After just eight months of marriage, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth called it quits. On Aug. 10, 2019, Cyrus’ rep told People in a statement, “Liam and Miley have agreed to separate at this time. Ever-evolving, changing as partners and individuals, they have decided this is what’s best while they both focus on themselves and careers. They still remain dedicated parents to all of the animals they share while lovingly taking this time apart. Please respect their process and privacy.”
The news came as a shock to the world, as the pair only tied the knot in December 2018 — and seemed blissfully happy. However, the “Mother’s Daughter” singer and The Hunger Games star reportedly had issues for a while. An insider told People that the breakup was only shocking to those who didn’t personally know the pair, noting, “After they reunited, everyone thought they were this ‘perfect’ couple, but they still had a lot of issues. They’re not on the same page when it comes to a lot of fundamental things that make a relationship work. It’s not surprising at all.”
So what happened? Here are a few explanations of what doomed this rollercoaster couple.
Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth got married on a whim
Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth both admitted that their decision to get married was somewhat of a whirlwind. After they lost their Malibu, Calif., home in the devastating wildfires that swept the state in 2018, Cyrus told Vanity Fair that they realized it was time to make a move and make their bond permanent. “When you experience what we experienced together with someone, it is like glue. You’re the only two people in the world who can understand,” she said. She wrote in a personal memo for the magazine that the experience “changed” them. “I’m not sure without losing Malibu, we would’ve been ready to take this step or ever even gotten married … but the timing felt right and I go with my heart.”
Hemsworth was a bit more lighthearted, telling Extra that the wedding was “a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing,” including “mainly immediate family.” In Cyrus’ lengthy Vanity Fair profile, she admitted to being very carpe diem, noting, “No one is promised the next day, or the next, so I try to be ‘in the now’ as much as possible. If I ever find myself thinking too far ahead, I acknowledge that anxiety and bring myself back into my body and out of my head.” That said, she and Hemsworth were engaged for at least two years when they finally took the plunge, so it’s not like it was completely out of left field.
Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth were on-again off-again forever
Despite being seemingly rock-solid for the years leading up to their marriage, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth’s relationship was a rocky one for around a decade before that. After meeting on the set of The Last Song in 2009, they split in summer 2010, but reunited not long afterward. By June 2012, they’d confirmed their engagement to People, but weren’t in a rush down the aisle. In fact, in early 2013, Cyrus was spotted without her engagement ring, leading to split rumors that she later denied. By that April, sources told People the wedding was off, but that she and Hemsworth still lived together and remained engaged … until September 2013, when they confirmed the engagement was off. Right around that time, Hemsworth was snapped making out with actress Eiza Gonzalez; in 2014 he was rumored to be dating Vampire Diaries star Nina Dobrev.
From 2014 through much of 2015, Cyrus rebounded, first with Patrick Schwarzenegger, then with model Stella Maxwell. By that November, there were rumblings that she and Hemsworth were back together, and those rumblings grew louder after she was spotted in his family’s social media posts in early 2016. In 2017, Cyrus confirmed to Billboard that her song “Malibu” was about Hemsworth, and that they were back together. Since then, they’ve been — at least until the split news broke — relatively stable, although Cyrus felt forced to yet again deny breakup rumors in June 2019.
Was there a conflict over kids?
It’s a tale as old as time (and one that fellow stars like Jennifer Aniston are sick of hearing): Boy meets girl, boy marries girl, boy wants kids, girl is like, “Wait, I want to live a full life without being a vessel for your genes just yet,” boy and girl split. A few reports have suggested that’s what happened with Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth. In the May/June 2019 issue of GQ Australia, Hemsworth admitted that while he and Cyrus wanted “10, 15, maybe 20 kids” eventually, the newlyweds weren’t in a rush to breed and brood just yet.
Sources told Radar Online in July 2019 that the couple planned to rebuild their new home on the same plot of land as the Malibu mansion they shared before it burned down, and that they were intent on raising children there once everything settled down. However, shortly after the split news broke, an insider told the site, “He wanted babies, and she just didn’t anymore.”
Fame may have hurt Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth’s marriage
Insiders told People that the normally low-key Liam Hemsworth may have struggled with Miley Cyrus’ fame and the pressures associated with it, especially during her twerking, “Wrecking Ball” era. A source explained, “When they got engaged the first time, they were just kids. There was no way they were ready for that kind of commitment. … Miley was a bit lost and wanted to break out of that [Disney] 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.”
However, it seemed like the pair had it all figured out once they reconciled, with Us Weekly reporting that Cyrus became a bit of a June Cleaver type after their 2015 reunion in hopes of keeping Hemsworth around. “Liam never liked that she got crazy, so Miley’s making big changes,” the insider said, adding, “She doesn’t want to screw it up.” Insiders also claimed that he was annoyed with her 2019 Met Gala antics, which reportedly included “grinding on people” and “licking his face,” with a source saying he “really doesn’t like that side of her.”
Cyrus also blabbed to Howard Stern (via E! News) in December 2018 that Hemsworth got “a lot of action” for rescuing their pets during the Woolsey Fire, and added that they regularly engage in “cybersex” via FaceTime. She also boasted of his bedroom prowess on Instagram.
It might just be the most boring reason ever
Call it the Occam’s razor rule, but often the simplest explanation is the one most likely to be true. If that’s the case, then Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth may have simply grown apart due to distance spent away from one another for work and other commitments.
A source explained to E! News that they’d been “drifting apart” and trying to work out their differences for a while before calling it quits. “They have been trying to make it work for months now but haven’t felt they were connecting on the level they were feeling when they got married last year,” the source said, adding, “It’s been a rough year.” The source noted that Hemsworth wanted a lowkey, homebody lifestyle to which they’d gotten accustomed, whereas Cyrus was eager to go on tour and release new music, which takes her away from home often, pointing out that she’s been spending a lot of time in Europe
Miley Cyrus really can’t be tamed
Miley Cyrus was reportedly “ecstatic” to marry Liam Hemsworth … until the realities of traditional marriage set in, which reportedly sent her running for the hills. Cyrus explained to Elle in July 2019, “I mean, do people really think that I’m at home in a f**king apron cooking dinner? I’m in a hetero relationship, but I still am very sexually attracted to women.” She added, “I made a partner decision. This is the person I feel has my back the most. I definitely don’t fit into a stereotypical wife role. I don’t even like that word.” She also told Vanity Fair that being queer was a big part of her own identity, and claimed that she and Hemsworth were “redefining” heterosexual marriage, but didn’t specify how.
Now, there may be a clue. Sources close to the singer allege that part of what led to the demise of their young union was Cyrus’ fear of being tied down. An insider told Radar Online that Cyrus was the one who pulled the plug on the brief marriage, explaining, “She said she wanted an open relationship. She wasn’t ready for just one person for forever.”
Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth have a history of codependency
After Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth’s first big breakup in 2013 — but before their marital separation in August 2019 — she admitted that they had codependent tendencies in their relationship, which led to their split. “I had to [break up]. I don’t like when relationships are two halves trying to make a whole. So I don’t think I have that codependency. I think people that break up and get back together, that’s awesome,” she told The Howard Stern Show (via Billboard). “You get time to be yourself. You get time to grow up. I think if you’re growing up attached to another person, you never really get solid as your own being.”
Cyrus also explained in Vanity Fair, “My relationship is very special to me, it is my home. I feel less misplaced when we are in the same room, no matter where that is, but just because something changes in my relationship doesn’t mean something has to drastically change in my individuality.”
Miley Cyrus may not have trusted Liam Hemsworth
Insiders admitted shortly after Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth tied the knot that they had issues prior to the marriage, and those issues may have come back to haunt them after walking down the proverbial aisle in her Tennessee home. “Miley went through a lot of soul-searching as she grew up and became her own person,” one source told People. Another added, “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.”
Those trust issues may have come from Hemsworth’s alleged infidelity during the more tumultuous times in their relationship before they tied the knot. Us Weekly reported in September 2013 — right after they called off their engagement — that Hemsworth hooked up with January Jones that February, while he and Cyrus were still together, though Hemsworth and Jones denied it.