Teen megastar Miley Cyrus' parents, Billy Ray and Tish, have called it quits.
The couple confirmed to People on Wednesday (October 27) that they are breaking up after 17 years of marriage.
"As you can imagine, this is a very difficult time for our family," they said in a statement. "We are trying to work through some personal matters. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers." The pair have five children and Billy Ray is father to Metro Station's Trace.
Both of Miley's parents have been supportive of their superstar daughter's career. Billy Ray, a country hitmaker known for the ubiquitous 1992 jam "Achy Breaky Heart," starred as Miley's onscreen father on the hit Disney show "Hannah Montana." Miley has credited him with helping her maintain a level head despite her outsize fame.
"It's about being who you are. My dad has been in the spotlight for 20 years now and still every time he walks his dog they're saying, 'Billy Ray picks up dog poop,' " Miley told MTV News in June. "It's like, 'That's a law in California, folks.' You gotta do what you gotta do. That's life for you. That's life in the spotlight — it's never gonna change."
Miley's mom has been instrumental behind the scenes, recently serving as an executive producer on her film "The Last Song" and inadvertently helping to cast her onscreen love interest — who eventually became her offscreen beau — Liam Hemsworth.
Miley has also paid tribute to her parents' bond in the video for her 2009 smash "Party in the U.S.A." Director Chris Applebaum explained to MTV News that the visual was inspired, not only by the monster throwback musical "Grease," but also the Cyruses' courtship.
"Interesting enough, Miley's parents Tish and Billy Ray, when they were first dating they went to a drive-in in Kentucky, I think, called the Corral Drive-In — so we named the drive-in after that as an homage to them," Applebaum said. "In addition, Miley's mom Tish used to drive '79 black Pontiac Trans Am, 'Smokey and the Bandit' style, and obviously that's the car that Miley arrives in."
Miley has also maintained that her parents' support has helped her deal with the sting of negative press.
"I'm a very inspirational person," she said. "At the end of the day my parents are proud of me, and I have a feeling if your job is to bring other people down, you may not have the same response."