Country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, the famous father of pop sensation Miley Cyrus, opened up about his overnight success, past scandals and his daughter, all of which is laid out in his new memoir, "Hillbilly Heart," in a recent interview with "Nightline."
"My life will always be a little different," Cyrus told "Nightline." "It will never be the same."
In his book, which is due out today, Cyrus talks about how he became famous very quickly. Born William Ray Cyrus, the 51-year-old multi-platinum artist said he grew up in Flatwoods, Ky., wanting to be a baseball player, and he would have gone for it if it hadn't been for Neil Diamond.
Cyrus won a radio contest, scoring tickets to one of Diamond's concerts. Listening to Diamond changed everything for him.
"Somewhere along that line, I started hearing a voice say, 'buy a guitar and start a band and you'll find your purpose in life,'" Cyrus said. "And every now and then, I would write, 'I want to be known as the next Elvis Presley.' Oh, that's a double-edged sword. Fame is a dangerous, dangerous thing."
After 10 years of playing dive bars and clubs, Cyrus wasn't sure if his dream of being a star would ever come true. But finally, after knocking on enough doors in Nashville, he was handed a song he thought could be a hit.
"When I heard the demo, it was kind of like chugging on the guitar," he said.
That song was "Achy Breaky Heart," Cyrus' debut single. Released in 1992, it became one of the most successful country-pop crossover songs on the Billboard Hot 100 and is still for what Cyrus is best known. At the time, it seemed like the entire country was line dancing, while wondering who was this guy sporting the mullet and taking country music by storm. Cyrus said tabloids were splashed with headlines like "Where Did This Guy Come From?"
"One of the tabloids had come out said that Dolly [Parton] and I was together and I asked my manager if I can go over an apologize to her," he said. "And I went over and I said, 'Hey, Miss Parton, I'm Billy Ray Cyrus, so sorry.' And I laid that tabloid down, and she looked at it and said, 'Honey, that s--- sells records.'"
It was around the time "Achy Breaky Heart" was setting the charts on fire that Cyrus' daughter, Miley Cyrus, was born. Cyrus and his wife Tish named her Destiny Hope, but her big grin earned her the nickname, "Smiley," and later shortened to "Miley."
In just a couple of years, she was the one stealing the show, and her father said he had a feeling she would be a star.
"She did have a great deal of charisma," he said. "Miley had a dream. Her dream was to--again, she is an entertainer. She's an actress. She's a singer, songwriter, musician. I think that she would have found that dream. I think it was--this is the way that it was meant to be."
In the years since, much has been written about the Cyrus family. But even as he was wrapping up his memoir, Billy Ray Cyrus said he struggled with how to end the book. At the end of "Hillbilly Heart," Cyrus writes that he believes his 20-year-old daughter will marry Australian actor Liam Hemsworth, 23 -- the two have been engaged since last June -- but the singer told "Nightline" he is not entirely certain.
Country Star Talks About His Daughter Miley Cyrus' Engagement
"I don't know," Cyrus said. "As I was writing the book, I wanted to keep that particular moment as open-ended as possible because I didn't know the answer. They're young, they're kids. The great news is they're great friends. They're really, really good friends. If you end up getting married, that's your business."
Tabloid rumors have been swirling in recent weeks that the young couple is splitting up.
"I play it by ear, and I know whatever is meant to be, that's the way it's going to happen," Cyrus said. "I don't tell anybody how to live, anybody. I say, 'here's what I've done,' and I'll mostly preface everything with, 'the only thing I do know is I'm not sure I know anything, so take it with a grain of salt.'"
Cyrus wrote a song about Miley called, "Ready, Set, Don't Go," which was released in 2007. In the song he talks about his daughter growing up and moving on without him, but wouldn't go as far as to say she was growing up too soon.
"How do you judge in this world what's too fast, what's too slow," he said. "You look at teenagers, everything, everything in this world, what exactly-- how would you make something perfect?"
In the past, Cyrus has been accused of pushing his daughter -- a former Disney star turned racy pop icon -- into the spotlight too early and too fast. It's something Cyrus denies.
"When you get into the entertainment business ... Kris Kristofferson said to me one time during the midst of, you know, some of the stuff," Cyrus said. "He said, 'Hey hoss, just remember, man, the turkey with the longest neck is the one everybody is shooting at.' That's poetry, man. It's true."