The superstar Cyrus clan has been undergoing some drastic changes over the course of this year. First, Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus wrapped production on the final season of Disney's fantastically successful Hannah Montana TV series. Second, Miley decided to make over her cute teen-girl image into a racier new persona. Third, Billy Ray changed a bit, himself--he took a turn away from his established country music career to record a more rock-oriented album (under the name Brother Clyde).
And now, sadly, another family institution is crumbling: Namely, Billy Ray and wife Tish Cyrus's 17-year marriage. According to People, the couple filed divorce documents on Wednesday, citing irreconcilable differences.
"As you can imagine, this is a very difficult time for our family," the pair said in a joint statement. "We are trying to work through some personal matters. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers."
The Cyruses have been married for 17 years, have five children (the eldest two of which are biologically Tish's only; later adopted by Billy Ray), and have generally appeared as a stable couple by Hollywood/Nashville standards, making their separation all the more surprising.
In her 2009 autobiography Miles To Go, Miley Cyrus described her parents as "homebodies" who rarely entertained or went to parties, preferring family time instead. "They liked to be with each other and us," she noted.
In the meantime, it's unclear how the divorce will affect the professional dynamic of the family, which has a history of collaborative projects. Currently, Billy Ray and adopted son Trace Cyrus are inked to work together for an upcoming reality series on the SyFy Network.
Are you shocked to hear about the Cyrus's breakup? What do you think may have contributed to it? Be sure to let me know your thoughts.
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[Photos: Miley's red carpet glamour]
[Photos: Vintage Billy Ray Cyrus]