The Miley Cyrus-Liam Hemsworth Dilemma: How to Balance Love for Her Music with Protective Feelings for Him

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By Maddy Warrell

What follows is a fully speculative and immensely parasocial take, but then again—your conflicted feelings about Miley and Liam are based on those very grounds, so… let’s not pretend we’re above it (for a moment). Here’s a solely Australian female-processed filter of this information. Let’s go over what we know.

Miley and Liam met on the set of The Last Song, where she, the brooding artsy city girl, and he, the small-town guy with a tough exterior but a heart of gold, fall in love. As she falls in love with him, she starts singing and playing the piano again. She mends old wounds with her dad and saves a bunch of sea turtles. This was the way most of us would have met Liam Hemsworth. We all knew of Chris at that point, but the world didn’t quite yet. Thor (2011) hadn’t come out yet, and neither had The Hunger Games (2012). The fact that this relatively unknown Aussie actor was dating Hannah Montana, aka Disney Sweetheart, aka Dolly Parton’s Goddaughter (aka Miley Cyrus), felt like a win. This effect was exacerbated by Liam being a Hemsworth, giving him an affinity similar to that of an old friend’s younger sibling.

Miley Cyrus (17) and Liam Hemsworth (19) started dating thereafter. 

Here’s a timeline for some context. 

  • March 2010 – Miley and Liam star in The Last Song 
  • June 2010 – Miley releases Can’t Be Tamed
  • April 2011 – Chris stars in Thor
  • Jan 2011 – Hannah Montana ends
  • 2012 – Liam stars as Gale in The Hunger Games
  • Sept 2013 – Miley releases Bangerz – Lead Single: We Can’t Stop
  • Nov 2013 – Liam stars in Catching Fire

Liam and Miley were on-again-off-again over the years. Miley had said she ‘Can’t be Tamed’ back in 2010, but then Bangerz happened. She cut off her hair and announced it on Twitter, French kissed construction equipment, twerked on Robin Thicke (who was married at the time before he was revealed to be an A1-Creep), and appropriated so many different cultures it was near impossible to keep up (dreadlocks, cornrows, grills, twerking, AAVE, and so many more). It’s impossible to really know how this affected her and Liam’s relationship, although the scrutiny of her actions certainly overflowed into her relationship. They were broken up for some time, and then Miley grew her hair out and released Younger Now with the hit single, Malibu. She and Liam built a house in Malibu, the surfer’s paradise nodding to the simplicity of Liam’s hometown, Portsea. It was nice to think, at the time, that she had returned to the Aussie beach boy from Portsea. Liam wasn’t working as much as he used to. They had multiple pigs and dogs in their Malibu home. Miley was out on tour when the California bushfires roared through and Liam protected all their animals. Miley references their Malibu house burning down in Flowers.

We were good

Till we weren’t

Made a home 

Then watched it burn

Miley has since reflected on the Younger Now era, challenging the perception that she was happier or more mentally stable than she had been during Bangerz. She said she was using more drugs and alcohol and was in a much darker place during the time when her public-facing image was the cleanest. I’m of two minds about this comment; one makes me empathize with feeling like you can’t receive love as the unfiltered version of yourself. The other part of me wonders if she is saying she was doing better in the Bangerz era, then that invites a more scrupulous eye to the bevy of problematic things she did during that time. Regardless, there is a correlation between her ‘cleaning up her act’ in a pretty literal sense and her and Liam getting back together.

They married in an intimate ceremony and absolutely loved the Vera Wang dress. But, spoiler alert: it didn’t work out, and they separated about eight months later. Since they split, Miley has written two breakup albums: Plastic Hearts and Endless Summer. The songs she’s written about Liam range from blaming him to missing him. Howard Stern (also an A-Grade Creep) asked her about contradicting herself throughout Plastic Hearts. She said that a song is just a momentary snapshot of emotion. As anyone who’s been through a breakup will know, some days you wake up feeling like a part of you is missing, and other days you feel like you’re so hot and the world is blessed you left your ex. Miley Cyrus explores that range, and yes, she does intermittently besmirch the name of our fellow compatriot, Mr. Liam Hemsworth. I’m not saying he deserves it. I’m not even saying he doesn’t deserve it. I am saying that relationships are messy–especially anything that started in your teens. Miley later wrote, “I don’t hide glory-eyed like you” in Midnight Sky, which to me it seems that she wanted to take a much more active part in the world and her career–even if it put stress on their relationship. Sometimes we can love someone immensely, but if our worldviews are fundamentally different, that love isn’t enough to sustain a healthy relationship.

What I see here are two incredibly hot and inevitably flawed people. They both met at a huge turning point in their lives and, at some point, really loved each other. At the end of the day, they are not their characters from The Last Song.

Maddy Warrell is our new AWNY Pop Culture Contributor, social-media maven, and one of the funniest people we know. Enjoy her upcoming content!

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