Fame vs. Fiction: Looking Back at Miley Cyrus as 'Hannah Montana' Finale Nears
By Zach Dionne Posted Jan 15th 2011 11:15PM
'Hannah Montana' concludes its five-year Disney Channel run this Sunday, Jan. 16, and boy, hasn't Miley Cyrus grown up? On TV she's spent the last half-decade portraying Miley Stewart, alter ego to fictional pop star Hannah Montana. In real-life -- and the tabloids -- she's gone from bubblegum pop star to a chart-topping performer and borderline sex symbol.
As the 'Hannah Montana' finale closes in, we track the show's plotline versus Miley's real-life lows and, er, highs.
In the news: The day before 'Hannah Montana' premieres, Miley's father, Billy Ray Cyrus, tells USA Today: "I think she takes and borrows and hints at a little bit of a lot of people. ... But she's her own person. ... She's in this thing deep now. She's in the water, and she's got to sink or swim."
On TV: In the show's pilot, Miley Stewart begins coping with her dual identity as kid and secret superstar.
In the news: Cyrus records a cover of 'Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,' her first song credit under her own name. A month prior, her first single, 'Hannah Montana' theme 'The Best of Both Worlds,' was credited to her TV character.
On TV: Queen Elizabeth pays Miley a visit.
In the news: Under the radar, Miley begins dating fellow Disney teen Nick Jonas. She'll later tell Seventeen magazine, "We became boyfriend and girlfriend the day we met."
On TV: Miley eschews a trip to the mall for a trip to the beach, where "cute boys" are a priority.
In the news: Miley, performing as Hannah Montana, goes on tour. Disney releases 'Hannah Montana,' the first soundtrack to the show. It peaks at No. 1 on the Billboard Charts.
On TV: Country star Dolly Parton plays Miley's godmother.
In the news: Midway into season two of 'Hannah Montana' and hot off signing a four-record deal with Disney's Hollywood Records, Cyrus releases 'Hannah Montana 2 / Meet Miley Cyrus,' a double album featuring the debut disc under her own name. Miley tops the Billboard charts again; the release goes triple platinum.
On TV: Hannah Montana performs for the president of the United States.
In the news: Miley embarks on the Best of Both Worlds Tour, performing both as herself and Hannah Montana. MTV finds tickets being scalped as high as $2,500, with the average ticket resale value at $214 -- more expensive than tix for Beyonce or Justin Timberlake.
On TV: Miley's ascent into the big leagues of entertainment isn't so smooth as real life; she struggles to court fictional movie star Jake Ryan.
In the news: Miley's first sexy photo scandal breaks, surrounding a Myspace pic of herself and a gal pal sexily sharing a piece of licorice. She'll later reflect in Vanity Fair: "That's two girls -- it's not a big deal. ... I was just like, it didn't affect me. Everyone's like, 'Maybe she'll learn her lesson this time.' Nope." She and Nick Jonas break up after nearly two years together; Miley will later tell Seventeen mag, "At first I bawled for a month straight."
On TV: Hannah Montana wins an International Music Award.
In the news: A concert film of Miley's Best of Both Worlds Tour remains in theaters a month after its proposed single-week release, steamrolling its way to an eventual $29 million box office total.
On TV: Miley Stewart's Uncle Earl, played by funnyman David Koechner, comes to his niece for advice on how to be a rock star.
In the news: Miley joins the TIME 100 as one of the magazine's most influential people. Former child star Donny Osmond writes, "Miley Cyrus, 15, is riding a huge tidal wave at the pinnacle of her career; this is as it should be. I hope she enjoys it. I guarantee there will be many bumps in the road ahead." Osmond worries about Cyrus' image becoming "cryogenically frozen into a specific stereotype." On TV: 'Hannah Montana' is in the middle of a two-month hiatus. Formerly weekly episodes have become sporadic in the latter part of season two.
In the news: Racy shots of a topless, towel-wrapped Miley appear in Vanity Fair. Cyrus says, "I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be 'artistic' and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed." Meanwhile, the LA Times estimates the lucky paparazzo to snag a shot of Miley's first kiss will earn between $30,000 and $150,000.
On TV: Miley is struck by lightning, goes back in time and must foster romance between her fighting parents -- in the past.
In the news: Miley releases her sophomore album, 'Breakout.' "It's grown up. I wrote all the songs except two," a 15-year-old Cyrus tells Reuters. "Songwriting is what I really want to do with my life forever. I just hope this record showcases that, more than anything, I'm a writer."
On TV: Miley Stewart forgets her father's birthday; Hannah Montana experiences a rite of showbiz passage as her diamond appears on the Hollywood Parade of Stars (the 'Hannah Montana'-verse's answer to a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame).
In the news: Miley begins dating underwear model Justin Gaston; he's a scandalous five years her senior.
On TV: Miley's friend Oliver dates her nemesis Joannie.
In the news: Miley celebrates her sweet 16 at Disneyland, with $250 tickets benefiting a charity fundraiser for Youth Service America. She tells reporters she received a puppy and that "my parents shut down Disneyland for me, so I'm good for a while."
On TV: Season three of 'Hannah Montana' debuts. Miley Stewart fails her driver's test, returns to receive her license as Hannah Montana and gets busted by the cops.
In the news: Miley breaks up with 20-year-old Justin Gaston. A source tells E! Online both are "really heartbroken."
On TV: An old friend of Miley's is engaged to her Hollywood ex, Jake.
In the news: Miley is spotted smooching 'The Last Song' co-star Liam Hemsworth. She'll later call him her "first serious boyfriend." Miley pole-dances at the Teen Choice Awards, prompting E! Online to report on "Slutty Cyrus Vs. Wholesome Hannah."
On TV: Media hounds score a private secret of Hannah's.
In the news: Miley quits Twitter and raps about it, saying, "I want my private life private."
On TV: Hannah plays judge in a TV talent show featuring her BFF Oliver.
In the news: Touring for EP 'The Time of Our Lives,' Cyrus gets a tattoo on her ribs and performs for Queen Elizabeth II.
On TV: We'll let IMDb take it from here: "Miley is trying to audition for the starring role of a cartoon duck."
In the news: Miley stars in her first non-'Hannah Montana' film, 'The Last Song,' written by 'The Notebook' author Nicholas Sparks.
On TV: In the tail end of season three, Miley pines for her old, simple life in Tennessee.
In the news: 'Can't Be Tamed,' the lead single from Miley's third album, is released. PopEater dubs the steamy music video "Miley's adult coming-out." Days later, TMZ releases a clip of Miley dirty dancing with 44-year-old 'Last Song' producer Adam Shankman.
On TV: 'Hannah Montana' has conspicuously not begun its fourth season.
In the news: In a scandal-stacked month for Miley, she mimics a kiss with a female dancer onstage, tattoos 'LOVE' inside her ear, and is inadvertently caught in the middle of a deplorable, downright creepy photo scandal involving blogger Perez Hilton.
On TV: Still no new 'Hannah Montana' episodes, but ABC airs an hour-long special centered around a Miley concert at London's storied O2 Arena.
In the news: Miley and Liam split. The 17-year-old starlet's continually sexified image proves to be an expert business plan.
On TV: Early into the final and fourth season, dubbed 'Hannah Montana Forever,' Hannah performs with Sheryl Crow and is cheated on by boyfriend Jake.
In the news: A month before turning 18, Miley's 'Who Owns My Heart' video stirs up more of an uproar than 'Can't Be Tamed.'
On TV: Hannah's newest tune takes a creative turn from her usual fare, upsetting her label.
In the news: Another busy, rough month for Miley -- parents Tish and Billy Ray Cyrus announce their impending divorce, Miley takes heat for wearing a see-through dress in a live performance and tabloids speculate that not-quite-old-enough-yet Miley may have been drinking in Europe. On the bright side, she turns 18 and has an awesome party.
On TV: Miley gets dumped when her famous identity messes with her man's day-to-day. Miley and BFF Lilly apply to college; Lilly gets in, Miley doesn't.
In the news: Easily the biggest, most widely reported Miley scandal yet, leaked video shows Cyrus smoking salvia from a bong and hallucinating. Father Billy Ray admits, "There is much beyond my control right now."
On TV: Miley explains her 'Hannah Montana' double life to the media.
PopEater surveyed Miley's reputation as the bong video hit:
In the news: A hacker charged with distributing racy pictures of Miley is arrested in Nashville. The bong Cyrus smoked out of goes up for sale.
On TV: In finale 'Kiss It All Goodbye,' Miley deals with the "biggest decision ever" -- go to college with her BFF or make a movie? Tune in Sunday, Jan. 16, on Disney Channel, and see a preview here:
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