Dolly Parton Explains How Miley Cyrus’ ‘Hannah Montana’ Led to a Wider Fan Base

by Charles Craighill
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On several occasions from the mid to late 2000s, Dolly Parton made appearances on Disney Channel’s “Hannah Montana.” Parton’s role in the show mirrored her relationship with Miley Cyrus in real life. In the show, Parton acted as ‘Aunt Dolly,’ Hannah Montana’s Godmother, while in reality, she is Miley Cyrus’ godmother. In fact, it was Cyrus who asked for Dolly Parton to be in the show.

“She told them, you know, [Cyrus] said ‘I want my Aunt Dolly on here,'” Parton said in an interview with Vanity Fair. “So they wrote me in the show, and we just worked so well together. I was on a few times, and thanks to her, I had a whole new following of young people.”

Talking about her time on the show, Dolly cites “Hannah Montana” as being a large source of her young followers. Her few appearances on the show exposed her to the younger generation of viewers who may not have seen her otherwise. While most of these viewers may not follow country music as closely as her fans, they would at least recognize her as ‘Aunt Dolly.’

“I’m famous now ’cause I’m Hannah Montana’s Aunt Dolly,” Parton said of her role on the show. “Little kids just see me in the street and just point — ‘Aunt Dolly!’ or ‘Hi, Aunt Dolly!’ — and it’s just been so cute.”

Dolly Parton on Miley Cyrus

Dolly Parton has known Miley Cyrus since her birth on November 23, 1992, and has supported her ever since. On “Hannah Montana,” Dolly said that she “was watching [Miley Cyrus] like a proud momma the whole time.” The Nashville icon was nothing but impressed with her goddaughter.

“When ‘Hannah Montana’ came on the air and my little Miley Cyrus starred in it, I was so proud of her, I thought she was sensational,” she told Vanity Fair. “I thought ‘what a good little actress she is, what a good little comedian she is. And of course, she’s a good singer. I just thought she was perfect in that role.”

Miley Cyrus, like any youngster thrust into stardom, has experienced her own ups and downs in her career. Dolly Parton has supported her through all of them. “Everybody always complains about all the things she goes through and all the things she’s done,” Parton says to Vanity Fair. “But she’s just like me. She’s finding her own way, she’s finding her own space, and she’ll always land on her feet.”

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