Billy Ray Cyrus Revealed How Keith Whitley Saved His Life

Billy Ray Cyrus Revealed How Keith Whitley Saved His Life
Photo: Bobby Bones/ Youtube

Billy Ray Cyrus emerged as one of the prominent country music stars in the ’90s, captivating audiences with hits like “Achy Breaky Heart” and “Some Gave All.” Despite his widespread popularity, Cyrus revealed a less glamorous side of his celebrity in a recent podcast interview with Bobby Bones, shedding light on his struggles with addiction during the early stages of his career.

In what he believes might be his first public acknowledgment of the issue, Cyrus opened up about the challenges he faced while writing some of his most successful songs. The source of these creative highs was, unfortunately, rooted in intense personal battles, primarily involving excessive alcohol consumption.

Reflecting on that tumultuous period, Cyrus admitted, “I think it was an excess of alcohol. There was probably some…I hate to even say it…It was a pretty rough time. Excessive alcohol. I’ll just leave it at that.”

Bobby questioned whether Cyrus recognized the severity of his drinking problem or if it was merely a consequence of a wild lifestyle. Cyrus explained that, for him, it was a part of the job. He had a self-imposed rule to perform the first set sober, introducing a break where he might indulge in a bit and acknowledging that the initial set was usually the best. However, as the night progressed, so did his indulgences.

“By the fourth set I was legally drunk,” Cyrus admitted, revealing the escalating pattern of his struggles.

The singer also disclosed the profound impact of Keith Whitley’s untimely death in 1989 on his life. Sharing a manager with Whitley, Cyrus recounted the day he drove to Nashville for a meeting at Sony Records, only to find out that the meeting was canceled due to Whitley’s death from alcohol poisoning.


The tragedy prompted Cyrus to reassess his own path. In 1991, realizing he was on the brink of success, he stopped at a bridge, threw all his vices into the river, and declared, “I can’t do this and not be at my very best. I’ve worked too hard.”

When Bobby Bones pressed for details on what he discarded, Cyrus confessed, “I pulled over and threw my cocaine out.”

Cyrus emphasized that he quit alcohol and cocaine abruptly that day and hasn’t consumed alcohol since. However, he admitted to occasionally allowing himself “a little puff” of marijuana, considering it as a form of medicine.

Billy Ray Cyrus not only quit alcohol and cocaine but actively distances himself from them, emphasizing, “I don’t ever want to be tempted by it because it never goes away.”

You can listen to the complete interview with Bobby Bones and Billy Ray Cyrus below.

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>>READ ALSO: Dolly Parton Reveals That There’s Just one Thing That Might Lead Her to Retire


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