Miley Cyrus recalls criticism she faced in her 20s: 'I realize how harshly I was judged'
When Miley Cyrus looks back on her 20s — like that naked "Wrecking Ball" music video, twerking at the VMAs or her relationship with Liam Hemsworth, for starters — she really has no regrets. In a rare interview, the former Hannah Montana star said she's very at peace with her past.
"I carried some guilt and shame around myself for years because of how much controversy and upset I really caused," she recalled to British Vogue. "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, now 30, admitted some of those stunts were to shed her Disney persona.
"I was creating attention for myself because I was dividing myself from a character I had played. Anyone, when you're 20 or 21, you have more to prove. 'I'm not my parents.' 'I am who I am.'"
In case anyone needs a refresher about the kind of press coverage Cyrus faced a decade ago, the singer shared one example. A tabloid magazine ran a story about her acne with the headline "A Breakout Year!"
"Like who thought that I was not a person who would be hurt by that? Like I was clearly a 20-year-old girl. Sure, at 20 I was like every 20-year-old. You think you're grown, but now I'm like, 'Oh, no, I was fully a kid,'" she explained.
The "Party in the USA" singer noted how she hoped the British Vogue profile wouldn't turn into some cliché story about a famous woman's survival and triumph.
"One thing I wouldn't want this story to become is a complaint of being a woman in the industry. I don't need this to be a women's empowerment story," she explained. "I wear my empowerment at all times. I don't need to profess it."
Cyrus's work speaks for itself. The singer is enjoying one of her most successful years ever thanks to her hit single "Flowers." But for anyone hoping she'd spill about what, exactly, in the song was a reference to Hemsworth, whom she divorced in 2020, think again. The songwriter said her album Endless Summer Vacation isn't directly about her ex.
"I wouldn't erase my story or want it to be erased," she said of their 10-year relationship. "Having an interesting life makes for interesting storytelling."
But Cyrus is particular on the kind of storytelling she'll participate in... as one songwriter recently learned. She said someone recently came to her with a "standard f***ed up in the club track."
"I was like, '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 laughed. "It's not about being self-serious. I'm just evolved."