Nepo Babies of the Week: Why Is the Cyrus Family Feuding?

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Getty
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Getty

The mother of Hannah Montana marrying an actor from Prison Break shouldn’t be a big deal. In fact, it sounds like one of those factoids you accidently discover eight years later via a hyperlink on Miley Cyrus’ Wikipedia page.

A photo including Miley Cryus.

Miley Cyrus attends the Versace FW23 Show at Pacific Design Center on March 09, 2023 in West Hollywood, California.

Arturo Holmes / Getty

Unfortunately for Tish Cyrus, though, she has some very messy children—and not just the one who twerked on Robin Thicke at the VMAs, had a beef with Nicki Minaj once, and insulted the entire genre of hip-hop. I’m talking about Tish’s other famous daughter Noah and her not-that-famous son Braisson, both of whom ditched her wedding last weekend to go to Wal-Mart and take selfies. (Or maybe they weren’t invited. Who knows?)

Now, Tish’s formerly irrelevant nuptials are the subject of a huge nepo-baby scandal. Is there a civil war brewing among one of Hollywood’s most famous musical families? The evidence, so far, is leaning toward a big, fat “yes”—although no one’s exactly sure why yet. However, the alliances seem pretty clear.

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Before we get into this latest drama, let’s break down the giant Cyrus family tree: Leticia “Tish” Cyrus, who manages Miley and produced several of her movies, is the former wife of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus. The couple publicly separated three times before officially divorcing in 2022. Tish and Billy Ray have three children—most famously, Disney Channel star and pop singer Miley; Braison, who’s supposedly an actor; and sad-pop girl Noah.

Tish also has two children from a previous marriage: Metro Station lead singer Trace and Brandi, who hosts several podcasts, including one with Tish. The mother and daughter also had a one-season interior-design show on Bravo under Tish’s Hope Town Entertainment banner. Billy Ray adopted Trace and Brandi, hence why they share the Cyrus surname. (The “Achy Breaky Heart” singer also has a reportedly estranged son named Christopher, who’s not relevant to any of this gossip, unfortunately.)

A photo including Trace Cyrus.

Singer/guitarist Trace Cyrus of Metro Station attends the grand opening of The Barbershop Cuts & Cocktails at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on March 16, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Gabe Ginsberg / Getty

On Aug. 19, Tish and Prison Break star Dominic Purcell tied the knot at a small ceremony in Malibu. Aerial paparazzi photos captured the couple and their wedding party—which included Trace, Brandi, and Miley—standing at the petal-covered altar. Miley was reportedly her mother’s maid of honor. The internet, however, was quick to notice that Noah and Braisson were missing from the photos. Thankfully, for the online sleuths, the youngest siblings made their whereabouts widely known the same day.

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Noah posted several eye-catching Instagram Stories, including a photo of her brother Braison—whose name coincidentally sounds like “brazen”—sitting across from her at Vivian’s Cafe with the caption “my brother flew out here to see me!!” She also posted a photo of the two of them, plus a realtor named Alec Holden, seemingly waking up after a “sleepover” in front of a game of Trouble. This Alec person also shared a video of the three of them hanging out in a Wal-Mart. The most controversial Story, though, shows Noah posing with Braison in front of a taqueria wearing a shirt with an image of their father on it.

A photo including Noah Cyrus.

Noah Cyrus attends A New York Evening With Noah Cyrus at National Sawdust on October 18, 2022 in New York City.

Rob Kim / Getty

Trace seemingly responded to his half-sister’s posts when he shared an old photo of Tish with him, Brandi and Miley as children on his Stories the day after the wedding. His Instagram profile also features a selfie of him with Miley and his mother from two years ago, so it seems like Tish and her oldest three children are pretty solid.

For obvious reasons, Noah’s posts—particularly the one of her in the Billy Ray T-shirt—were largely interpreted as shade toward Tish by Redditors and nosy spectators alike. To be fair, I can’t think of anything more petty to do on the so-called “happiest day” of my mom’s life than go on a mundane suburban outing and document it for the world. I’m also curious whether she had this Billy Ray graphic tee in her closet already or custom-made and next-day shipped to allegedly slight her mother. It’s not like you can just pick up a Billy Ray Cyrus T-shirt at Urban Outfitters, you know?

As shocking as these posts were, this isn’t the first time the internet has speculated a rift within the Cyrus household, seemingly stemming from Tish and Billy Ray’s reportedly “toxic” marriage. After Tish filed for divorce from Billy Ray a second time in April 2022, Instagram users noticed that Noah stopped following her mother on the app but was still following her dad. This past May, a source reported that Miley wasn’t talking to Billy Ray following his engagement to a 34-year-old singer named Firerose (whom he first met outside of the Hannah Montana soundstage), just seven months after his split from Tish.

Some Redditors seem to think he cheated on Tish with Firerose, which wouldn’t be the first time the country musician has been rumored to be unfaithful. In 2013, when Tish and Billy Ray announced they were divorcing for the first time before getting back together, Miley threatened to expose her dad on Twitter before claiming her account was hacked. (Mhmm.) Regardless, this family has been openly messy and dysfunctional for at least a decade.

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Not too long ago, though, the Cyruses were presenting themselves to the public as a strong family unit. In 2017, they filmed an episode of Carpool Karaoke: The Series, showing off the shared number of hits among them. A few months later, they appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to play a game called Search Party against the cast of Riverdale. That same year, Noah and Trace dropped by Emo Nite LA, where they bopped around to Metro Station’s “Shake It.”

Presumably, this was a marketing strategy to promote Noah’s nascent pop career and Tish and Brandi’s one-season show Cyrus v. Cyrus, Design and Conquer. Notably, all this occurred a year before Billy Ray experienced a huge resurgence for this feature on Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” remix.

Now, whatever portrait the Cyruses were trying to paint of a happy, unified family doesn’t matter, as they’ve never appeared more divided. This sort of “bad” publicity may ultimately be more effective for them than trying to brand themselves as a mostly solid empire like the Kardashians. This drama is certainly more compelling than a feud over Dolce & Gabbana.

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