It’s been about a decade since Miley Cyrus hung up her blonde wig, and the “Hannah Montana” star has gone on to achieve big, big things. Throughout her colossal career, the singer-actor has amassed an impressive $160 million estimated net worth, drastically out-earning her country star father, who also co-starred in her Disney Channel series. Cyrus even made chart history in 2021 after landing her 10th top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, and she’s now the “youngest female artist to have her top tens span across three decades,” according to Just Jared Jr.
It’s safe to say that Cyrus’ career has been extraordinarily long for someone who hasn’t even celebrated her 30th birthday. Though “Hannah Montana” undoubtedly kick-started her success, this multi-talented star isn’t the only one who rose to fame after appearing on the Disney Channel show. For years, Cyrus’ love life has been tabloid fodder — from her on-off relationship with Liam Hemsworth to her flings with Kaitlynn Carter and Cody Simpson — but most people forget that, back in the day, Hannah Montana had some adorable romances herself.
Today, these on-screen love interests are all grown up and have impressive careers (and families) of their own. Here’s what Hannah Montana’s boyfriends are up to now.
Then: Cody Linley's character, Jake Ryan, was the subject of a Hannah Montana love triangle
Cody Linley first appeared on “Hannah Montana” in 2006 as Jake Ryan, the eponymous pop star’s on-off love interest. His character was actually written into one of the more gripping plotlines — a teenage love triangle involving Miley Stewart (the Hannah Montana) and Jesse (played by Drew Roy). Of course, this played out through Disney Channel’s G-rated lens, so compared to Miley Cyrus’ controversial 2008 Vanity Fair portrait, it wasn’t even a blip on the map.
At the time, most fans had already seen the actor in “Cheaper by the Dozen,” but his recurring role on the Disney Channel series helped establish him as a household name among the Disney set (that, and his appearance on “Dancing With the Stars”). He also seemed to really enjoy filming the show. Years later, in an interview with Teen Vogue, the star waxed poetic about Cyrus’ 16th birthday party and that time Billy Ray Cyrus let him borrow his Range Rover (oops, he ran it up the curb). He also revealed that his on-screen kisses weren’t quite as romantic in real life.
“One funny memory happened behind the scenes when Miley and I would have a kissing scene.” Linley said. “The prop guy would hide a fart machine and at the end of kiss, he’d set it off, and every time, Miley would have to yell: ‘Larry!!!'”
Now: Cody Linley is a leading expert on shark-related weather emergencies
Cody Linely went from one beloved TV series to another beloved film series. Today, the star is best known as Matt Shepard in “Sharknado 5: Global Swarming” and “Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens.” Weirdly enough, his character in the disaster comedy isn’t much different from the character he played on “Hannah Montana.” In 2016, the star told Teen Vogue that Matt “parallels” Jake.
“I would say that my character on ‘Sharknado 4’ is a rebirth of Jake Ryan, they’re very similar,” he revealed. “I’m really excited for all the ‘Hannah Montana’ fans to see me this upcoming summer.”
Despite being part of major pop culture moments like “Hannah Montana” and “Sharknado,” Linley admittedly isn’t very hip on what the kids are doing these days — a known side effect of being in your thirties. As he told The Dallas Morning News, he must’ve been “living under a rock” because he hadn’t heard of “Sharknado” before his audition. Linley ended up binge-watching the series to catch up.
Then: Drew Roy's Jesse got the best of both worlds
Drew Roy played Jesse on “Hannah Montana” from 2009 to 2011. Though the character was a crucial part of Miley Stewart’s love triangle, Jesse actually served as an exercise in trust. Their relationship marked one of the few times she opened up her inner circle by revealing her true identity as a globally recognized superstar. He also seemed to be one of the few people not miraculously fooled by a blonde wig (i.e. he already figured it out and was just going along with it anyway).
“Been Here All Along” was a big episode not just because Miley bravely shared her secret, but also because Roy bravely shared his voice. In an interview with Shine On Media at the time, the actor admitted, “I don’t consider myself a singer, and in one of the past episodes, I had to do a little singing. So stay tuned, and you can judge me on that.”
During his “Hannah Montana” years, Roy also appeared in a couple of “iCarly” episodes, the Disney flick “Secretariat,” and the R-rated flop “Costa Rican Summer,” among others. So, where is he now?
Now: Drew Roy is hobbyist pilot and a doting father of two
Like many actors who came before him, Drew Roy saw the Disney Channel as a stepping stone. The same year that “Hannah Montana” wrapped, he’d already nabbed a starring role in the Emmy-nominated TNT series, “Falling Skies,” which ran for five seasons. In an interview with Media Mikes, the actor admitted that he was lucky to avoid the typecasting that typically plagues Disney Channel stars.
“I wouldn’t change a thing. Everything that has come along that has gotten me to this point I feel like happened for a reason,” Roy said, noting that his “iCarly” and “Hannah Montana” episodes were “huge hits” for the shows. “The whole Disney thing was great, but I feel I am very fortunate to jump into there … reap those benefits, and then be able to get out.”
Most recently, Roy reprised his “iCarly” role in the highly-anticipated Paramount+ reboot, but with just a single episode, it’s a flash in the pan. He seems to spend most of his time flying planes (he’s got a pilot’s license) and parenting his two children with wife Renee Roy. Yup, Jesse is a literal daddy.
Then: Lucas Till was Hannah Montana's dreamy cowboy, Travis Brody
Lucas Till’s character, Travis Brody (a.k.a. Miley Cyrus’ on-screen childhood friend and love interest), didn’t show up until “Hannah Montana: The Movie.” He serves as the source of Miley Stewart’s writer’s block, a dreamy distraction in a cowboy hat. Again, it’s another boyfriend that triggers Miley to reveal her secret, however indirectly. This time, it’s a public reveal set to the tune of “The Climb.” Cue: the tears and the Taylor Swift-penned banger, “You’ll Always Find Your Way Back Home” (fun fact: that same year, Till also appeared in Swift’s video for “You Belong With Me”).
Though the “Hannah Montana” movie demonstrates Till’s sheer star power, he initially felt like the role was a long shot. In 2009, he told MTV News that his “head was blown” when casting agents flew him out to Los Angeles to screen test with Cyrus. “The full week before I met her, I couldn’t really eat much,” he admitted. At the time, Till was just 18 years old — and things have certainly changed.
Now: Lucas Till is wreaking havoc in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
“Hannah Montana: The Movie” served as Lucas Till’s breakout role, and he managed to graduate to one of the most coveted gigs in Hollywood — a not-so-small part in a Marvel movie. Till debuted as Havok in 2011’s “X-Men: First Class,” reprising his role for both “X-Men: Days of the Future Past” and “X-Men: Apocalypse.” At the time of this writing, he has no plans to wreak havoc in further “X-Men” movies, but he’s thrilled with the prospect. “Hands down would love to,” he told Reel Talker in 2021, adding with a laugh, “But storytelling wise, I don’t know how that would work. I’m dead.”
Nonetheless, the actor has kept very busy since Marvel killed off his character. At the time of this writing, he just wrapped ABC’s Emmy-nominated “MacGyver” revival, where he held the titular role for five seasons. Considering the show’s cancellation was only announced in April 2021, his next steps aren’t clear, but they’re sure to be big.
Then: Corbin Bleu was balling with the Wildcats
Corbin Bleu is pretty much synonymous with “High School Musical,” but the star was also part of the original “Hannah Montana” cast. His character, Johnny Collins, is Miley Cyrus’ on-screen classmate in the 2006 pilot episode. Years later — after three successful “High School Musical” movies — his status was elevated to Cyrus’ on-screen crush in the episode, “We’re All on This Date Together.” See what they did with the title, there?
In his episode, Bleu isn’t the kind of baller that dribbles around the court, singing about getting his head in the game while inexplicably ignoring the game to focus on choreography. Instead, he’s the kind of baller who shells out $19,000 for a date with Hannah Montana — which he could’ve gotten for free, if only he wasn’t completely thrown by the blonde wig. Sadly, the year that episode aired marked the end of Chad Danforth (the “HSM” trilogy was complete) and the last appearance of Johnny Collins.
Today, the “If We Were a Movie” duet remains one of the most powerful guest star contributions in all of the “Hannah Montana” Cinematic Universe. So, where is he now?
Now: Corbin Bleu traded the basketball court for Broadway
2008 was a big year for Corbin Bleu. He graduated from East High, hung up his Wildcats jersey, and tried to shed his Disney Channel image. This was no easy task, but not for a lack of talent. In the years following his “Hannah Montana” cameo, the actor voiced a couple episodes of “Phineas and Ferb,” crashed and burned in the motocross film, “Free Style,” and flopped in the short-lived CW series, “The Beautiful Life.” According to the New York Daily News, what he thought was the start of something new was axed after just two episodes. Yikes!
Bleu didn’t find his footing until — in a move right out of the Sharpay Evans playbook — he set his sights on Broadway. In 2010, he made his debut with a 13-week run as the leading role in the Tony Award-winning musical, “In The Heights.” Today, you might recognize that title from the critically-acclaimed movie adaptation, which sees “Hamilton” actor Anthony Ramos (rather than Bleu) as Usnavi de la Vega. Since then, Bleu has steadily worked in the theatre world, appearing in productions of “Kiss Me, Kate,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Godspell,” and “Mamma Mia!”
Then: Jesse McCartney played himself on Hannah Montana
For some reason, the name Jesse McCartney lights the reward center of the brain in millennial Disney Channel fans. Perhaps it’s because we’ve briefly forgotten that he was part of the boy band, Dream Street, or maybe it’s the fact that Dream Street’s “It Happens Every Time” soundtracked every unrequited middle school crush in 2001. One of those unrequited crushes briefly belonged to Hannah Montana, herself.
McCartney was one of the few stars (along with the legendary Dolly Parton) who got to play themselves on the Disney Channel series, and his on-screen romance sent Miley Stewart into a full-on existential crisis. Seriously, she had a full on Ebenezer Scrooge moment and was forced to reckon with the veritable Ghost of Hannah Montana Present: What if Hannah Montana never happened?
Fortunately, we never got to live out that reality. Even Miley Cyrus revived her infamous “Hannah Montana” hairstyle in 2019 (though this time, it wasn’t a wig). As for McCartney, he’s still living out the best of both worlds.
Now: Jesse McCartney is still Jesse McCartney
In his thirties, Jesse McCartney has managed to maintain a quiet sort of fame. It’s both prolific and not in your face. He’s still making music. According to Life & Style, he even went on tour with the Backstreet Boys and Pauly D, which is just about as major as it gets in the world of pop music and reality TV stars-turned-DJs (Pauly D is, in fact, one of the world’s highest paid DJs). In 2021, the “Beautiful Soul” hitmaker singer released the new single, “Kiss the World Goodbye,” and scheduled a gig at the New York State Fair.
McCartney is also still acting — you just probably haven’t seen his face in a while. From 2010 to 2019, he voiced Nightwing in the Cartoon Network series, “Young Justice.” More recently, he appeared on “The Masked Singer” as the Turtle. He also starred alongside Diane Keaton in the 2020 multi-story rom-com, “Love, Weddings & Other Disasters,” but you might have missed it because of its abysmal 3% Rotten Tomatoes rating. At least he has his wedding to look forward to.
Then: Austin Butler's character, Derek Hanson, was Miley Stewart's worst date
Austin Butler holds a very special place in the “Hannah Montana” Cinematic Universe. Not only did his character, Derek Hanson, take Miley Stewart on the worst date of her life, but the actor himself also pulled the perfect Hannah Montana and played two different roles without anyone really noticing — how meta!
Butler first appeared in Season 1 in the uncredited role of Tony, and then returned in Season 2 as the loveable, mop-haired Derek in the episode, “My Best Friend’s Boyfriend.” This time, he did get a credit, but fans scratched their heads trying to figure out where they’d seen his face. The answer? Nickelodeon. The star was already a mainstay on the rival network, appearing in 41 episodes of “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide” as Zippy Brewster. Again, the role was uncredited.
However, the lack of credit didn’t seem to be a problem for Butler. In fact, he might have even liked the privacy. In an interview with Wonderland magazine, the actor revealed that in the beginning of his career, he was so shy he “could barely order food for [himself] at a restaurant.” Though acting helped him partially overcome it, he still got anxiety at awards shows and events. “You have to drag me out of the house to attend,” Butler said. So, where is he now?
Now: Austin Butler ditched the blond hair for Elvis
Austin Butler is uncredited no more. In fact, the star has had a uniquely prolific career for someone barely rounding out age 30. Following his appearance on “Hannah Montana,” the actor landed a gig on “Zoey 101.” The series seemingly marked the beginning and end of Jamie Lynn Spears’ TV career (however unfair it was that a teen pregnancy turned into a tabloid scandal) — but it also proved to be Butler’s breakout.
Since then, the actor has starred in numerous series, including ABC Family’s “Ruby & The Rockits,” The CW’s “Life Unexpected,” and Freeform’s “Switched at Birth.” Most notably, he served as Carrie Bradshaw’s love interest in the criminally underrated “Sex & the City” prequel, “The Carrie Diaries,” but his career hasn’t been limited to the small screen. Butler appeared opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Quentin Tarentino’s Oscar-winning blockbuster, “Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood,” and these days, he’s traded his blond locks for a darker shade to portray Elvis Presley in an untitled biopic starring Tom Hanks.
Unlike Butler’s “Hannah Montana” character, he also appears to be somewhat lucky in love. He did, after all, date fellow Disney Channel star Vanessa Hudgens for nine years until the pair split in 2020.
Then: Moises Arias was putting on the moves as Rico Suave
Rico Suave wasn’t exactly one of Hannah Montana’s love interests, but you have to give him credit for trying. As the lovesick hustler, Moises Arias gave one of the show’s most memorable performances. Sure, his job as the manager of a beachside concession stand would probably have broken several child labor laws if it existed in real life, but no other character managed to flip from beloved antagonist to even more beloved protagonist. It was a surprising amount of depth for a network typically regarded for slapstick comedy.
Throughout it all, Rico’s crush on Miley Stewart was unwavering. It was an uncharacteristic level of loyalty for a character who always seemed to be working some sort of angle, and he was one of the few main characters who didn’t know Miley’s secret.
Needless to say, it didn’t take long for Arias to become a Disney Channel regular. During his “Hannah Montana” tenure, he also appeared in episodes of “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody,” “Wizards of Waverly Place,” and “Phineas and Ferb,” as well as the Disney Channel original movie, “Perfect Game.” His next feat? Making a break from the network.
Now: Moises Arias went from the Disney Channel to Sundance
Most people with a cable subscription still recognize Moises Arias as that kid from the Disney Channel. In spite of it, he’s managed to establish himself as an adult actor. All it took was a classic coming of age film to help the actor come of age in the eyes of longtime fans — and an internet scandal.
Following his stint on “Hannah Montana,” Arias starred in the 2013 indie dramedy, “The Kings of Summer.” With a favorable 76% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the former child star unequivocally proved his versatility. The following year, he was met with criticism after posing shirtless in a photo alongside a 13-year-old Willow Smith, which triggered a CPS investigation. In episode of Red Table Talk (via Paper), Jada Pinked Smith criticized the media for sexualizing the image. “The boys basically lived with us, so they’re like her brothers,” she said. “These boys are always in this house with their shirts off.”
Today, Arias is a certified Sundance darling. He breezes through comedies like “Pitch Perfect 3” as seamlessly as he delivers a gritty portrayal of a Colombian immigrant in “Blast Beat.” By the time he starred alongside Pete Davidson in 2020’s “The King of Staten Island,” Rico Suave was already a memory of a past life.
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