This past week was the 15th anniversary of the show that grabbed all our hearts and commemorated our childhood days: “Hannah Montana." The show premiered on Disney Channel back in 2006, starring Miley Cyrus, along with her father Billy Ray Cyrus, Emily Osment and Jason Earles, and ended its five-year run in 2011 with a heartfelt ending.
Cyrus played the young, stubborn, quirky Miley Stewart, who leads a double life as a high school student in Malibu, California and pop sensation Hannah Montana. The show follows our lovable protagonist Miley Stewart as she grows up, tackling friendships, career choices and love like any other ordinary confused teenager.
“Hannah Montana” wasn't only widely popular but a cultural moment, with its iconic soundtrack, costumes and staple southern phrases. The series even landed its own major motion picture film, “Hannah Montana: The Movie."
Child stars often develop a complicated relationship with their breakout roles. The world got to know Miley Stewart and her pop persona before they got to know Cyrus.
The singer has previously opened up about suffering an identity crisis while playing Hannah Montana as often as herself. She says she views the character as her alter-ego that made her special and valuable to audiences, but oftentimes, felt lost and empty without it.
Cyrus has definitely deviated from her Disney star persona in her music and expression, but as Hannah Montana once said, “You’ll always find your way back home."
In honor of 15 years since the show’s premiere, on March 24, Cyrus penned a poignant letter to Hannah, voicing love and gratitude for allowing her to realize her dreams and being her companion through everything.
“I couldn’t have imagined when taping myself singing 'I Love Rock N Roll' against a white wall in my mom’s friend’s kitchen in Nashville, (Tennessee) that the name typed in marquee style letters on the front of a first draft script would make my wildest dreams a reality," Cyrus wrote.
She goes on to describe how she experienced many firsts with Hannah Montana — like starting her period and falling in love — and how she built a family with her costars Osment, Earles and Mitchel Musso. Cyrus also reminisced about the emotional experience of filming the last episode of the show and leaving her iconic role, which she wrote is a “HUGE piece of me."
She explains how the series' finale episode was named after Hannah's last song, “Wherever I Go,” in which she promises that although this chapter of her life is ending, Hannah will be with her wherever she goes.
The star concludes the letter by thanking her cast members, crew, special guests and family for supporting her dreams, even if it meant moving halfway across the country.
“Not a day goes by (that) I forget where I came from,” she wrote. “A building in Burbank, California with a room full of people with the power to fulfill my destiny. And that they did. They gave me you. The greatest gift a girl could ask for. I love you Hannah Montana. Forever, Miley.”
This emotional tribute rendered many fans, including myself, in our feels. In a period when many of us are feeling nostalgic for simpler times and revisiting their childhood obsessions, this letter is especially timely.
We often cringe at our teenage years in retrospect, but it’s nice to see Cyrus validate both the good and bad of such a pivotal time in her life and career. Fans who've watched and idolized the show for years can rejoice and honor an indelible part of their childhood.
And the best part is, Hannah Montana herself has appeared on Twitter and is sending handwritten notes and bouquets to her former cast members and friends, including Selena Gomez, Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner.
If you wish to revisit the best of both worlds, “Hannah Montana” is streaming now on Disney+.