Nothing has ever been able to silence Miley Cyrus.
Except, you know, doctor's orders.
The "Nothing Breaks Like a Heart" singer underwent surgery on her vocal cords earlier this month and, not only did she have to take a break from singing, a few weeks of silence were prescribed to ensure her full recovery.
Coincidentally, what turned out to be an essential procedure to correct an issue that had gone undiagnosed for several years, found only when she was briefly hospitalized in October with tonsillitis, perhaps also served as a metaphorical equilibrium reboot, a chance for Cyrus to focus inward without the distraction of having to talk to people getting in the way.
And if there was ever a time when she could benefit from an imposed meditative state, it would be the end of this tumultuous, somewhat raucous and entirely transformative year.
Aside from the recent commentary from one of her former sisters-in-law, it's almost easy to forget that at this time last year, Cyrus was quietly planning to wed her longtime boyfriend, Liam Hemsworth, and that they did just that in December.
"10 years later," she wrote on Instagram, in reference to them having met a decade prior on the set of the coming-of-age romance The Last Song.
Now, less than one year later, the marriage is over, Hemsworth has filed divorce papers and Cyrus has a new boyfriend in her old friend Cody Simpson.
Inevitable skeptics aside, this is not the way most prognosticators were thinking this was going to go, considering how many years it took for Miley and Liam to tie the knot in the first place, their casual-sounding but committed approach to being together convincingly making it seem as if they had unlocked the secret to lasting happiness amid the usual shake-ups and breakups in their peer group.
But no, they ended up just being a couple of human beings, one of whom may have wanted a traditional marriage (like his two brothers have) more the other one did, who ended up on different pages.
"The reason that people get married sometimes can be old-fashioned, but I think the reason we got married isn't old-fashioned—I actually think it's kind of New Age," Cyrus told Vanity Fair early this year. "We're redefining, to be f--king frank, what it looks like for someone that's a queer person like myself to be in a hetero relationship."
"[Marriage] doesn't change the relationship, it's a more connected, deeper version of your relationship before you got married," Hemsworth told GQ Australia this summer. "But it's still the same thing." Besides, he joked, "I've been getting married for years now. We've been fake married about a billion times. I can't tell you how many calls and texts I've got over the last five years from best friends—even from my parents sometimes—they're like, 'Did you get married?'"
As it turned out, being real-married did ultimately change the dynamic of their relationship, in that they decided they didn't want to have one anymore.
Both Cyrus and Hemsworth revealed after saying their I-dos that the loss of their home in Malibu in the devastating Woolsey Fire last fall helped spur them on.
"When you experience what we experienced, together with someone, it is like glue," Cyrus also told Vanity Fair. "You're the only two people in the world who can understand."
Though they'd been engaged (for the second time) for several years, they hadn't been planning a wedding.
"Then just going through something this emotional with someone," Hemsworth told GQ, "it brings you closer and we felt like we'd lost a big part of our lives, so we wanted to make a new part of our lives. It was something really good coming out of a horrible situation. It was going to happen eventually, but I think this just sped it up a little bit."
Of course, there were plenty of skeptics left over from the days of the couple's breakup in 2013 after Cyrus' twerk-heard-round-the-world at the MTV Video Music Awards (which, considering the state of that world right now, seems downright quaint). So ensued the excitement of Miley's Bangerz phase, memorable in headline form largely for her dating both men and women, but also a time she spent ramping up her activism on behalf of homeless and at-risk youth and speaking out about acceptance and sexuality, using her platform to broaden minds.
But by the time 2015 turned into 2016, she and Hemsworth were back together, a re-engagement soon followed, and that had been the story ever since. Neither was in a rush to get married, but Hemsworth started wearing a ring in the summer of 2017 as a "promise" of their continued future together, a source explained at the time. "The only thing that is missing is the legal piece of paper... They are more focused on making their love as strong as possible."
When the home they'd shared for more than three years burned down, their love must have felt stronger than ever.
"I call him my survival partner now," Cyrus explained on The Howard Stern Show in December. "He thinks it's not romantic, but I learned that it is. It is why you pair up with someone is for survival. And he was so incredible, he got all the animals out in his truck. He put two pigs in crates, which I tell you is so hard."
Liam Hemsworth, cool in the face of looming disaster, rescuing animals, does sound fairly irresistible.
And so they got married in the backyard of their house in Franklin, Tenn., where they also lived to be closer to Miley's parents.
After the excitement over their surprise nuptials passed, however, so began the next phase of headlines, which variously had them expecting a baby, cheating on each other, or broken up.
In June, marking their 10th anniversary as a couple, Miley captioned a screengrab of a split rumor, "Happy 10 year anniversary my love. Good to see everyone is as dumb as they were in 2009! Some things never change .... & I hope the way you feel about me is one of them. Yours truly."
But two months later, they had separated and, two days after the news broke, Cyrus was in Italy on a romantic holiday with Brody Jenner's ex Kaitlynn Carter.
"This past July, I went on vacation with a female friend; the next thing I knew, I was in love with her," Carter wrote in an essay published by Elle earlier this month. "Until that trip, it had never crossed my mind that I was even capable of loving a woman the way I loved her. But after reflecting on my romantic history, I realized that I've never really had a 'type.'"
Type-less is certainly how Miley has chosen to roll.
She and Carter broke up in September and since then she's been dating Cody Simpson (well, maybe she has a thing for Australians) and he was by her side during her health woes. To be sure, they're already fielding split rumors—because, celebrities—but Simpson can't believe the fact that he's dating his teenage self's No. 1 crush (his song "Golden Thing" is a whole wave of emotion) and Cyrus is just trying to navigate the wilds of dating again after being with one person for so long.
Cyrus has been recuperating in Tennessee, where she also plans on spending Thanksgiving with her family, and Simpson, who's based in L.A., has been out to visit.
At the same time, "Miley always made it clear to Cody that she likes to have freedom and he always understood the dynamic of the relationship," an insider told E! News last week. "They have been friends for years and will always be, and are currently fine and on great terms."
So, as she celebrates her 27th birthday today, with the horizon looking a heck of a lot different than it appeared at this time last year, Miley is regaining her strength and making plans for the new year, including the eventual release of her next album and a subsequent tour.
As for the demise of her marriage, Cyrus never seemed all that in favor of settling down with all the trappings of domesticity for long—at least, not yet.
"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," she expounded in a Twitter thread a couple weeks after her split from Hemsworth was confirmed. "What I cannot accept is being told I'm lying to cover up a crime I haven't committed. I have nothing to hide."
Mainly, she insisted that any story that implied their marriage ended because of cheating was untrue.
"...the truth is, once Liam & I reconciled,I meant it, & I was committed," she tweeted. "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.
"BUT at this point I had to make a healthy decision for myself to leave a previous life behind. I am the healthiest and happiest I have been in a long time. You can say I am a twerking, pot smoking , foul mouthed hillbilly but I am not a liar. I am proud to say, I am simply in a different place from where i was when I was a younger."
And so the rebuilding continues, emotionally, spiritually, physically—and literally.
According to Radar Online, this summer Cyrus filed paperwork showing her intent to rebuild her Malibu home, the first step being to obtain a permit to excavate and drill on the lot where the $2.5 million house once stood.
It's not often that you get to say a new life is going to literally rise from the ashes, but in this case... that's just the kind of year Miley Cyrus has had.