Miley Ray Cyrus (// MY-lee; born Destiny Hope Cyrus, November 23, 1992) is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. Noted for her distinctive raspy voice, her music spans a range of styles, from pop and country pop to hip hop, experimental and rock. Cyrus has attained the most US Billboard 200 top-five albums in the 21st century by a female artist, with a total of thirteen entries. Her personal life, public image, and performances have often sparked controversy and received widespread media coverage.
Cyrus performing at Primavera Sound in 2019
Destiny Hope Cyrus
November 23, 1992
Franklin, Tennessee, U.S.
(m. 2018; div. 2020)
|Parent(s)||Billy Ray Cyrus|
Cyrus, a daughter of country music singer Billy Ray Cyrus, emerged as a teen idol while portraying the title character of the Disney Channel television series Hannah Montana (2006–2011). As Hannah Montana, she attained two number-one and three top-five soundtracks on the US Billboard 200, including the US Billboard Hot 100 top-ten single "He Could Be the One". Cyrus' own discography includes the US number-one albums Meet Miley Cyrus (2007), Breakout (2008), and Bangerz (2013); the top-five releases Can't Be Tamed (2010), Younger Now (2017), Plastic Hearts (2020) and the free album Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz (2015). Cyrus' EPs The Time of Our Lives (2009) and She Is Coming (2019) also debuted in the top-five. Plastic Hearts became Cyrus' most acclaimed album, and her first entry on the Billboard Rock Chart, debuting atop the chart. It included the lead single "Midnight Sky". Her other singles include the US top ten-charting "See You Again", "7 Things", "The Climb", "Party in the U.S.A.", "Can't Be Tamed", "We Can't Stop", "Malibu"; and the chart-topping "Wrecking Ball". "Party in the U.S.A." was certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Cyrus' career accolades include entries on the Time 100 list in 2008 and 2014, MTV's Best Artist of 2013 Award, and placement on Billboard's Greatest of All Time Artists Chart in 2019. She is often regarded as one of the few examples of successful child actors-turned-singers. As an actress, Cyrus has made appearances in the animated film Bolt (2008) and the feature films Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009) and The Last Song (2010). On television, Cyrus served as a coach on the singing competition series The Voice across two seasons and starred in an episode of the Netflix series Black Mirror (2019). Cyrus is an advocate for animal rights and adopted a vegan lifestyle in 2014; she founded the non-profit Happy Hippie Foundation in 2014, which focuses on youth homelessness and the LGBT community.
Life and career
1992–2005: Early life and career beginnings
Cyrus was born November 23, 1992, in Franklin, Tennessee, to Leticia "Tish" Jean Finley, who is of Irish American Roman Catholic heritage, and country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, who is of Scots-Irish American Presbyterian heritage. Her parents married the year following her birth. Cyrus was born with supraventricular tachycardia, a condition causing an abnormal resting heart rate. Her birth name, Destiny Hope, expressed her parents' belief that she would accomplish great things. Her parents nicknamed her "Smiley", which they later shortened to "Miley", because she often smiled as an infant. In 2008, she legally changed her name to Miley Ray Cyrus; her middle name honors her grandfather, Democratic politician Ronald Ray Cyrus from Kentucky. Cyrus' godmother is singer-songwriter Dolly Parton.
Against the advice of her father's record company, Cyrus' parents secretly married on December 28, 1993, a year after her birth. They had two more children together, son Braison and daughter Noah. From previous relationships, her mother has two other children, Brandi and Trace. Her father's first child, Christopher Cody, was born in April 1992 and grew up with his mother, Kristin Luckey, in South Carolina.
All of Cyrus' maternal siblings are established entertainers. Trace is a vocalist and guitarist for the electronic pop band Metro Station. Noah is an actress and, along with Braison, models, singers, and songwriters. Brandi was formerly a musician for the indie rock band Frank + Derol and is a professional DJ. The Cyrus farmhouse is located on 500 acres of land outside Nashville, Tennessee.
Cyrus attended Heritage Elementary School in Williamson County, when her family lived in Thompson's Station, Tennessee. When she was cast in Hannah Montana, the family moved to Los Angeles, where she attended Options for Youth Charter Schools and studied with a private tutor on set. Raised Christian, she was baptized in a Southern Baptist church before moving to Hollywood in 2005. She attended church regularly while growing up and wore a purity ring. In 2001, when Cyrus was eight, she and her family moved to Toronto, Canada, while her father filmed the television series Doc. After Billy Ray took her to see a 2001 Mirvish production of Mamma Mia! at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Cyrus grabbed his arm and told him, "This is what I want to do, daddy. I want to be an actress." She began singing and acting lessons at the Armstrong Acting Studio in Toronto.
Cyrus' first acting role was as Kylie in her father's television series Doc. In 2003, she received credit under her birth name for her role as "Young Ruthie" in Tim Burton's Big Fish. During this period, she auditioned with Taylor Lautner for the feature film The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D. Although she was one of two finalists for the role, she chose to appear in Hannah Montana instead.
Her mother took on the role of Miley's manager and worked to acquire a team to build her daughter's career. Cyrus signed with Mitchell Gossett, director of the youth division at Cunningham Escott Slevin Doherty. Gossett is often credited with "discovering" Cyrus and played a key role in her auditioning for Hannah Montana. She later signed with Jason Morey of Morey Management Group to handle her music career, having been directed to him by Dolly Parton. She hired her father's finance manager as part of her team.
2006–2009: Hannah Montana and early musical releases
Cyrus auditioned for the Disney Channel television series Hannah Montana when she was eleven years old. She auditioned for the role of the title character's best friend, but was called to audition for the lead role instead. Despite being denied the part at first because she was "too small and too young" for the role, she was later cast as the lead because of her singing and acting abilities. The series premiered in March 2006 to the largest audience for a Disney Channel program and quickly ranked among the highest-rated series on basic cable. The success of the series led to Cyrus being labeled a "teen idol". She toured with the Cheetah Girls as Hannah Montana in September 2006, performing songs from the show's first season. Walt Disney Records released a soundtrack credited to Cyrus' character in October of that year. The record was a commercial success, topping the Billboard 200 chart in the United States; it went on to sell over three million copies worldwide. With the release of the soundtrack, Cyrus became the first act within the Walt Disney Company to have deals in television, film, consumer products, and music.
Cyrus signed a four-album deal with Hollywood Records to distribute her non-Hannah Montana soundtrack music. She released the two-disc album Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus in June 2007. The first disc was credited as the second soundtrack by "Hannah Montana", while the second disc served as Cyrus' debut studio album. The album became her second to reach the top of the Billboard 200, and has sold over three million copies since its release. Months after the release of the project, "See You Again" (2007) was released as the lead single from the album. The song was a commercial success, and has sold over two million copies in the United States since its release. She then collaborated with her father on the single "Ready, Set, Don't Go" (2007). Cyrus embarked on her highly successful Best of Both Worlds Tour (2007–08) to promote its release. Ticketmaster officials commented that "there [hadn't] been a demand of this level or intensity since The Beatles or Elvis". The tour's success led to the theatrical release of the 3D concert film Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert (2008). While initially intended to be a limited release, the film's success led to a longer run.
Cyrus and friend Mandy Jiroux began posting videos on the popular website YouTube in February 2008, referring to the clips as "The Miley and Mandy Show"; the videos garnered a large online following. In April 2008, several images of Cyrus in her underwear and swimsuit were leaked by a teenage hacker who accessed her Gmail account. Further controversy arose when it was reported that Cyrus, then aged 15, had posed topless during a photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair. The New York Times later clarified that although the shots left the impression that she was bare-breasted, Cyrus was wrapped in a bed sheet and was not topless.
Cyrus went on to release her second studio album, Breakout (2008), in June of that year. The album earned the highest first-week sales of her career thus far and became her third to top the Billboard 200. Cyrus later starred with John Travolta in the animated film Bolt (2008), her debut as a film actress; she also co-wrote the song "I Thought I Lost You" (2008) for the film, which she sings as a duet with Travolta. The film was a critical and commercial success and earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Original Song.
In March 2009, Cyrus released "The Climb" (2009) as a single from the soundtrack to the Hannah Montana feature film. It was met with a warm critical and commercial reaction, becoming a crossover hit in both pop and country music formats. The soundtrack, which features the single, went on to become Cyrus' fourth entry to top the Billboard 200; at age 16, she became the youngest artist in history to have four number-one albums on the chart. She released her fourth soundtrack as Hannah Montana in July 2009, which debuted at number two on the Billboard 200. Cyrus later launched her first fashion line, Miley Cyrus and Max Azria, through Walmart. It was promoted by the release of "Party in the U.S.A." (2009) and the EP The Time of Our Lives (2009). Cyrus said the record was "a transitioning album [...] really to introduce people to what I want my next record to sound like and with time I will be able to do that a little more". "Party in the U.S.A." went on to become one of Cyrus' most successful singles to date, and is considered to be one of her signature songs. She next embarked on her first world tour, the Wonder World Tour (2009), which was a critical and commercial success. On December 7, 2009, Cyrus performed for Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the British royal family at the Royal Variety Performance in Blackpool, Lancashire.
2010–2012: Can't Be Tamed and focus on acting
Hoping to foster a more mature image, Cyrus starred in the film The Last Song (2010), based on the Nicholas Sparks novel. It was met with negative critical reviews but was a box office hit. Cyrus further attempted to shift her image with the release of her third studio album, Can't Be Tamed (2010). The album featured a more dance-oriented sound than her prior releases and stirred a considerable amount of controversy over its lyrical content and Cyrus' live performances. It sold 106,000 copies in its first week of release and became her first studio album not to top the Billboard 200 chart in the United States. Due to the controversy surrounding the release, the album's second and final single, "Who Owns My Heart" was released solely in German territories. Cyrus released her final soundtrack as Hannah Montana that October; it was a commercial failure.
Cyrus was the subject of further controversy when a video posted online in December 2010 showed her, then aged 18, smoking salvia with a bong. 2010 ended with her ranking at number 13 on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list. She embarked on her worldwide Gypsy Heart Tour in April 2011, which featured no North American dates; she cited her various controversial moments as the reason, claiming she only wanted to travel where she felt "the most love". Following the release of Can't Be Tamed, Cyrus officially parted ways with Hollywood Records. With her obligations to Hannah Montana fulfilled, Cyrus announced that she planned to take a hiatus from music to focus on her acting career. She later confirmed she would not be going to college.
Cyrus hosted the March 5, 2011 episode of Saturday Night Live, where she poked fun at her recent controversies. That November, it was announced that Cyrus would voice Mavis in the animated film Hotel Transylvania; however by February 2012 she was dropped out of the project and replaced with Selena Gomez. At the time, Cyrus attributed her departure to wanting to work on her music, but several years later she revealed the real reason behind her exit was because she bought her then-boyfriend Liam Hemsworth a birthday cake shaped like a penis and licked it. She later made an appearance on the MTV television series Punk'd with Kelly Osbourne and Khloé Kardashian. Cyrus starred alongside Demi Moore in the independent film LOL (2012). The film had a limited release, and was a critical and commercial failure. She then starred in the comedy film So Undercover, appearing as an FBI agent required to go undercover at a college sorority.
Cyrus released a string of live performances known as the Backyard Sessions on YouTube during the spring and summer of 2012; the performances were of classic songs she personally liked. Having begun working on a failed fourth album the previous year, Cyrus resumed working on a new musical project in late 2012. She collaborated with producers Rock Mafia on their song "Morning Sun" (2012), which was made available for free download online. She had previously appeared in the music video for their debut single, "The Big Bang" (2010). Cyrus later provided guest vocals on "Decisions" (2012) by Borgore. Both Cyrus and Hemsworth appeared in the song's music video. She went on to guest star as Missi in two episodes of the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men. Cyrus attracted significant media attention after cutting her traditionally long, brown hair in favor of a blonde, pixie cut; she commented that she had "never felt more [herself] in [her] whole life" and that "it really changed [her] life".
2013–2015: Bangerz and Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz
In 2013, Cyrus hired Larry Rudolph to be her manager, although she is currently managed by Maverick's Adam Leber; Rudolph is best known for representing Britney Spears. It was confirmed that Cyrus had signed with RCA Records for her future releases. She worked with producers such as Pharrell Williams and Mike Will Made-It on her fourth studio album, resulting in a hip hop-influenced sound. She collaborated with numerous hip hop artists releases and appeared on the Snoop Lion song "Ashtrays and Heartbreaks" (2013), released as the lead single from his twelfth studio album, Reincarnated. She collaborated with will.i.am on the song "Fall Down" (2013), released as a promotional single that same month. The song entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number fifty-eight, marking her first appearance on the chart since "Can't Be Tamed" (2010). She provided guest vocals on the Lil Twist song "Twerk", which also featured vocals by Justin Bieber. The song was unreleased for unknown reasons but leaked online. On May 23, 2013, it was confirmed that Cyrus would be featured on the Mike Will Made It single "23", with Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J. The single went on to peak at number eleven on the Hot 100, and had sold over one million copies worldwide as of 2013.
Cyrus released her new single "We Can't Stop" on June 3. Touted as her comeback single, it became a worldwide commercial success, topping charts in territories such as the United Kingdom. The song's music video set the Vevo record for most views within twenty-four hours of release and became the first to reach 100 million views on the site. Cyrus performed with Robin Thicke at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, a performance that resulted in widespread media attention and public scrutiny. Her simulated sex acts with a foam finger were described as "disturbing" and the whole performance as "cringe-worthy". Cyrus released "Wrecking Ball" (2013) as the second single from Bangerz on the same day as the VMAs. The accompanying music video, showing her swinging naked on a wrecking ball, was viewed over nineteen million times within 24 hours of its release. The single became Cyrus' first to top the Hot 100 in the US and sold over two million copies.
On October 2, MTV aired the documentary Miley: The Movement, that chronicled the recording of her fourth studio album Bangerz, which was released on October 4. The album was a commercial success, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200 with first week sales of 270,000 copies. On October 5, Cyrus hosted Saturday Night Live for the second time. On November 5, Cyrus featured on rapper Future's "Real and True" with Mr. Hudson; an accompanying music video premiered five days later on November 10, 2013. In late 2013 she was declared Artist of the Year by MTV. On January 29, 2014, she played an acoustic concert show on MTV Unplugged, performing songs from Bangerz featuring a guest appearance by Madonna. It became the highest-rated MTV Unplugged in the past decade, with over 1.7 million streams. Cyrus was also featured in the Marc Jacobs Spring 2014 campaign along with Natalie Westling and Esmerelda Seay Reynolds. She launched her controversial Bangerz Tour (2014) that year, which was positively received by critics. Two months into her tour, Cyrus' Alaskan Klee Kai was found mauled to death at her home after fighting with a coyote. The trauma from the incident inspired her to dedicate her life to veganism. Two weeks later, Cyrus suffered an allergic reaction to the antibiotic cephalexin, prescribed to treat a sinus infection, resulting in her hospitalization in Kansas City. Though she rescheduled some of her US tour dates, she resumed the tour two weeks later, beginning with the European leg.
While collaborating with The Flaming Lips on their remake of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, With a Little Help from My Fwends, Cyrus began working with Wayne Coyne on her fifth studio album. She claimed that she was taking her time to focus on the music, and that the album would not be released until she felt it was ready. Coyne compared his collaborative material with Cyrus to the catalogs of Pink Floyd and Portishead and described their sound as being "a slightly wiser, sadder, more true version" of Cyrus' pop music output. Cyrus also worked on the films The Night Before (2015) and A Very Murray Christmas (2015) during this period; both roles were cameos. Reports began to surface in 2015 that Cyrus was working on two albums simultaneously, one of which she hoped to release at no charge. This was confirmed by her manager who claimed she was willing to end her contract with RCA Records if they refused to let her release a free album. Cyrus was the host of the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, making her its first openly pansexual host, and gave a surprise performance of a new song "Dooo It!" (2015) during the show's finale. Immediately following the performance, Cyrus announced that her fifth studio album, Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz (2015), was available for free streaming on SoundCloud. The album was written and produced primarily by Cyrus, and has been called experimental and psychedelic, with elements of psychedelic pop, psychedelic rock, and alternative pop.
2016–2017: The Voice and Younger Now
In 2016, following the release of her fifth studio album the previous year, Cyrus resumed working on her sixth studio effort. She was a key advisor during the tenth season of the reality singing competition The Voice. In March, Cyrus had signed on as a coach for the eleventh season of The Voice as a replacement for Gwen Stefani; Cyrus became the youngest coach to appear in any incarnation of the series. In September 2016, Cyrus co-starred in Crisis in Six Scenes, a television series Woody Allen created for Amazon Studios. She played a radical activist who causes chaos in a conservative 1960s household while hiding from the police. On September 17, 2016, she appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and covered Bob Dylan's "Baby, I'm In the Mood for You". Cyrus also had an uncredited voice cameo as Mainframe in the superhero film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, released in May 2017.
On May 11, 2017, Cyrus released "Malibu" as the lead single from her sixth album. The single debuted at No. 64 on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at No. 10 on the chart on its second week. On June 9, Cyrus released "Inspired" after performing the song at the One Love Manchester benefit concert. It served as a promotional single from the album. On August 8, Cyrus announced that her sixth studio album would be titled Younger Now and would be released on September 29, 2017. The album's title track was released as the second single from the album on August 18 and debuted and peaked at No. 79 on the Billboard Hot 100. On August 27, Cyrus performed the track at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards. On September 15, she performed "Malibu", "Younger Now", "See You Again", "Party in the U.S.A." and a cover of the Roberta Flack hit "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" (written by Ewan McColl) for the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge. Cyrus also returned as a coach in the thirteenth season of The Voice after taking a one-season hiatus. On October 5, 2017, Cyrus confirmed that she would not be returning to The Voice for season fourteen. On October 30, 2017, Cyrus revealed she would neither release any further singles from Younger Now nor tour for it.
2018–2019: Black Mirror, She Is Coming and festival tour
Before the release of Younger Now in September 2017, Cyrus expressed she was "already two songs deep on the next [album]." Producers attached to her seventh studio album included previous collaborator Mike Will Made It and new collaborators Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt. Her first collaboration with Ronson, "Nothing Breaks Like a Heart" from his 2019 album Late Night Feelings, was released on November 29, 2018.
On May 31, 2019, Cyrus tweeted that her seventh studio album would be titled She Is Miley Cyrus and would comprise three six-song EPs, which would be released before the full-length album: She Is Coming on May 31, She Is Here in the summer, and She Is Everything in the fall. She Is Coming debuted at number five on the US Billboard 200 with 36,000 album-equivalent units, while the single "Mother's Daughter" entered at number 54 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Cyrus starred in "Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too," an episode of the Netflix science fiction series Black Mirror, which she filmed in South Africa in November 2018. It was released on Netflix on June 5, 2019. In the episode, she played fictional pop star Ashley O and provided the voice for her AI doll extension, Ashley Too. The music video for the song "On a Roll" from the episode was released on June 13; the song itself and the B-side "Right Where I Belong" were released to digital platforms the next day. On June 27, it was revealed that Cyrus had collaborated with Ariana Grande and Lana Del Rey on "Don't Call Me Angel", the lead single of the soundtrack to the 2019 film Charlie's Angels. It was released on September 13, 2019. In August 2019, Cyrus released "Slide Away", her first song since announcing her separation from then-husband Hemsworth. The song hinted at their breakup and contained lyrics such as "Move on, we're not 17, I'm not who I used to be". A music video was released in September 2019 that contained further references, including a ten of hearts playing card at the bottom of a pool to represent the end of her decade-long relationship with Hemsworth.
2020–present: Plastic Hearts
On August 14, 2020, Cyrus released the single "Midnight Sky" and confirmed the cancellation of the EPs She Is Here and She Is Everything. "Midnight Sky" became her highest-charting solo single since "Malibu" in 2017, peaking at number 14 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Internationally, in the United Kingdom the song has thus far peaked at number five on the UK Singles Chart. On October 22, 2020, Cyrus announced via Instagram that her seventh studio album Plastic Hearts would be released on November 27, 2020. The album was released to positive reviews from critics and performed well, debuting at No.2 on the Billboard 200, with 60,000 units, becoming her twelfth top ten entry on the chart.
Cyrus won a 2020 Webby Special Achievement Award. In October 2020, she revealed to be working on a Metallica cover album. She had previously covered the band's "Nothing Else Matters" during her 2019 Glastonbury set.
On November 19, 2020, Cyrus released "Prisoner", the second single from her seventh studio album Plastic Hearts featuring Dua Lipa alongside the music video. The November 27 album launch included the previously-released mashup of "Midnight Sky" with Stevie Nicks's "Edge of Seventeen", on which Nicks provides guest vocals, as well as Cyrus' live covers of Blondie's "Heart of Glass" and The Cranberries' "Zombie".
On February 7, 2021, Cyrus was joined by Billy Idol and Joan Jett at the first TikTok Tailgate show in Tampa, Florida, which aired before Super Bowl LV for 7,500 vaccinated healthcare workers on TikTok and CBS.
Musical style and influences
Cyrus has cited Elvis Presley as her biggest inspiration. She has also cited artists such as Madonna, Lana Del Rey, Dolly Parton, Timbaland, Christina Aguilera, Joan Jett, Lil Kim, Shania Twain, Hanson, OneRepublic and Britney Spears as influences. Since the beginning of her music career, Cyrus has been described as being predominantly a pop artist. Her Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus debut studio effort was characterized as sounding similar to her releases as "Hannah Montana" featuring a pop-rock and bubblegum pop sound. Cyrus hoped that the release of Breakout (2008) would help distance her from this sound; the record featured Cyrus experimenting with various genres. Cyrus co-wrote eight songs for the album, and was quoted as saying: "I just hope this record showcases that, more than anything, I'm a [song]writer." The songs on her early releases feature lyrics on the topics of love and relationships.
Cyrus possesses a mezzo-soprano vocal range, although her vocals were once described as alto, with a "Nashville twang" in both her speaking and singing voice. Her voice has a distinctive raspy sound to it, similar in vein to that of Pink and Amy Winehouse. On "Party in the U.S.A." (2009), her vocals feature belter refrains, while those on the song "Obsessed" (2009) are described as "husky". Releases such as "The Climb" (2009) and "These Four Walls" (2008) feature elements of country music and showcase Cyrus' "twangy vocals". Cyrus experimented with an electropop sound on "Fly on the Wall" (2008), a genre that she would explore further with the release of Can't Be Tamed (2010), her third studio album. It was initially intended to feature rock elements prior to its completion, and Cyrus claimed after its release that it could be her final pop album. The album's songs speak of Cyrus' desire to achieve freedom in both her personal and professional lives. She began working on Bangerz (2013) during a musical hiatus, and described the record as having a "dirty south feel" prior to its release. Critics noted the use of hip hop and synthpop in the album. The album's songs are placed in chronological order telling the story of her failed relationship with Liam Hemsworth. Cyrus described Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz (2015) as "a little psychedelic, but still in that pop world". For her rock-influenced album, Plastic Hearts, Cyrus cited Britney Spears and Metallica as major influences.
Cyrus has become known for her controversial performances, most notably on her Bangerz Tour (2014) and Milky Milky Milk Tour (2015). Her performance of "Party in the U.S.A." at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards sparked a "national uproar" because of her outfit and perceived pole dancing. She faced similar controversy following a performance of "Can't Be Tamed" (2010) on Britain's Got Talent, where she pretended to kiss one of her female dancers onstage. Cyrus defended the performance, feeling she did nothing wrong. Cyrus became the subject of media and public scrutiny following her performance of "We Can't Stop" (2013) and "Blurred Lines" (2013) with Robin Thicke at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. Clad in a flesh-colored latex two-piece, Cyrus touched Thicke's crotch area with a giant foam finger and twerked against his crotch. The performance resulted in a media frenzy; one reviewer likened the performance to a "bad acid trip", while another described it as a "trainwreck in the classic sense of the word as the audience reaction seemed to be a mix of confusion, dismay and horror in a cocktail of embarrassment". Cyrus entered the stage of her Bangerz Tour by sliding down a slide in the shape of a tongue, gaining media attention during the tour for her outfits and racy performances.
In the early years of her career, Cyrus had a generally wholesome image as a teen idol. Her fame increased dramatically following the Vanity Fair photo scandal, and it was reported that photos of Cyrus could be shopped for $2,000 apiece. In the following years, Cyrus' image continued to shift dramatically from her previous teen idol status. Donny Osmond wrote of Cyrus' transition into adulthood: "Miley will have to face adulthood... As she does, she'll want to change her image, and that change will be met with adversity." The release of Can't Be Tamed (2010) saw Cyrus officially attempting to distance herself from her teenage persona, releasing controversial music videos for her songs "Can't Be Tamed" (2010) and "Who Owns My Heart" (2010). Her behavior sparked considerable controversy throughout 2013 and 2014, although her godmother Dolly Parton stated "...the girl can write. The girl can sing. The girl is smart. And she doesn't have to be so drastic. But I will respect her choices. I did it my way, so why can't she do it her way?"
Cyrus was placed at number seventeen on Forbes' list of the most powerful celebrities in 2014, the magazine noting that "The last time she made our list was when she was still rolling in Hannah Montana money. Now the pop singer is all grown up and courting controversy at every turn." In August 2014, her life was documented in a comic book called Fame: Miley Cyrus, starting with her 2013 MTV Video Music Awards performance to her Disney fame and exploring her childhood in Tennessee. The comic book was written by Michael L. Frizell and drawn by Juan Luis Rincón and is available in both print and digital formats. In September 2010, Cyrus placed tenth on Billboard's first-ever list of Music's Hottest Minors of 2010 and was ranked twenty-first in 2011 and eighteenth in 2012. In May 2013, Maxim ranked Cyrus first on their Hot 100 of the year. Cyrus was chosen by Time magazine as one of their finalists for Person of the Year in November 2013; she came in third place with 16.3% of the staff vote. In March 2014, Skidmore College in New York began offering a special topics sociology course entitled "The Sociology of Miley Cyrus: Race, Class, Gender and Media" which was "using Miley as a lens through which to explore sociological thinking about identity, entertainment, media and fame". In 2015, Cyrus was listed as one of the nine runners-up for The Advocate's Person of the Year.
Sexuality and gender
Cyrus came out as pansexual to her mother at age 14 and has said: "I never want to label myself! I am ready to love anyone that loves me for who I am! I am open." In June 2015, Time magazine reported she is gender fluid. She was quoted as stating she "doesn't relate to being boy or girl, and I don't have to have my partner relate to boy or girl." Cyrus stated she is "literally open to every single thing that is consenting and doesn't involve an animal and everyone is of age".
Cyrus is a supporter of the LGBT community. Her song "My Heart Beats for Love" (2010) was written for one of Cyrus' gay friends, while she has since claimed London to be her favorite place to perform due to its extensive gay scene. Cyrus also has an equals sign tattooed on her ring finger in support of same-sex marriage. After her 2018 marriage to a man, Cyrus went on the record to state she still identified as queer. She is the founder of the Happy Hippie Foundation, which works to "Fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable populations".
Cyrus has been open about her recreational use of cannabis. She told Rolling Stone in 2013 that it was "the best drug on earth" and called it, along with MDMA, a "happy drug". While accepting the Best Video Award at the 2013 MTV Europe Music Awards, Cyrus smoked what appeared to be a joint onstage; this was removed from the delayed broadcast of the show in the United States. In a 2014 interview with W magazine, Cyrus stated "I love weed" and "I just love getting stoned." In a 2017 interview on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Cyrus revealed that she had quit cannabis before the press tour for her Younger Now album so she could be "super clear" when discussing the record. During a 2018 interview with Andy Cohen, she credited her mother for reintroducing her to cannabis. In 2019, Cyrus sent "Nothing Breaks Like a Heart" collaborator Mark Ronson a cannabis bouquet from Lowell Herb Co as a tongue-in-cheek Valentine's Day gift. She invested in the cannabis company in August.
Cyrus has stated that she dated singer-actor Nick Jonas from June 2006 to December 2007, claiming they were "in love" and began dating soon after they first met. Their relationship attracted considerable media attention. Cyrus was in a nine-month relationship with model Justin Gaston from 2008 to 2009. While filming The Last Song, Cyrus began an on-again, off-again relationship with her co-star Liam Hemsworth in 2009. During the breakups, Cyrus was romantically linked to actors Lucas Till (2009) and Josh Bowman (2011). Cyrus and Hemsworth were first engaged from May 2012 until September 2013. She also dated actor Patrick Schwarzenegger (2014–2015) and model Stella Maxwell (2015).
Cyrus and Hemsworth rekindled their relationship in March 2016, and became re-engaged that October. In November 2018, Cyrus and Hemsworth's home burned down in the Woolsey Fire in California. On December 23, Cyrus and Hemsworth married in a private wedding ceremony in their home in Nashville, Tennessee. She felt that her marriage "[redefined] what it looks like for someone that's a queer person like [herself] to be in a hetero relationship" though she was "still very sexually attracted to women". Cyrus indicated that the ceremony was "kind of out of character for [her]" because "[they have] worn rings forever [and] definitely didn't need it in any way". She believed the loss of their home to be the catalyst for getting married, citing that "the timing felt right" and that "no one is promised the next day, or the next, so [she tries] to be 'in the now' as much as possible". On August 10, 2019, Cyrus announced their separation. Eleven days later, Hemsworth filed for divorce, citing "irreconcilable differences". To commemorate her divorce from Hemsworth, Cyrus had a note written to her from Yoko Ono tattooed on her left shoulder blade. On January 28, 2020, their divorce had been finalized.
In October 2019, Cyrus began dating Australian singer Cody Simpson, a longtime friend. In August 2020, Cyrus announced that she and Simpson had split up. Her announcement coincided with the release of her single "Midnight Sky", which was inspired by her breakups with Hemsworth, Carter, and Simpson.
Cyrus was raised as a Christian and identified herself as such during her childhood and early adult life. Cyrus includes references to Tibetan Buddhism in the lyrics to her song "Milky Milky Milk" (2015).
From 2013 to 2019, Cyrus followed a strict vegan diet. She professed in September 2020 to no longer being a vegan, for health reasons, commenting: "I was vegan for a very long time and I've had to introduce fish and omegas into my life because my brain wasn't functioning properly." Cyrus currently identifies as a pescatarian.
Throughout her career, Cyrus has sung on several charity singles such as: "Just Stand Up!", "Send It On", "Everybody Hurts" and "We Are the World 25 for Haiti". She has visited sick fans in hospitals throughout the years. She is an avid supporter of the City of Hope National Medical Center in California, having attended benefit concerts in 2008, 2009 and 2012. In 2008 and 2009, during her Best of Both Worlds and Wonder World Tours, for every concert ticket sold, she donated one dollar to the organization. Cyrus celebrated her 16th birthday at Disneyland by delivering a $1 million donation from Disney to Youth Service America. In July 2009, Cyrus performed at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation's 20th annual A Time for Heroes celebrity picnic and donated several items including autographed merchandise, and a script from Hannah Montana for the Ronald McDonald House Auction. Cyrus has supported charities such as the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Entertainment Industry Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, United Service Organizations, Youth Service America and Music for Relief. In February 2010, she donated several items, including the dress she wore to the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards, and two tickets to the Hollywood premiere of her film The Last Song, to raise money for the victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
In January 2011, Cyrus met an ailing fan with spina bifida with the charity Kids Wish Network. In April 2011, she appeared in a commercial for the American Red Cross asking people to pledge $10 to help those affected by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. That same year, Hilary Duff presented Cyrus with the first-ever Global Action Youth Leadership Award at the first Annual Global Action Awards Gala for her support of Blessings in a Backpack, an organization that works to feed hungry children in schools, and her personal Get Ur Good On campaign with the Youth Services of America. Cyrus stated: "I want (kids) to do something they love. Not something that seems like a chore because someone tells them that's the right thing to do or what their parents want or what's important to people around them, but what's in their heart." In December 2011, she appeared in a commercial for the charity J/P Haitian Relief Organization, and teamed up with her elder brother Trace Cyrus to design a limited edition T-shirt and hoodie for charity. All proceeds from the sale of these items went to her charity, Get Ur Good On, which supports education for under-privileged children. That month, she performed "The Climb" at the CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
In 2012, Cyrus released a cover version of Bob Dylan's "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" featuring Johnzo West for the charity Amnesty International as a part of the album Chimes of Freedom. She also appeared in a commercial for the Rock the Vote campaign, which encouraged young people to make their voices heard by voting in the 2012 federal election. For her 20th birthday, activists at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) adopted a pig called Nora in her name. Cyrus also supports 39 well-known charities, including: Make-a-Wish Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, To Write Love on Her Arms, NOH8 Campaign, Love Is Louder Than the Pressure to Be Perfect and The Jed Foundation among others. In 2013, Cyrus was named the fourteenth most charitable celebrity of the year by Do Something. She also appeared with Justin Bieber and Pitbull in a television special entitled The Real Change Project: Artists for Education. On July 26, 2014, it was announced that Cyrus would appear alongside Justin Timberlake at an HIV/AIDS charity event in the White House.
At the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, Cyrus won Video of the Year for her song "Wrecking Ball". Instead of accepting the award herself, she invited a 22-year-old homeless man by the name of Jesse collect it on her behalf; she had met him at My Friend's Place, an organization that helps homeless youth find shelter, work, health care and education. His acceptance speech urged musicians to learn more about youth homelessness in Los Angeles through Cyrus' Facebook page. Cyrus then launched a Prizeo campaign to raise funds for the charity; those who made donations were entered into a sweepstake for a chance to meet Cyrus on her Bangerz Tour in Rio de Janeiro that September. In early 2015, Cyrus teamed up with cosmetic company MAC Cosmetics to launch her own branded Viva Glam lipstick and the proceeds went to the Mac AIDS Fund.
In June 2017, Cyrus performed at One Love Manchester, a televised benefit concert organized by Ariana Grande following the Manchester Arena bombing on her concert two weeks earlier. During an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in August 2017, Cyrus revealed that she would be donating $500,000 to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. In 2019, she performed at the Sunny Hill Festival in Kosovo, a festival to raise funds to help people with financial difficulties in Kosovo created by Dua Lipa and her father. Cyrus and her then-boyfriend Cody Simpson donated 120 tacos to healthcare workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020. That same month, she partnered again with MAC Cosmetics to earmark $10 million from their annual Viva Glam campaign toward 250 local organizations nationwide heavily impacted by the pandemic.
Cyrus has shown support for the Black Lives Matter movement by sharing links and resources on social media, dawning a Black Lives Matter face mask, and attending protests amid the killing of George Floyd.
Happy Hippie Foundation
Cyrus is the founder of the Happy Hippie Foundation, which works to "fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable populations". Since 2014, the foundation has served nearly 1,500 homeless youth in Los Angeles, reached more than 25,000 LGBTQ youth and their families with resources about gender, and provided social services to transgender individuals, youth in conflict zones, and people affected by crisis situations. Happy Hippie encourages Cyrus' fans to support causes including gender equality, LGBTQ rights and mental health through awareness campaigns and fundraising. Leading up to the 2020 presidential election, Happy Hippie encouraged its Instagram followers to seek out VoteRiders for assistance ensuring that gender identity would not affect their right to vote.
On June 15, 2015, Cyrus unleashed the campaign #InstaPride in collaboration with Instagram. The campaign features a series of portraits starring transgender and gender-expansive people, which were posted to her Instagram feed with the hashtags "#HappyHippiePresents" and "#InstaPride". It was aimed at encouraging diversity and tolerance by showing these people in a positive light as examples for others who might be struggling to figure themselves out, as well as a reference point for people who didn't know personally anyone in that situation. Cyrus was the one behind the camera for the photo shoot the whole time and even interviewed her 14 subjects to share their personal stories along with their portraits. She decided to predominate the color yellow since she believes it is a happy and non-sexualized color. She said she wanted to bring attention and celebrate people who wouldn't normally find themselves being the stars of a photo shoot or wouldn't find themselves on the cover of a magazine.
Following the loss of their Malibu home from the Woolsey Fire, Cyrus and Hemsworth partnered with their community to launch the Malibu Foundation for relief efforts following the 2018 California wildfires. Through the Happy Hippie Foundation, Cyrus and Hemsworth donated $500,000 to the Malibu Foundation.
Cyrus' early success as the face of Disney Channel's billion dollar franchise Hannah Montana played an important role as shaping the 2000s teen pop culture earning her the honorific nickname of "Teen Queen". Bickford stated Hannah Montana adopted a business model of combining celebrity acts with film, television, and popular music for a pre-adolescent audience. He called the series "genre-defining" and likened this model to 1990s teen pop artists such as Britney Spears and NSYNC, who were also marketed to children. Morgan Genevieve Blue of Feminist Media Studies stated the series' primary female characters, Miley and her alter ego Hannah, are positioned as post-feminist subjects in a way their representation is confined to notions of femininity and consumerism. The Times journalist Craig McLean named Cyrus the "world's biggest-ever teenage star".
Over the years, Cyrus' song "Party in the U.S.A." gained popularity in American culture on holidays and historic events. The song has re-entered the charts every Independence Day since its release. Following the death of Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011, a resurgence in popularity of the music video occurred. The official YouTube video was flooded with comments regarding the death of bin Laden and it was immediately deemed a celebratory anthem for the event. In 2013, an online petition on the White House's "We the People" petitions website was urging then-president Barack Obama to change the U.S. national anthem from "The Star-Spangled Banner" to "Party in the U.S.A." Following the 2020 presidential election, as major news outlets announced Democratic nominee Joe Biden the winner of the presidential race, on November 7, 2020, supporters in New York City started singing "Party in the U.S.A." at Times Square.
Cyrus' album Bangerz (2013), along with its promotional events, is considered to be one of the most controversial moments in the 2010s wider popular culture and established Cyrus among the decade's most controversial figures. Glamour writer Mickey Woods likened the promotional "era" for the album to those of Britney Spears' and Christina Aguilera's third and fourth studio albums Britney (2001) and Stripped (2002), respectively, adding that Cyrus' record "will probably be retrospectively deemed iconic, maybe even classic". Billboard listed Bangerz as one of the best and most influential albums of the 2010s noting that "with this pivotal album release, Cyrus took control of her public persona, surprising less with her provocative antics than with her constant artistic evolution". The album is considered a trendsetter in "weaving together urban and pop influences, what's most revered now is what it represented then" according to Lyndsey Havens. Patrick Ryan of USA Today commented that Cyrus' collaborations with Mike Will Made It on the album contributed to his new-found prominence, stating that Mike Will Made It's position as an executive producer has helped him "[jump] to the forefront as an interesting character [...] in an era where a lot of producers have fallen behind the scenes again". MTV named Cyrus their Best Artist of 2013, and James Montgomery of MTV News elaborated on the network's decision that Cyrus "[declared] her independence and [dominated] the pop-culture landscape", adding that "she schooled—and shocked—us all in 2013, and did so on her own terms." Billboard staff called Cyrus the "Most Talked About Pop Star" of 2013, and also recognized the controversial evolution of her career as the "Top Music Moment" of the year, elaborating that she was a "maelstrom that expanded and grazed nearly every aspect of pop culture in 2013."; the publication also listed "We Can't Stop" as best song of 2013 for being "one of the bolder musical choices in recent memory, and that risk paid off tremendously." and one of the songs that defined the decade stating it "created a new play in the playbook" of pop music.
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