Born in Franklin, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville, Miley attended Heritage Middle School but she now has a private tutor. She grew up on her parents' farm in the backwoods of Nashville. Cyrus is the daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus and Leticia "Tish" Cyrus, and the granddaughter of the late Ron Cyrus and Ruth Ann Cyrus. She has two older half-brothers, Christopher Cody and Trace, an older half-sister, Brandi, a younger brother, Braison, and a younger sister, Noah Lindsey Cyrus, who is also an actress. She was named Destiny Hope because her parents thought that she would accomplish great things. Cyrus gained her nickname "Miley" because she kept smiling ("Smiley") as a youngster. In an interview with USA Today, Miley was quoted as saying her faith is "the main thing" and is why she works in Hollywood. When interviewed by Parade, she added that she attends church regularly with her family. She also has many pets, including horses, dogs, cats, fish and chickens.
Cyrus became interested in acting while on the set of her father's television series Doc, where she played the role of "Kylie". In 2003, she played "Young Ruthie" on Tim Burton's Big Fish and was credited as Destiny Cyrus. She was also featured in Rhonda Vincent's music video for "If Heartaches Have Wings", and appeared on Colgate Country Showdown with her father (who was hosting the television program).
Cyrus was only eleven years old when she originally auditioned for Disney for the part of the "best friend"; Disney Channel executives then judged her to be "too small." According to Disney Channel Executive Vice President Gary Marsh, Cyrus was chosen for Hannah Montana because of her energetic and lively performance and was seen as a person who "loves every minute of life," with the "everyday relatability of Hilary Duff and the stage presence of Shania Twain." She had spent several years attempting to get rid of her southern accent, but in the end Disney wanted her to revive it. Cyrus acts on the show (Hannah Montana) as the lead character Miley Stewart whose alter ego is the pop music sensation Hannah Montana, also fictional. The character Hannah Montana appears in real-life music as a fictional stage name for the actress on the show.
Cyrus's first guitar was a Daisy Rock Guitar — the Stardust Series Acoustic Electric Pink Sparkle, and was made a spokesperson for the company in 2004. It was given to her by her parents from her father's Country Music Television fan meet-and-greet, when she was twelve years old.
On June 22, 2006, a performance of a Hannah Montana concierto (featuring Cyrus as Hannah Montana) at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida was recorded for the Disney Channel. Cyrus is currently opening for The Cheetah Girls for 20 dates of their 39-city tour. Cyrus also acted in the Disney Channel Hannah Montana promotion, "Hannah Montana's Backstage Secrets", in which she acted as the fictional character Miley Stewart's alter ego Hannah Montana in a fictional interview set in the show's canon.
On October 24, 2006, Walt Disney Records released the Hannah Montana soundtrack to the Disney Channel Original Series Hannah Montana. The soundtrack included eight of the songs that Cyrus performed as Hannah Montana.
Cyrus also signed a four-album major record deal with Hollywood Records for own albums, and wrote or co-wrote all of the 12 songs on her upcoming album.
Cyrus is good friends with fellow Hannah Montana co-stars Emily Osment and Mitchel Musso, often texting and conference calling each other during busy days. Miley Cyrus also taught Emily Osment how to play the guitar and Osment taught Cyrus how to knit.
Cyrus performed as Hannah Montana at the Walt Disney Christmas Parade on December 25, 2006, singing "Rockin' around the Christmas Tree".
On Total Request Live (transmitted February 9, 2007), Cyrus announced that her album will be released in June 2007. She also stated that she would be touring that same fall.
On March 27, 2007, Cyrus did a signing for the release of the Hannah Montana DVD, at HMV record store in Oxford Street, London, England.
Twist magazine announced that Cyrus will have a brief cameo in High School Musical 2.