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Miley Ray Stewart is the central character of the Hannah Montana media franchise, portrayed by Miley Cyrus. The character was originated in the currently running Disney Channel series Hannah Montana and also appeared in the feature film Hannah Montana: The Movie. Miley is a normal teenage girl who, as her alter ego Hannah Montana, secretly lives a double life as a world famous pop star.

Character development

The character was originally named Zoe Stewart and then changed to Chloe Stewart. On the day the pilot episode was shot the name changed again to Miley Stewart. Cyrus stated that the producers named the character after her because "They just thought I was like the character." In Miley's book "Miles To Go", Miley speaks of the name change again saying that "It was just way too many names. So they dropped the one that was easiest to let go." Cyrus also influenced other aspects of the character including her Tennesseanmarker roots. Her casting also led to the casting of her real life father, Billy Ray Cyrus, as her character's father in the show.

The character's pop star persona also experienced several name changes. Anna Cabana, Samantha York, and Alexis Texas were all considered before Hannah Montana was settled on.

Character backstory

Stewart was born in the fictional town of Crowley Corners, Tennessee on November 23, 1992. Her nuclear family consisted of her parents Robby and Susan Stewart and an older brother named Jackson. She also has many relatives in her extended family including her grandmother Ruthie Stewart, Uncle Earl and Aunt Pearl, and a cousin named Luann. The characterizations given to most of her family members poke fun at country bumpkin stereotypes. She also had a pet pig named Luanne and a pet hamster named Leslie.

Miley received a love for music from her father, who was a popular country music star. Her parents recognized Miley's potential and gave her her first guitar when she was eight years old.

Miley's mother Susan was born April 12, 1969 and died on December 16, 2002 at age 33 from terminal illness about the time Miley was 10. It was at this time that her father retired from his music career and moved the family to Malibu, Californiamarker where they live in a four bedroom beach house.

By the time she was 13 years old, Miley had become a famous pop star under the stage name "Hannah Montana." She goes to great lengths to disguise herself as Hannah in order to keep her true identity a secret, except to those closest to her.

Personal life

Apart from her life as a pop star, Miley leads a very normal life. She is fond of camping and hanging out at the beach, but is not at all athletic. She has a fear of spiders and visiting the dentist. She also occasionally struggles with her school work and her self confidence.


In the first season, Miley is an 8th grader at Seaview Middle School, and in the second season she enters Seaview High School. Despite her father offering her the option of homeschooling, Miley decided to attend public school in order to be a "normal kid," a decision she sometimes finds herself regretting. Due to her double life, she is often in awkward positions and is forced to lie in order to keep her secret.

Miley's best friends are classmates Lilly Truscott (Emily Osment) and Oliver Oken (Mitchel Musso) who both learn her secret and help her keep it from their other classmates.


Miley is especially close with her father from whom she receives much good advice and emotional support. She also values her relationships with her best friends Lilly and Oliver. However Miley is shown to be very uncomfortable with the fact that they're dating and even stops them being a couple. Her relationship with Lilly occasionally suffers the occasional setback, but they always make up. In the episode 'What I Don't Like About You', Miley is asked to choose a side between a fight Lilly and Oliver had. But Miley, showing was a kind friend she was, made a mini-Indiana Joannie movie, which made Lilly and Oliver forgive each other. Miley's relationship with her brother Jackson is often hostile. The two siblings constantly fight and trash talk each other. However, in a few private conversations, both Miley and Jackson say that they love and appreciate each other, but they are both unwilling to admit this in public.

Miley also has several dating relationships, many of which are short lived. Her most significant dating relationship is with Jake Ryan (Cody Linley), a famous television star. Miley and Jake meet when he briefly attends Seaview Middle. Jake is attracted to Miley because she is the only person at school who is not starstruck by his arrival. Miley at first denies having feelings for him, but later begins to date him. When Jake cannot handle being normal, the two decide to be just friends, although it is revealed to the audience in "Jake... Another Piece of My Heart," that both Jake and Miley still have feelings for each other, but neither one is willing to admit it. In "He Could Be The One", Miley chooses Jake over another boy because they have so much history and she believes he could be the one. They are now officially dating. However, another break-up was hinted in the episode "For (Give) A Little Bit", when she said she had a crush on a guy named Drew, and purposely embarrassed herself in front of him in an attempt to make Jackson forgive her after she purposely embarrassed him of front of his crush.

In I Honestly Love You (No Not You), Miley believes that Oliver is in love with her when she overhears him (while asleep in the hospital because of a broken ankle) say "I love you". However after a talk with her dad she thinks that Oliver will move on and so will Lilly but when Lilly announces that she is in love with Oliver, Miley ends up telling her the truth. Lilly and Miley hatch a plan to get Oliver back but only to find out that he was practiing saying "I love you" so he could say it to Lilly. They both say that they love each other in the end of the episode. (It is mentioned in this episode that neither Oliver nor Miley have romantic feelings for each other).

Miley's other significant dating relationship is with Travis Brody (Lucas Till), a childhood friend from Tennessee. The two become reacquainted during Miley's return to Tennessee in Hannah Montana: The Movie.


Although she never plays instruments while performing as Hannah, Miley can play the piano and the guitar. She owns several acoustic and electric guitars, including a black strat copy she nicknamed "Whammy Bar Wally" and a pink sparkle electric acoustic Stardust Series Daisy Rock guitar. In Hannah Montana: The Movie, Miley plays a custom built Gibson acoustic guitar.

While her father is her main songwriter, Miley has written a few of her own songs. In "She's a Supersneak," Miley writes the song "I Miss You" about her mother after learning her father is dating another woman. (In real life, the song was written by Miley Cyrus for her grandfather Ron Cyrus.) In Hannah Montana: The Movie, Miley's character writes "Butterfly Fly Away" and "The Climb". Stewart wrote "Butterfly Fly Away" after an argument with Travis (Till) and her dad breaking off his relationship for her. In the story, "The Climb" began when she was in the hen house writing. Travis (Till) told her that the song didn't represent who she is or how she feels. Later in a concert, she performs it live revealing the entire song with its new lyrics. Then, in the episode "He Could Be the One" Stewart wrote a song called "I'm Just Having Fun". While parcticing with her band, Stewart decided the song needed lyrical innovation and revamping. Then, when she was mad at her father; Miley altered the lyrics to a "I don't care what you say, I don't care what you say, just 'cause your my daddy doesn't mean you get it your way". She decided to give up on the song, but later with her guitar player she finally made it into "He Could Be the One", inspired by Jake (Cody Linley).

Hannah Montana

Miley Cyrus portrays Hannah Montana during the Best of Both Worlds Tour.
Hannah Montana is Miley Stewart's alter ego. Hannah exists as a secret identity, an extremely popular and influential pop music recording artist and performer. Hannah's many fans are not aware that she is really just a normal teenage girl, and Miley tries to keep her two lives separate.


Hannah's blonde wig is the primary difference between her and the brunette Miley, although Hannah also wears more extravagant clothes and sometimes large sunglasses. In the Hannah Montana story, the famous blonde wig was picked out for Miley by Roxy. (In real life, the wig was not chosen until the second episode. The original wig seen in the pilot was a slightly different style.) Miley Stewart also mentions that she intentionally patterned Hannah's look after her godmother Dolly Parton.

Miley previously experienced an image crisis in "Yet Another Side of Me" in which she grew concerned that Hannah's look might become outdated. After considering a "Techno Hannah," "Half-Dolla Hannah" (Hip hop), and the "Anti-Hannah" (Grunge), Miley decides that her fans like her for who she is.

Starting in the third season, Hannah's look changes slightly. Her wig is shorter and less straight and her fashion changes as well. This is discussed on the DVD Keeping It Real in the bonus feature "Miley's Makeover – Hannah Gets a New Look." Cyrus and her team describe the new look as an "'80s flavored style with the glits and glam of modern fashion." It is also revealed in Super Girl, as part of Wizards on Deck With Hannah Montana, that she wears a single pink glove during concerts and it is also shown in music videos like It's All Right Here and Let's Get Crazy that she does. It symbols how Hannah Montana is growing up as well.


Hannah Montana's music career is very successful although there have been a few slips.In the pilot episode she is said to be continuing a "smash tour" which was being sold out. In "Yet Another Side of Me," Robby says that he has written 15 straight number ones for her. However, he may have been exaggerating since in "Miley Hurt the Feelings of the Radio Star" he says he has written 14 number ones for her. Hannah also wins several awards including a Silver Boot "Booty" award for best country pop crossover with the song "True Friend," and an International Music Award for Female Artist of the Year. She is also honored with her own diamond on the Hollywood Parade of Diamonds, a parody of the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Famemarker. She also sings for the Queen of England and the President of the United States (President Martinez in a crossover episode). Hannah's greatest rival is fellow pop star Mikayla (Selena Gomez) who is determined to steal Hannah's fans.

Beyond her music career, Hannah also does some acting. She guest stars on the television show Zombie High as Zaronda, Princess of the Undead. Jake Ryan's character saves Zaronda from the portal to the underworld. Hannah later stars in her own feature film, Rob Reiner's Indiana Joannie and the Curse of the Golden Cobra, alongside Chace Crawford. Hannah also endorses perfume and skin care products.

As a well known celebrity, Hannah makes regular appearances on talk shows and attends extravagant parties. Despite being fictional, Hannah knows many real life celebrities, including some who are friends of Miley Cyrus, such as Taylor Swift and the Jonas Brothers


Miley has several reasons for creating Hannah. She is afraid that if the kids at school discover she is famous they won't treat her the same. While she enjoys the attention of her fame as Hannah, she equally enjoys the option of "stepping out" of her role. Miley also values her privacy and doesn't want fans or paparazzi photographers mobbing her when she goes out in public. In this way, Hannah Montana presents a unique inversion of typical celebrity experiences. While most celebrities become famous as themselves and later need disguises to not be noticed in public, Hannah Montana became famous while in disguise, and now has the freedom to be in public as herself.

As a secondary benefit, Miley also sometimes uses Hannah for specific purposes such as spying. She also uses Hannah in other ways. In "Money for Nothing, Guilt for Free," Hannah raises money for a school charity drive in which Miley is competing. In "Bye Bye, Ball," Hannah performs at a restaurant in order to get a baseball autographed for Jackson. And in "Ready, Set, Don't Drive," Hannah obtains a drivers license after Miley fails the test. Hannah also sometimes tries to use her dual personality as an excuse. For example, in "You Gotta Not Fight for Your Right to Party," Miley asks Robby to only ground Miley, not Hannah, because "Hannah didn't do anything wrong."

Beyond the show

Hannah Montana as a character has found fame beyond the television show, primarily as a recording artist and music performer. Three of the seven released soundtracks (Hannah Montana, Hannah Montana 2/Meet Miley Cyrus, and Hannah Montana: The Movie) topped the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. From October 2007 to January 2008, Miley Cyrus performed in a successful concert tour as Hannah Montana. The tour, called the Best of Both Worlds Tour, became a classic example of life imitating art as Hannah Montana's fictional popularity seen in the television show became a real-life fan base which bought out every concert. The popularity of Hannah Montana has also given Miley Cyrus the opportunity to become a pop star in her own right.

Hannah also appears in Hannah Montana: The Movie, the Hannah Montana book series, and two other Disney Channel shows in cameo appearances. The character appeared in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody episode "That's So Suite Life of Hannah Montana" along with Raven Baxter, and The Suite Life on Deck episode "Wizards on Deck With Hannah Montana" which also includes characters from Wizards of Waverly Place.

Miley's secret

Keeping Miley's secret involves a two sided effort. As Hannah, she must keep her fans unaware that she is really a normal kid, and as Miley, she must keep her friends unaware that she is really Hannah Montana. In interviews, Miley Cyrus spoke of the implausibility of being able to keep a secret such as Miley and her family do in the show in a world of intense media scrutiny. The show however, remains workable primarily based on suspension of disbelief.

In the show, three other people (Robby, Lilly, and Oliver) also wear disguises when around Hannah to prevent anyone from drawing a connection to Miley. Hannah also typically swaps limos as she leaves concert venues to keep the paparazzi from following her home. Miley must also rely on the silence of the people who know her secret. These include her family members, Robby, Jackson, Mammaw Ruthie, Aunt Dolly, Uncle Earl and Aunt Pearl, her cousin Luann, her friends Lilly Truscott and her mother, Oliver Oken and his mother, Jake Ryan, Farmine and Roxy, as well as Officer Diaria and his daughter Kelsey. (This group grows exponentially at the end of Hannah Montana: The Movie.) Hannah is also said to be one year older than Miley, another effort to unequate the two girls.

Despite these careful efforts, her father seems to enjoy writing Hannah songs which explicitly speak of her double life, such as "The Best of Both Worlds," "Just Like You," "The Other Side of Me," "Rock Star," "Old Blue Jeans," "Just a Girl," and "Supergirl". In frustration of this, Miley once complained "You might as well tattoo 'I'm really Miley Stewart' on my forehead!"

In Hannah Montana: The Movie, Hannah reveals herself as Miley during a concert in Tennessee, but her fans do not want her to stop being Hannah, and so promise to keep her secret. This event is actually mentioned in For a Little Bit during an argument between Miley and Jackson, meaning that the movie would fit right in the middle of season 3 as if it were a part of the season.


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