Details About Billy Ray Cyrus' First Marriage To Cindy Smith

Country star Billy Ray Cyrus made headlines by marrying singer-songwriter Firerose in 2023, with the couple tying the knot after his publicized divorce from long-time partner Tish Cyrus. Billy Ray and Firerose's age gap is particularly eye-catching, as the Australian artist is 28 years younger than the "Achy Breaky Heart" singer and only 4 years older than his daughter Miley Cyrus.

Billy Ray's newfound relationship may be side-eye worthy, but it's not the first of his marriages to appear a bit messy. Back when he was still trying to make it big, the country musician was married to sales representative Cindy Smith. The two lovebirds tied the knot spontaneously after knowing each other for only a handful of months, sparking a whirlwind marriage that lasted from 1986 to 1991.

The country song opens up about his first marriage in his 2013 memoir "Hillbilly Heart," revealing that it was a messy affair filled with partying, drama, and infidelity. Even so, the relationship served as significant fodder for his music career, as he wrote "Wher'm I Gonna Live?" based on a marital spat with Smith, and even credited his first spouse on his song "Some Gave All."

Billy Ray Cyrus met his first wife, Cindy Smith, through his early gigs

Billy Ray Cyrus met his first wife Cindy Smith while playing gigs at an Irontown, Ohio bar as part of the band Sly Dog. In his memoir, he reveals that Smith caught his eye after becoming a regular at his shows. "The first night I remember seeing Cindy she was wearing a small halter top and very short shorts," he says. "With her sweet little face, greenish blue eyes, and that outfit, Cindy stood out among the crowd on the packed dance floor."

The "She's Not Cryin' Anymore" singer eventually asked Smith out to dinner, recalling that their early relationship was all drugs, alcohol, and lust. "I remember it being like a nonstop party," Cyrus writes. On one of their benders, Smith spontaneously suggested that they get hitched, an idea that the country star readily agreed to, adding that he'd play the Merle Haggard song "Roses in the Winter" to honor the occasion.

At the time of their unexpected nuptials, Cyrus and Smith had only known each other for about three months, with the Kentucky native revealing that he wasn't even certain of his new wife's maiden name at the time of their vows. While the beginning of their relationship was all fun and games, it was not smooth sailing all the way through.

Billy Ray Cyrus and Cindy Smith had a complicated marriage

In a 1992 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Billy Ray Cyrus credits his dedication to his rising career as a major factor in the downfall of his marriage to Cindy Smith. Smith became a major target of Cyrus' female fans, with some ardent admirers even setting fire to the woman's hair during a show. The musical artist also revealed that his chaotic schedule put pressure on his marriage, recalling the time that he arrived home late to find Smith throwing his belongings out on the front lawn, a fight that inspired the song "Wher'm I Gonna Live?"

Other than that, Cyrus and Smith's marriage also suffered from infidelity. Though the singer implied that his wife gave him the "okay" to fool around with the women who came to his shows, it still hurt their relationship. "The sanctity of our circle, if you will, was broken," Cyrus writes. "As a result, we'd have to deal with the hurt feelings and consequences of those entanglements."

Additionally, he also had a full-on love affair with the daughter of singer-songwriter Del Reeves, Kari Reeves. This passionate relationship is something that Kari opened up about in her book, "My Billy Ray Cyrus Story: Some Gave Too Much." Smith eventually filed for divorce, but the separation was an amicable one. As Cyrus told Entertainment Weekly in the year following their split, "We're really better friends now than ever."