People: Miley Cyrus ‘went through a lot of soul-searching as she grew up’

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I was somewhat surprised that Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth really did get full-on married over the holidays. It felt like they were off-and-on more than they actually were, and it always felt like Miley felt the need to change a lot about herself to make Liam happy. But they were together for about a decade (with at least one significant breakup) before they got married, and I think most people wished them well. People Magazine’s cover story this week totally whitewashes the problems they did have though, perhaps to paint them in some sort of star-crossed lovers in the vein of Romeo and Juliet.

Their new marriage is a dream come true for Miley Cyrus, 26, who was heartbroken after her 2013 split from the Australian actor, 28.

“Miley and Liam’s relationship has evolved so beautifully over the past few years. They first grew as individuals and ultimately evolved as a couple,” a friend of the Voice coach tells PEOPLE exclusively. “It speaks to who they are and their mutual respect for one another.”

“Miley went through a lot of soul-searching as she grew up and became her own person,” says a music source about the former Hannah Montana star, who got engaged to Hemsworth for the first time at just 19 years old. Adds another insider: “Miley had trust issues and Liam felt she was needy. After years, they finally figured out ways to meet halfway and respectfully deal with each other’s differences.”

Despite being “madly in love,” the young entertainers were often forced apart by their booming careers while also trying to figure out what they wanted personally and professionally. “When they got engaged the first time, they were just kids. There was no way they were ready for that kind of commitment,” says a source in Cyrus’ circle. “When the Disney-era of her life was over, Miley was a bit lost and wanted to break out of that image. Liam’s career was also blowing up with Hunger Games, and they were being pulled a million different ways. He didn’t know how to handle the attention and drama.”

After calling off their engagement both stars went on to date other people during their time apart, but Hemsworth always remained “special” to the singer. “Most couples that start dating young split up and never speak again. Miley and Liam were always different,” says the insider. “She would often talk about Liam even though she was dating other people. When they eventually got back together in 2015, it seemed meant to be.”

[From People]

Yeah, I remember the “Wrecking Ball” phase of her career, when Miley pretended to be “ratchet” (her words) and Liam was like “I don’t know her.” I get that people change and evolve and everyone should be given the space to grow up. Miley had a lot of growing up to do, and I’m glad that she did the work. But I still feel like she did a 180 on her “appropriating black culture” brand mostly because she got back with Liam. Are they soulmates? Or is this just the latest version/brand of Miley, and she’ll outgrow and shed this skin too?

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Cover courtesy of People, additional photos courtesy of Miley’s social media.

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37 Responses to “People: Miley Cyrus ‘went through a lot of soul-searching as she grew up’”

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  1. LORENA says:

    Maybe she finally realized she looked like a fool? Liam was no angel tho as he definitely cheated on her
    I do however think they have grown and will have a successful marriage. Shit happens and no relationship is perfect

    • Kebbie says:

      I’ve seen comments like this since they got married. Who did he cheat with? I don’t remember that but I didn’t really follow it closely.

  2. Seraphina says:

    Do we ever “grow up”. I believe we mature in different ways. Not the same peraon i was 10 years ago.

    • Thirsty Hirsty says:

      @Seraphina EXACTLY!! We’ve all got stupid stuff in our way back when’s………and we must start accepting that people DO grow and change. Even language changes ~ I remember when the word gay meant filled with joie de vivre, and I remember when a fag was a cigarette, and when ‘knock me up’ meant knocking on someone’s door. I remember when I thought sex WAS love. We evolve as we mature and our perspective changes as our experiences grow our wisdom. So we need to give everyone a bit of grace…..

  3. Lucy says:

    I think part of the reason why they decided to get married has to do with the loss of their home. Obviously they’ll have no problem getting back on their feet, money-wise. However, I can’t imagine that made it was any less traumatic.

  4. Rescue Cat says:

    Her performance with Robin Thicke will never stop being funny. 😅

  5. Parigo says:

    I don’t believe in soul mates, I think it’s all about wanting the same things at the same time. Miley’s wild oat sowing was a lot more public than Liam’s, but I think he definitely got around… Now they’re both ready for a new chapter and losing their home probably cemented their commitment even further.

    • Nikki says:

      Yes, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I don’t think there is such a thing as ‘soul-mates’…I do believe that you can fall in love with different people through different times in your life. And you should. People can teach you a lot. Ultimately, you end up with someone who wants the same things in life as you…and you fall in love, and work on it.

  6. STRIPE says:

    I don’t think she changed just because of Liam. I believe her Disney phase of life was so tightly controlled that when it was over she just went all the way to the opposite end of the spectrum to break out of it. She needed to act out to feel in control of her life and image. She’s probably found a place in the middle that fits her now.

    • Alissa says:

      I agree. Miley has more or less said that a few times. she did post a photo on New Year’s with a quirky onesie and basically said find someone who can do both, this is still a part of me. I don’t think she necessarily changed for Liam, I think they needed some time apart to make sure that they were right for each other and figure out who they were. I think they’ve settled into a pretty good understanding of each other.

    • otaku fairy says:

      Agreed. She admitted herself that a lot of that was a deliberate rebellion against the years of victim-blaming, slut-shaming, and toxic messages about female purity and modesty she experienced as a teen Disney star.
      Unfortunately, she wasn’t the only young female starlet to be treated that way and definitely hasn’t been the last. Most young girls who are in the public eye end up with people projecting their misogyny, boys-will-be-boys mentalities, and problematic views about female sexual morality on to them in some way. That doesn’t even include some of the nasty, violating rumors people feel free to spread about different ones. Collectively, women and girls are treated like garbage. It’s sad that these behaviors don’t just come from conservatives and self-proclaimed antifeminists- which would be bad enough- and on top of that, people minimize misogynistic abuse by deciding for other women what is and is not empowering for THEM.
      On top of all that, multiple women who have grown up in the entertainment industry have even spoken out on dangerous impacts this treatment has had on either their own mental health, or on the mental health of other women they know about. Their stories line up with things psychologists and activists have been discovering about the effects of slut-shaming and victim-blaming on women. #MisogynyKills

      • entine says:

        her hungry-thirsty family did not help either. I remember her sisters being peddled as the next big thing, being propelled on her coattails, even her brother/s?

    • Its Ok says:

      yeah, I don’t think that phase was authentically Miley. I think she was working through some stuff that had built up and she realized that that persona wasn’t really her. I don’t think she made any major changes for Liam. She just grew up and became more secure being herself. I hate how they describe her as having trust issues though. I would have trust issues with someone who cheated on me too. God forbid his image be tarnished by his actions.

  7. YesImHere says:

    The divorce is going to be very interesting.

    • Jane says:

      Agreed. I also do not think this marriage will last long. I find it exceedingly hard to believe she has let go of her wild ways in their entirety and could soon do something controversial again.

      • otaku fairy says:

        I definitely don’t think her wild/controversial ways are completely behind her either. It will probably always be a part of her a little bit.

      • YesImHere says:

        I just feel like she’s a very spoiled person who likes to be in control. Unless Liam is very much a beta personality, I can’t imagine him tolerating that for very long. But who knows, maybe they will actually make it to 10 years.

  8. kellybean says:

    Sad, I was never aware Liam cheated. Equally sad was 2013-2015ish. I can’t say I have strong enough feelings to be a fan of either of them individually but I always thought they were a cute couple and it is sweet that they made it through rough patches and came back together after a split. Wish them the best.

  9. Smalltowngirl says:

    Miley had an interview a couple years ago, after they got back together when she commented that it’s hard when two people are both growing and changing and changing in different directions. They were young, she in particular was trying to figure out who she was post-Disney.

    But I am not sure she changed “for” him, I think she went through a very public period of self-discovery and then settled on who she wanted to be and that person was closer to her original self than she might have originally thought and once she went through that growth, she and Liam found their way back together.

    I think they truly love each other. I think they’ve had their ups and downs and were too young but I think they are the love of each other’s life and I am really happy for them.

    • kellybean says:

      I agree. They seem very much in love and gave each other the space they needed to grow into adulthood and figure out who they are. Their affection has never looked forced to me and the wedding pictures where they are dancing melted my singleton heart.

    • Sayrah says:

      This

    • BorderMollie says:

      I think she loves him completely, but I don’t get the vibe he feels the same way. He cheated then only got back with her when it was clear he’d never become a leading man. She seems so desperate for attention and acceptance in everything she does, it just makes me sad.

  10. Dids says:

    I would be happier for them if it wasnt a publicity stunt… Miley has some new music out. She is freaking everywhere. Let’s throw a surprise wedding on top of that!

  11. SlightlyAnonny says:

    This is the thing with reinvention, you have to believe it. With Madonna, I believed the Vogue phase, I believed the La Isla Bonita phase, I really believed the Ray of Light phase. Maybe it was genuine or maybe Madge was just better at selling it. I believe nothing about Miley “Bleating Goat Voice” Cyrus. She is inauthentic and insincere and wears personas like cheap clothes…and she is uninteresting. Madonna, reinventions aside, was still interesting, Miley is not.

  12. pt says:

    Doesn’t she always drop her old image when taking on a new one is more profitable?

    Feel like many of these stars have an unrealistic view of what being a “regular” teen and young adults is like. “You can go completely wild, no limits, no responsibilities, no pressure!” /s

    Then the “Woe is me,” crocodile tears and the over-the-top rebellion. Rinse and repeat.

    • otaku fairy says:

      That’s quite a whitewashing of how girls and women in the public eye are treated though. Nobody really seems to be advocating that anyone should go through life thinking they can go completely wild, have no limits, and no responsibilities (which, ironically, is exactly the mentality some bloggers and online commenters exhibit when it comes to the things they feel free to say about women and teenage girls. Better put a bullet proof vest on if you dare to criticize it while liberal and female too, as misogynistic men and Desensitized good girls on both sides with their internalized misogyny and victim-blaming issues do not want lip from an uppity subhuman). :)

  13. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    “Or is this just the latest version/brand of Miley, and she’ll outgrow and shed this skin too?”

    Of course it is. We’re all works in progress; thank gawd most of us aren’t in the eyes of the benevolent public lol. I’ve been a cynic for a long time; I mean I was telling dinosaurs shit was going to hit the fan. We change. We evolve. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes not. Some growth coincides with partners, and well… there ya go. The arc of our lifespan isn’t stagnant and was never meant to be so good luck to newlyweds. Enjoy right now. Because right now is a sure thing. Tomorrow not so much lol.

  14. Marty says:

    I never saw love between them. I get the feeling that they are best friends who got married for some career/companionship/society reason.

  15. ej says:

    Soul searching is code for doing a lot of drugs and then getting sober.