It was dramatic enough for Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth to announce over the weekend that they were breaking up after just eight months of marriage and 10 years of being together in what’s been described as a sometimes “rocky” on-off relationship.
But in the aftermath of their announcement, there also has been more drama over photographs of the 26-year-old singer appearing to kiss reality TV star Kaitlynn Carter while lounging on a boat in Italy’s Lake Como. The photos sparked discussion about whether the women were having an affair, or just staging the kiss to troll their soon-to-be ex-husbands. (Carter had just announced her breakup from Brody Jenner).
The photos also served to remind fans that Cyrus has long been open about her sexuality, first telling Paper magazine in 2015 that she was pansexual, meaning that she was open to being in love or being attracted to people of different genders. Two months into her marriage to the 29-year-old Hemsworth, she was quoted in a Vanity Fair cover story saying that she viewed herself as a “queer person in a hetero relationship.”
“A big part of my pride and my identity is being a queer person,” Cyrus wrote in a ‘personal memo’ she shared with the magazine. “What I preach is: People fall in love with people, not gender, not looks, not whatever. What I’m in love with exists on almost a spiritual level. It has nothing to do with sexuality.”
In that journal like “memo,” Cyrus came across as sounding very sincere about wanting to figure herself out, and in wanting to figure herself out within an “old-fashioned” institution like marriage. People reported Tuesday that she had been “serious” about making her relationship with the Australian-born actor work, with a source saying she wanted to “go to therapy” with the ultimate goal of Cyrus wanting “to be in a healthy and focused place.”
But a look back at the memo Cyrus shared with Vanity Fair shows that she had conflicted views on marriage. She admitted that her small, surprise wedding in Nashville at the end of the year may not have happened were it not for the devastating loss the couple suffered in November.
That is when their $2.5 million home in Malibu was destroyed by the Woolsey Fire, which tore through the Los Angeles area in early November, burning 96,949 acres, destroying more than 1,600 other structures and killing three people in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
In its sweep through celebrity-studded Malibu, the fire also destroyed the homes of Neil Young and Gerard Butler.
Hemsworth, whom Cyrus had already begun calling her “survival partner,” was home when the fire began sweeping south towards Malibu. He managed to rescue their menagerie of horses, dogs, cats and pigs. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to save certain irreplaceable contents, including the notebook containing Cyrus’ original songs.
A month later, Cyrus traded in her “survival partner” for a “husband,” Vanity Fair noted.
A Cyrus “insider” told People that she took the fire “a lot harder than Liam did,” but that he helped her deal with their loss. His presence made her “excited” about being married and thinking it’s “what she wanted,” the insider said.
In the memo she shared with Vanity Fair, Cyrus described her relationship with Hemsworth as “very special to me, it is my home.”
At the same time, she wrote: “What Liam and I went through together changed us. I’m not sure without losing Malibu, we would’ve been ready to take this step or ever even gotten married, who can say?”
Cyrus insisted in her memo that “the timing felt right” to get married, “and I go with my heart.” But she also revealed an impulsive side, explaining that she tries to be “in the now” as much as possible because looking too far ahead makes her anxious.
Her memo suggested that she may have found a relationship involving long-term stability challenging because she admitted having difficulty not living in “extremes.”
“People like myself have a hard time comprehending a middle ground,” Cyrus wrote. “I thrive on extremes, but I am learning to live in that sometimes uncomfortable and itchy in-between. I want to live a long life full of love, music, and adventure. I believe balance will get me there. Balance and moderation. Which sometimes is like a foreign language to me. But I am practicing.”