Life hit Miley Cyrus like a wrecking ball.
The 24-year-old songstress has proven herself to be quite the chameleon over the years, transforming her persona from Hannah Montana to a nonstop twerker who wore a lot of nipple pasties. She made no secret of her penchant for smoking weed, talking about it and even lighting up at an award show. But as she tells Billboard, those days are behind her.
"This is crazy," she tells the magazine, "but I haven't smoked weed in three weeks!"
Miley's idea to "quit" smoking stemmed from her desires to change. "I like to surround myself with people that make me want to get better, more evolved, open," she explains, "and I was noticing, it's not the people that are stoned. I want to be super clear and sharp, because I know exactly where I want to be."
Part of where Miley wants to be is in her recording studio, where she has been secretly working on an untitled new album. Her first single, "Malibu," is about her relationship with fiancé Liam Hemsworth. "They're going to talk about me if I come out of a restaurant with Liam," she says. "So why not put the power back in my relationship and say, 'This is how I feel'?"
Their reconciliation comes after their famous split in 2013. At the time, Miley said she was working too hard to focus on their broken engagement, but she tells Billboard that it was for the best because it made them a better pairing now.
"...'cause I needed to change so much. And changing with someone else not changing like that is too hard," she says. "Suddenly you're like, 'I don't recognize you anymore.' We had to re-fall for each other."
The "Adore You" singer's evolutions over the years have given her clarity. While she doesn't regret any of what she's done in the past—nipple pasties and foam fingers included—she does admit those wild years are behind her. Living a sober life also has helped her find happiness.
"I haven't smoked weed in three weeks, which is the longest I've ever [gone without it]. I'm not doing drugs, I'm not drinking, I'm completely clean right now! That was just something that I wanted to do," she shares.
Asked if it was hard to give up, Miley admits, "It's easy...When I want something, it's f--king easy for me. But if anyone told me not to smoke, I would have not done it. It's because it was on my time."
She continues, "I know exactly where I am right now. I know what I want this record to be. And not in the sense of manipulation—wanting something from my fans or the audience, like some slimy thing —'How do I get attention?' I never thought about that."
Her most attention-grabbing performance to date was probably her 2013 MTV Video Music Awards performance with Robin Thicke. She still doesn't understand how or why it garnered so many headlines.
"I was shocked that people gave a f--k about the [MTV Video Music Awards]—the twerking, the teddy bear," she recalls. "It's a totally different time, and I don't think that would freak people out anymore."
Once her untitled album drops, fans will hear and understand Miley's transformation.