Before she was Hannah Montana, before she twerked her way to national headlines, and long before she sent a homeless man onstage to accept her 2014 MTV VMA award, Miley Cyrus made her first-ever TV appearance as an adorable toddler, introducing viewers to her boyfriend, “Willie Nelson.”
In 1994, just two years after sending the nation into a line-dancing panic with the pop-country smash, “Achy Breaky Heart,” Miley’s dad, Billy Ray Cyrus (still rocking that magnificent mullet), was a guest on the Nashville Network’s Music City Tonight talk show. In mid-interview with hosts Lorianne Crook and Charlie Chase, Billy Ray talks about marriage and family and, almost as if on cue, is interrupted by then-2-year-old Miley, who is attempting to push a baby carriage up the steps to the stage to get to her daddy. Cute, right? Well, it all gets even cuter… and just a little bit creepy.
Inside the baby carriage, Billy Ray reveals, is Miley’s “boyfriend,” a crudely carved wooden Willie Nelson doll, complete with flattop guitar. Billy Ray explains that while the doll was intended as Christmas gift for his mother, once Miley spotted it she dumped her “crybaby” doll and placed Willie in the “buggy” (that’s Kentucky-speak for carriage), rarely letting the doll out of her sight. He also notes that anytime she sees Willie on TV, Miley stops what she’s doing and covers the screen in kisses.
Coached by her daddy, the little Willie fan also says “coffee,” and rolls her eyes for the camera. “This is very dangerous,” warns Crook prophetically, with Miley seated on her lap. “You’re teaching her to flirt at a very early age.”