Everything Miley Cyrus Has Revealed About Her Relationship With Liam Hemsworth Since Their Shocking Split

Two years ago, the longtime couple surprised everyone by actually getting married. And while their union was brief, Miley Cyrus has had a lot of feelings to unpack and personal growth to explore.

By Natalie Finn Dec 23, 2020 11:00 AMTags
Watch: Miley Cyrus Talks Divorce From Liam Hemsworth & Sobriety

At this point, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth have been not married to each other for a greater amount of time than they spent as husband and wife.

But even though their legal union was brief, lasting barely eight months after they tied the knot on Dec. 23, 2018, their relationship was long, consuming the better part of 10 years. And though they'd broken up and reunited before, there was a finality to this split, on paper and off. There was the sense of a real ending for the untraditional and relatively undramatic (when together) couple, who always seemed to know what they were doing and why, even if most of their admirers didn't exactly get it.

Hence there being a lot to unpack for Miley since the split. The 28-year-old showbiz veteran spent almost the entirety of her adult life with Liam, after all, and despite the year and a half they spent apart while the "Can't Be Tamed" singer tried grown-up pop stardom on for size, he was what she knew of love and serious commitment.

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Miley Cyrus Through the Years

So though the Miley-and-Liam era is over, fans understandably have been curious about why marriage wasn't for her after she spent a total of six years engaged to the Australian actor. 

Luckily, since she's been busy making music, utilizing her pandemic time by performing backyard shows, hosting her uplifting Instagram Live series Bright Minded, collaborating with the likes of Dua Lipa, and putting the finishing touches on her latest album, Plastic Hearts, there have been quite a few opportunities to pick her brain lately about whatever's been on her mind.

Which, as always, has been a lot, and true to form Miley has had a bit to say about her decade-long relationship with Liam and its ultimate demise, tracing their trajectory in hindsight as she's continued to come into her own.

Billboard

"In early 2018, I was playing house, which felt really good at the time," she shared with Rolling Stone in a recent interview. "Now I have this healthy perspective that I didn't have before. I learned a lot about what I can and cannot be for someone else and what I can and cannot accept for myself."

Here are her biggest revelations and herself and Liam since the split:

A Series of Firsts

Miley has noted the irony of critics who thinks she's too out there and provocative with the reality: that she married her first love (and first other stuff) after a very long engagement.

"I didn't go all the way with a dude...I was 16," she said on the Aug. 13 episode of Barstool Sports' Call Your Daddy podcast, reflecting on her first hook-up. "I ended up marrying the guy, so that's pretty crazy." 

Asked to confirm that the guy she married was the first guy she hooked up with, Miley admitted, "Yeah, which I lied and said that he wasn't the first, so I didn't seem like a loser."

Smile Because It Happened

In a montage showing her highlights from the past decade that Miley posted on Jan. 1 to kick off 2020, it was only natural to begin with scenes from 2010—and that included a quick snippet of Liam in the film they fell in love while making, The Last Song, which came out that March.

No hard feelings, it's pop culture history.

Marriage as Life Preserver

After years of proving they were in no rush to get married, Miley and Liam surprised everyone by actually saying "I do" on Dec. 23, 2018, about six weeks after their Malibu home burned down amid a surge of wild fires in Southern California.

The fire "removed me from what no longer was serving its purpose," Miley reflected to Rolling Stone. "And then as you drown, you reach for that lifesaver and you want to save yourself. I think that's really what, ultimately, getting married was for me. One last attempt to save myself."

Similarly, she told Howard Stern in a Dec. 2 interview about how she went from losing a houseful of possessions to gaining a husband, "Me being an intense person and not wanting to sit with it and not wanting to go, you know, 'What could be purposeful about this?' I just clung to what I had left of that house, which was me and him. And I really do and did love him very, very, very much and still do, always will."

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Miley wrote the breakup dirge "Slide Away" at the Malibu house, before the relationship actually ended, but in hindsight she couldn't really tell whether the chicken or the egg came first.

"Does art imitate life or life imitate art? Or do you speak it into existence?" she wondered to RS. "Am I that powerful that when I write something, I become it?"

She continued, "I think of making music sometimes as a sacrifice because you end up writing songs that can hurt people, that can hurt one person but make you feel less alone. It's like, is it worth it? Is it worth writing music that's so honest? Dolly [Parton, her godmother] said there's two sides to every story. When you're telling your side of the story, is it fair? You don't make songs to hurt somebody, but they do. Songs like 'Angels Like You,' it's not easy for someone to listen to when they know it's about them. 'You're going to wish we never met on the day I leave.' Music can be a sacrifice."

Self-Deprecation FTW

Miley's sense of humor remained intact, such as when she came across a TikTok video featuring a couple kissing and dancing to "Plastic Hearts," the pair vowing on their post, "if miley cyrus comments we will get married."

TBD, but Miley did leave a comment, writing, "Hope it goes better for you two than it did for me. Congrats."

Trouble in Paradise

Despite the constant vibe that Miley and Liam did not have one of those dramatic relationships behind the scenes, toward the end at least it became more apparent that they weren't meant to be together forever after all.

There was "too much conflict" eventually, she said on The Howard Stern Show. "When I come home, I want to be anchored by someone. I don't get off on drama or fighting."

Playing House Didn't Feel Like Home

"A couple of years ago, it looked like I was living some fairy tale. It really wasn't," the "Midnight Sky" singer told Rolling Stone in November 2020 of what turned out to be the tail end of her relationship with Liam. "At that time, my experimentation with drugs and booze and the circle of people around me was not fulfilling or sustainable or ever going to get me to my fullest potential and purpose."

Miley acknowledged the old assumption that someone's life is going great so long as they're in a happy-looking relationship. "'She's got a man. She's living in a house playing wife,'" she mock-quoted her observers. "Dude, I was way more off my path at that time than any of the times before where my sanity was being questioned. I don't like ever saying anything in a very solid concrete way, but right now I have been focusing on sobriety as I wanted to wake up 100 percent, 100 percent of the time. If I've ever learned to balance myself and to not take it too far, I would. But so far any time I've messed with that, it hasn't gotten me what I want."

She Didn't Run Out of Kleenex

"In a way, I didn't spend too much time crying over it, and it wasn't because I was cold or trying to avoid feeling something, but it was just because it wasn't going to change it," Miley said of the aftermath of her divorce in a remote Nov. 2 appearance on the Scandinavian show Skavlan. "I tried to just continue to be active in what I can control, otherwise you just start feeling like you're trapped."

And just as women tend to be left with the accusatory question marks over their heads when they don't appear interested in sticking with something forever, so too, Miley believes, is there judgment when a gal isn't demonstrably devastated by the end of a relationship.

"I would say that there's a stigma of coldness for a woman who actually, really moves on," she observed. Miley, who had already embarked on a whirlwind romance with Brody Jenner's ex Kaitlynn Carter as the news of her and Liam's split broke and then proceeded to date Cody Simpson for 10 months, has acknowledged that romance has had its difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic, but she's been up for it.

"I heal through traveling and meeting new people," Miley explained on Skavlan. "As you lose one person, another person comes into your life."

She Could Take It or Leave It—and Would Rather Leave It

Experiencing a trauma like that fire really did give her the nudge she needed in the direction of marriage, because otherwise, Miley was pretty meh on the subject of settling down.

"Not really, I never really cared that much," she said in August on SiriusXM's The Morning Mash-Up when asked if she herself getting married again or having kids one day. "I am sure that my fans are going to pull up me at 12 saying, 'Oh I want to have kids,' but like I don't, as a 27-year-old woman that would have a little bit more of a realistic idea of what they want. That has never been kind of my priority."

When She's In It, She's In It

There's a difference between doing whatever the hell you want when you're single and when you're in a relationship, and Miley is only a practitioner of the former—despite what some people may think.

"I can accept that the life I've chosen means I must live completely open and transparent with my fans who I love, and the public, 100% of the time," Miley tweeted Aug. 22, 2019, to nip speculation that she'd cheated on Liam in the bud. "What I cannot accept is being told I'm lying to cover up a crime I haven't committed. I have nothing to hide."

Yes, her behavior seemed wild at times, and sometimes it really was. "But the truth is," she insisted, "once Liam and I reconciled, I meant it, and I was committed. There are NO secrets to uncover here. I've learned from every experience in my life. I'm not perfect, I don't want to be, it's boring. I've grown up in front of you, but the bottom line is, I HAVE GROWN UP. I can admit to a lot of things but I refuse to admit that my marriage ended because of cheating. Liam and I have been together for a decade. I've said it before & it remains true, I love Liam and always will." 

Recognizing Her Codependency

While she admittedly enjoys dating and other romantic entanglements, Miley intended for her marriage to be her last stop on the always-need-to-be-with-someone train.

In a delightfully outspoken sit-down on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast released Sept. 2, she acknowledged her "tendency to to need someone in my life at all times." Referring to Liam, she explained, "I called the love of mine, who I was with and we got divorced, it was almost like a pacifier. Like, he was that thing I just needed."

Miley's Method

Miley said on the Call Your Daddy podcast that, frankly, she was a logical person more prone to stoically analyze what went wrong in a situation than freak out about it. Which, she acknowledged, isn't necessarily something you can tell about her just by looking.

"I had a very, very public, very big breakup that was over a 10-year span of a relationship," she explained. "Sitting with me now, I would hope you find me to be somewhat this way—which is not the public perception—is I'm very logical. I'm very organized and very kind of center. And so, I love lists. Lists keep my whole f--king world on track."

Relationship postmortems are no different.

"And so, with heartbreak, I tried to not get lost in the emotion," Miley continued. The end of a relationship can be a devastating loss, but "to not get lost in emotion, to focus on the logic, is to make a list of what you were gaining and what you were losing, what they were contributing to your life and what they were subtracting and to value each of these things by one through 10, and then you add them all up.

"And if the person was adding more to your life, then you know what is expected for your next relationship and, what they were subtracting, you know what you will not accept ever again."

Self-Explanatory

The girl had "freedom" tattooed across her right knuckles, for Pete's sake. 'Nuff said.

(Though she did elaborate, telling Apple Music's Zane Lowe in August 2020, " I just feel this sense of freedom, and I think that's a word I've probably used pretty consistently.")

And at the end of the day, Miley remains the picture of keeping calm and carrying on.

"You just definitely want to feel like you are just in control of your own life and not trying to control anyone else's," she reflected in August on SiriusXM's The Morning Mash-Up. "So for me to be able to really have a good, clear understanding of the last two years, which there was some traumatic experiences—losing the house in Malibu and going through a really public breakup — I think I just really needed some clarity. And so it was just really important to me to be able to like really sit with my thoughts."

And it's always enlightening when she lets us in on what she's thinking from time to time.

 

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