clothes as Hannah Montana. The pressure to constantly look pretty and be perfect made Cyrus depressed and anxious.
“I would have anxiety attacks,” said Miley. “I’d get hot flashes, feel like I was about to pass up or throw up. It would happen a lot before shows, and I’d have to cancel. Then the anxiety started coming from anxiety. You get in this hole that seems like you’re never going to be able to get out of.”
Cyrus was just 11 years old when she was cast as Hannah Montana, but had adult responsibilities, long work hours and the pressure of having an entire show (and all the jobs associated with the show’s production) resting on her tiny shoulders. The stress was enough to push Miley to her breaking point.
“Every morning, I was getting coffee jammed down my throat to wake me up,” Cyrus recalled. “I just had to keep going, be tough, be strong.” Some of that early regimentation might explain Miley’s rebellious behavior lately, as well as her constantly changing hair and fashion styles.
Cyrus said the pressure on celebrities to be flawless is unrealistic and promotes low self-esteem. “When you look at retouched, perfect photos, you feel like sh*t,” said Miley. “They lighten black girls’ skin. They smooth out wrinkles. It’s crazy what people have decided we’re all supposed to be.”
Miley’s dad, country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, previously blamed the success of “Hannah Montana” for “destroying” his family. Billy Ray also said he was terrified Miley could end up like tragic stars Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain and Anna Nicole Smith, all of whom suffered from severe drug addiction and died early.
“I’m scared for her,” Billy Ray told GQ. “She’s got a lot of people around her that’s putting her in a great deal of danger.” Billy Ray is saddened that his marriage fell apart (Billy Ray and his wife Tish filed for divorce in 2010 but the couple called it off in 2013) and his family isn’t as close as he would like.
“[‘Hannah Montana’] destroyed my family,” said Billy Ray. “The damn show destroyed my family.” So does Cyrus wish “Hannah Montana” had never happened? “I hate to say it, but yes I do,” he said.