Following a highly publicized celebrity breakup, few things are as exciting as a euphoric, summer-tinged album with suggestive lyrics that could be about said ex, primed for an onslaught of fans theories. Earlier this year, Miley Cyrus returned with her eighth studio album Endless Summer Vacation that, naturally, prompted fans to pick apart every track to find summer Instagram photo captions, impending viral sounds for TikTok videos, or any clues alluding to her breakup with ex-husband Liam Hemsworth. In a new interview with British Vogue, Cyrus set the record straight on fans’ speculation about her album’s subjects, and how she’s coped with being judged all her life.
Of the album’s 13 tracks, it was the lead single “Flowers,” that turned the rumor mill, with lyrics like “I can take myself dancing/And I can hold my own hand/I can love me better than you can,” seemingly nodding to Cyrus’ past relationship with Hemsworth. However, in her British Vogue cover story, the singer admitted that she would “never need to be a master at the craft of tricking an audience,” and even wrote alternative lyrics for the song but ultimately went with what felt right. That’s not to say the album is completely devoid of her thoughts on past romances; but rather than honing in on one specific relationship, the album is an amalgamation of different experiences.
“I wouldn’t erase my story or want it to be erased,” she said of her relationship with Hemsworth, which ended in divorce in 2020. Now, she’s dating Liily drummer Maxx Morando. Cyrus added of how her life experiences shape her songwriting, “Having an interesting life makes for interesting storytelling.”
Seldom will you find a star with a life as interesting as Cyrus’. The now 30-year-old cut her teeth as a teenage Disney Channel star before transforming into a fully-fledged pop singer. As her status grew, so did the criticism and judgment, which she now realizes was quite severe at her young age.
“I carried some guilt and shame around myself for years because of how much controversy and upset I really caused,” she said. “Now that I’m an adult, I realize how harshly I was judged. I was harshly judged as a child by adults and now, as an adult, I realize that I would never harshly judge a child.”
Cyrus is no longer the wild child she was once known as, and while Endless Summer Vacation is chock-full of bops, you won’t find Miley in the club. “I’m two years sober. That’s not where I spend my time, you know. You’re more likely to catch me and my friends literally walking through rose gardens or going to a museum,” she noted. “It’s not about being self-serious. I’m just evolved.”
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Nerisha is the beauty commerce editor at ELLE.com, covering all things beauty (and fashion and music). She has a penchant for sneakers and nude lip glosses, and spends way too much time re-watching 90s sitcoms.