Cyrus stopped touring. He got off the rocket ride to pay attention to his new family. While he was gone, the music industry moved on — and saw him as a one-hit wonder. They could only hear "Achy Breaky Heart."
But he never stopped recording. He and Finley now have a family of six children. He's taken work as an actor, playing a country doctor on a cable TV show. And he's still touring with his new music — just not on the jets that he was used to.
Now he travels to his gigs on his tour bus. And where there once were stadiums, now he signs CDs and pictures at Wal-Mart.
As he promotes his new CD, The Other Side, his family is in tow. Occasionally, his other son, Cody, goes along, too.
Cyrus says he has few regrets.
The way he sees it, the fork in the road that took him away from fame brought him a real life.
He keeps moving ahead, on his own terms. It all ends up sounding suspiciously like a country ballad, one where dad chooses love over money, marriage over the crowds of female fans, and family over fame.
"I'd rather ride the ride and go up and down [than] never ride it at all," Cyrus said.
"I love making music, that's my No. 1 thing," he said. "I will keep making music, until I'm no longer breathing. Whether or not there's anybody there to listen to it."