How Aly & AJ Almost Nabbed Starring Roles on Hannah Montana

Amanda Joy Michalka, one-half of Aly & AJ, revealed how she and her sister Aly Michalka almost got Miley Cyrus and Emily Osment's iconic roles on Disney Channel's Hannah Montana .

By Charlotte Walsh Aug 23, 2022 5:12 PMTags
Watch: Miley Cyrus Landed Hannah Montana Over THESE Child Stars

Aly & AJ will always be Cow Belles, but they almost were the belles of Malibu. 

Amanda Joy "AJ" Michalka, one-half of the musical duo who rose to prominence on the Disney Channel, revealed that she and her sister Aly Michalka almost had starring roles on Hannah Montana. The news comes just days after Hannah Montana casting director Lisa London shared that two actresses, Gossip Girl regular Taylor Momsen and Victorious star Daniella Monet, nearly got the titular role over the show's eventual lead Miley Cyrus.

But now, AJ says that sister Aly nearly got the wig herself.  

"I adore Lisa London but I have some tea beyond the tea to spill," AJ wrote on the duo's joint Twitter account on August 21. "Gary Marsh originally offered the role of 'Hannah Montana' to Aly and I was offered the role of 'Lilly Truscott.'" Marsh was the Disney Channel president for 33 years, before stepping down in 2021. The role of Lilly Truscott, Miley's best friend, was eventually played by Emily Osment.

AJ continued, "(I know this so doesn't matter but thought I'd chime in)."

Before the Hannah Montana auditions, Aly played best friend and eventual love interest Keely Teslow on Phil of the Future. Both sisters starred as spoiled rich kids-turned-farmers in the 2006 Disney Channel Original Movie, Cow Belles. Maybe in an alternate universe, we'd get the best of both worlds. 

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In 2021, sister Aly reiterated the sentiment on the podcast Between Cut and Action. "I at least know that I was the first [person offered the role] because I was attached to a show that was already on the channel and was just ending," she said. "Once I passed, they came back one more time and were like, 'Are you sure? Because we're going to the next person and offer it to another couple people.'"

"I remember being so sure about saying no," she added. "I was just like, 'I don't want to do this. I don't want to do a show about singing. I don't want to do a show where I play two people ... I'm a solo artist, but in my real life I'm actually a duo with my sister. I think this is going to be insanely confusing for people.'"

On the podcast, Aly added that, by the time she was offered the role of Hannah Montana, she was "growing out" of Disney.

Now, Aly & AJ are promoting their 2021 album, A Touch of the Beat Gets You Up On Your Feet Gets You Out and Then Into The Sun, on tour. 


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