Unless you were raised in a technology-eschewing commune, you know about proverbial wild child Miley Cyrus. The daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus rose to fame by starring in the beloved Disney channel sitcom Hannah Montana. Although “beloved” is certainly not the word that Miley would use to describe her four seasons spent on the show.
The Nashville native has bashed Hannah Montana on multiple occasions, including in a 2015 Marie Claire interview when she described how the long, grueling hours on set led to major anxiety, and that playing Hannah led to self-esteem issues. And she really, really hated that blonde wig. Off camera, Miley launched a successful music career of her own while simultaneously making headlines for posing seductively in a sheet on the cover of Vanity Fair, smoking salvia, and dancing on a stripper pole at the Teen Choice Awards — all while she was still a minor.
When the show ended in 2011, Miley was determined to transition into adulthood on her own terms. “The Climb” singer spent the next several years on a kind of never-ending Rumspringa that entailed sex, drugs, and explicit pop music. Was it rebellion against her wholesome Disney image or a series of calculated career moves designed to boost fame and fortune? We may never know the real Miley but one thing is certain: she can’t be tamed. Grab some pearls to clutch, cause we’re about to break down the wildest things Miley Cyrus has ever done.
Miley Cyrus ruins chocolate birthday cakes
In 2012, Miley Cyrus’ boyfriend (now ex-husband) Liam Hemsworth turned 22. Cyrus procured a giant, lavish birthday cake for the Australian actor that read “Happy Birthday Liam.” If you clicked on the previous link, your “Aww that’s so sweet” most likely morphed into an “Eww that’s so wrong!” And for anyone who’s at work right now and definitely shouldn’t click over to the risque pics, they show a chocolate cake shaped like a certain male organ. And Cyrus is pretending to bite and lick the X-rated dessert with a giant knife in hand. Yep.
According to TMZ, Miley was only 19 at the time, but the remaining photos feature the underage pop star drinking what appears to be an enormous alcoholic beverage, grinding against a female party-goer, and dancing atop the bar. Years later, she addressed the images and revealed on Twitter in 2019, “I got kicked off hotel Transylvania for buying Liam a p***s cake for his birthday and licking it.” Producers thought a more vanilla actress was a safer bet for the animated kid’s movie, and Cyrus’ voiceover role was given to Selena Gomez (who hadn’t been publicly photographed with any phallic edibles).
Wait, what was that lyric?!
The first single released from Miley Cyrus’ 2013 album Bangerz was the catchy “We Can’t Stop,” which hit number two on the Billboard Hot 100. And the lyrics sent a loud, clear message: Cyrus was now a grown up doing bad grown up things. She sang about “big butts … at a strip club” and a robotic male voice insisted, “It’s our party … we can screw who we want.”
Surprisingly, those weren’t the song’s most controversial lyrics. Those would be “Tryna get a line in the bathroom” and “We like to party/Dancing with Molly.” So yeah, two references to hard drugs in one song. Needless to say, lots of people were not pleased, especially parents whose kids looked up to the former Hannah Montana star. Cyrus initially backpedalled, telling Rolling Stone the line was “Dancing with Miley.” Her producer repeated the dodge, but the singer eventually fessed up to the Daily Mail, saying, “You can Google me . . . you know what that lyric is saying.”
Perhaps as a symbolic middle finger to Hannah Montana’s wig, Cyrus sported a semi-shaved haircut for the song’s video, which was as raunchy as one would expect. A scantily clad, gyrating Cyrus slapped some butts, made out with a doll, and wore nipple tape. Extras kicked skulls made from french fries and shot smoke out of crotch cannons. The song and video screamed “trying too hard to be edgy” but Cyrus was only just getting started.
The twerk seen 'round the world
Miley Cyrus cemented her raunchy reputation at MTV’s Video Music Awards in 2013. Cyrus’ performance of “We Can’t Stop” mimicked her video, and the infamous Miley tongue was out in full force. But then Robin Thicke joined her onstage for a duet of his icky song “Blurred Lines” and things got … ickier. Cyrus wore a nude, latex bikini and topped off the risque ensemble with a giant foam finger. For choreography, the pelvic-thrusting pop star awkwardly twerked against Thicke’s, uh, baby maker.
As expected, the performance sparked outrage, and while Thicke shifted the blame to Cyrus on Oprah’s Next Chapter, Cyrus spoke her truth to The New York Times in 2015: “It was funny, because I got so much of the heat for it, but that’s just being a woman. He acted like he didn’t know that was going to happen. You were in rehearsals! And he was actually the one that approved my outfit … It was very much a collaboration.”
For her part, Cyrus had zero regrets about the performance and insisted to The New York Times, “I can’t believe that was a big deal. It wasn’t shocking at all.” But the singer contradicted herself in a documentary by saying, “Madonna’s done it. Britney’s done it. Every VMA performance … you’re wanting to make history.” We hate to break it to Cyrus, but we don’t think the 2013 VMAs will make it into future textbooks.
Miley Cyrus naked on a wrecking ball, y'all
“Wrecking Ball,” the second single from Bangerz, was a soulful ballad about heartbreak. The video premise matched the lyrics: Cyrus used a wrecking ball and sledgehammer to break down concrete walls, which represented the metaphorical walls around her lover’s heart. Of course, this was a Miley Cyrus video directed by Terry Richardson, so the singer wore little clothing, then no clothing, rode the wrecking ball, and then made out with the sledgehammer.
The video racked up over a billion — yes billion — views and launched thousands of parodies. NPR observed that the song “vaulted to the top [of the Billboard chart], from No. 22 to No. 1 in a single week, largely because of its video.” When Cyrus and Hemsworth broke off their engagement shortly after the video’s debut, fans speculated that the actor grew tired of his fiancee’s shocking career choices.
On The Zach Sang Show in 2017, Cyrus playfully poked fun at herself saying, “I’m never living that down. I will always be the naked girl on a wrecking ball … I should’ve thought [about] how long that was going to follow me around. That’s my worst nightmare is that being played at my funeral.” But in 2020, the pop star proved she just couldn’t resist another round of ball swinging and performed on a disco ball at the VMAs. But in 2020, the world had much bigger issues to focus on, so Miley Riding a Giant Ball: Part Two went largely unnoticed.
No one cared when Miley Cyrus 'adored' herself in a video
“Adore You” was the third single released from Bangerz, but the song never topped the charts like “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball.” The lyrics were simple and sweet: Cyrus crooned about adoring a boy in the G-rated ballad. The video, however, was far from kid friendly.
In the first part of the video the pop star is wearing nude colored undergarments (no latex this time) on a bed surrounded by billowing white sheets that are magically suspended to create the world’s sexiest sheet fort. Cyrus has a video camera on the bed and is filming herself doing things — ya know, not G-rated things. In the second part of the video, she dons an outfit made from black fishnet while singing and writhing in a bathtub (as one does when it’s bath time).
While the video’s content was even more provocative than the video for “Wrecking Ball,” the public paid little attention. Slant even downplayed the star’s attempt at more provocation by calling it “so-called sexual agency [that] seems more like auto-objectification.” By this point in 2013, many people had become desensitized to, and perhaps annoyed by, the pop star’s shock tactics. But the lack of buzz didn’t cause Cyrus to reevaluate her artistic choices, and she continued to do her ‘thang (which consisted of getting buzzed and wearing little-to-no clothing).
Miley Cyrus toked up on stage at the EMAs
Miley Cyrus has smoked a lot of weed. Like, a lot. Cyrus has never been shy about her love affair with Mary Jane and even admitted on The Joe Rogan Experience that although she no longer partakes, she began smoking at an early age: “You know, at one point, again, it went from — it was school, then it went from, you know, how much weed can I actually smoke and still play a teenage superstar on the Disney channel?”
A few months after the 2013 VMAs, MTV held its Europe Music Awards in Amsterdam. Like a moth to the flame, Cyrus visited one of Amsterdam’s many coffee shops before the awards and, as the Daily Mail noted, “Of course the venue, while called a coffee house, is less known for its aromatic beans and more for its large array of cannabis products.” When Cyrus won the award for best video and thanked the audience, she pulled out what appeared to be a coffee shop souvenir aka a joint, and proceeded to smoke it (shown above). The Miley marijuana moment was edited out by MTV when the EMA awards were televised in the U.S., but Cyrus still made the news for her on-stage stunt. Hey, when in Rome…
Tongue slides and controversy: Miley Cyrus' outrageous tour
When Cyrus announced that the Bangerz world tour would be coming in 2014, fans knew the experience would be unlike any other. Miley made her grand entrance onto the stage by sliding down an enormous pink tongue that mechanically unfurled itself from a giant image of her own head. The formula was wild but expected: skimpy outfits, X-rated inflatables, weed references, and lots of twerking.
Another aspect of the Bangerz concerts didn’t just shock people, it disgusted them. The backup dancers consisted mainly of women of color, including Amazon Ashley, pictured above. The dance routines often featured Cyrus fondling the dancers or mimicking sexual acts. Some felt that Cyrus was using the women as “props.” Other critics argued that she was borrowing themes from hip hop culture but making it into a grotesque type of parody. Cyrus denied accusations of cultural appropriation and racism, and later made things even worse in a 2017 Billboard interview in which she seemingly denounced the hip-hip culture she had so embraced.
By 2019, however, Cyrus had yet another change of heart after a YouTuber called her out for both the cultural appropriation and the Billboard interview. Responding in the video’s comment section (via Teen Vogue), Cyrus admitted she was irresponsibly speaking from a place of privilege. “Simply said; I f*cked up and I sincerely apologize,” the “Jolene” singer wrote, adding, I”‘m committed to using my voice for healing, change, and standing up for what’s right.”
Miley Cyrus' post-divorce rebounds Kaitlynn and Cody
Miley Cyrus shocked the public once again in August 2019, but this time it had nothing to do with inappropriate chocolate cakes or licking sledgehammers. Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth announced they were separating after only eight months of marriage. Even more shocking? Hours before Cyrus’ rep announced the split, multiple media outlets published racy pictures of the singer making out with Brody Jenner’s recent ex Kaitlynn Carter in Italy.
While Hemsworth kept a low profile after the separation announcement, Cyrus continued to flaunt her brand new fling with Carter. Some speculated that the two were simply pretending to date for attention while others wondered if The Last Song actress had cheated on Hemsworth. Cyrus denied that infidelity ended her marriage, and after she and Carter parted ways, The Hills star later insisted to Elle that the romance was real: “I went on vacation with a female friend; the next thing I knew, I was in love with her.”
Shortly after things ended with Carter, Cyrus’ rapid-fire love life continued with longtime friend Cody Simpson. Throughout 10 months of dating, Cyrus and the Australian singer engaged in heavy PDA, got matching tattoos, dropped the “L” word, and often posted raunchy Instagram pics (per Insider). Alas, the wild romance eventually burned out and Cyrus confirmed the split in an Instagram Live (via the Daily Mail) in August 2020. Ugh, does the sanctity of matching tattoos mean nothing anymore?
Did Miley Cyrus have an alien encounter or a spectacular high?
She may have played a sparkly, nude alien in the video for Future’s song “Real and True,” but Miley Cyrus also believes in real and true extraterrestrial life forms. Okay, the “Malibu” singer doesn’t just believe in them — she claims she’s seen aliens herself. Cyrus told Interview in 2020, “I was driving through San Bernardino with my friend, and I got chased down by some sort of UFO. I’m pretty sure about what I saw, but I’d also bought weed wax from a guy in a van … so it could have been the weed wax. But the best way to describe it is a flying snowplow … There were a couple of other cars on the road and they also stopped to look, so I think what I saw was real.”
Oh wait, there’s more. The pop star claimed, “I did see a being sitting in the front of the flying object. It looked at me and we made eye contact, and I think that’s what really shook me, looking into the eyes of something that I couldn’t quite wrap my head around.” Was it the sketchy weed or did Cyrus really connect with an alien? There’s no way to know for sure, but posting half-naked selfies with E.T. could very well be Miley’s next publicity stunt (and by this point, most people would probably just shrug and continue scrolling through their Instagram feed).
It's the (naked) climb for Miley Cyrus
One of Miley Cyrus’ best friends is Wayne Coyne, lead singer of the rock band The Flaming Lips. Their relationship began in 2014 when Cyrus wished Coyne a happy birthday via Twitter and the two began hanging out shortly after. Some eyebrows were raised at the pair’s 32-year-age difference, but the free spirits ignored the judgement and performed together, recorded music together, smoked some (okay probably a lot) of weed, and got matching tattoos (per MTV News). Coyne’s wife, Katy, even posted a picture of Cyrus holding the couple’s baby boy and called the “Party in the USA” singer “Aunty Meow.”
If you’re super curious about what kind of things go down when these two hippies hang out, wonder no more. Cyrus revealed via Instagram stories that she was celebrating Wayne Coyne’s birthday in mid-January 2021 when she took the party to the next level (per the Daily Mail). The photo features Cyrus and Coyne with their heads together and the pop star has her hand covering her face. The caption reads, “STANDING ON HOLLYWOOD BLVD THE MORNING AFTER A RAGER (I CLIMBED THE ROOSEVELT SIGN NAKED).” Don’t get any ideas plebs — only a celebrity could get away with climbing the historic Roosevelt Hotel’s sign in the buff. Sigh, maybe in our next life.
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