'Where I am in life right now is very complex.'
Miley Cyrus is speaking out like never before.
The 26-year-old pop star covers Vanity Fair's March issue and, in both a personal essay and an interview, delves into her early days in the spotlight, her sexuality and relationship with Liam Hemsworth, and why Donald Trump once called her. Read on for the five biggest bombshells.
She's 'redefining' what it means to be queer and in a hetero relationship
Cyrus and Hemsworth tied the knot back in December, following a years-long, on-again, off-again relationship. Previously, Cyrus has been open about being "a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community," and she notes that that hasn't changed despite her commitment to her heterosexual relationship.
“The reason that people get married sometimes can be old-fashioned, but I think the reason we got married isn’t old-fashioned -- I actually think it’s kind of New Age," she tells the magazine. "We’re redefining, to be f**king frank, what it looks like for someone that’s a queer person like myself to be in a hetero relationship. A big part of my pride and my identity is being a queer person."
"What I preach is: People fall in love with people, not gender, not looks, not whatever. What I’m in love with exists on almost a spiritual level," she continues. "It has nothing to do with sexuality. Relationships and partnerships in a new generation -- I don’t think they have so much to do with sexuality or gender. Sex is actually a small part, and gender is a very small, almost irrelevant part of relationships.”
"Like, who gives a f**k if he’s a guy, if I’m a girl, or if he was a woman? Who gives a f**k?" she adds. "We really are stronger together. One is the loneliest number.”
In her essay, Cyrus writes that she's been "inspired by redefining again what a relationship in this generation looks like."
"Sexuality and gender identity are completely separate from partnership," she writes. "I wore a dress on my wedding day because I felt like it, I straightened my hair because I felt like it, but that doesn’t make me become some instantly 'polite hetero lady.' (PS: Straight women are badass, too.)"
Cyrus also plays with her gender identity when it comes to work.
“Every producer I’m working with on this new record is male," she tells the magazine. "There’s not a lot of female producer options for me. But it’s fun to be the female in the room that has the most say.”
“I have such male energy," she adds. "I think I associate with male energy more, because I maybe do feel this sense of power.”
In addition to both her relationship and work, Cyrus tries to challenge gender norms in her day-to-day life with fashion and beauty choices.
"The amount of disruption it causes to see a 'female' living outside of societal norm. Where men can be praised, women are frowned upon. I’ve experienced that first-hand," she writes. "The panic it causes for me to perform wearing a men’s Gucci suit, unzipped, baring my chest, versus coming out of my hotel greeting fans in a skirt with long, highlighted, blown-out hair."
"The 'gold stars' I receive for being 'pretty' and for following the rules are really discouraging and uninspiring, but that also fuels me," she continues. "It inspires me to continue to challenge boundaries; and be myself, even if some days I know exactly who that is more than other days. Who I am now is a mosaic of who I have ever been. How I feel can be drastic but life is fun, thrilling, and exhilarating this way."
She isn't sure if she would've married Hemsworth if their Malibu home hadn't burned down
Though the newlyweds are the picture of happiness now, Cyrus reveals in her essay that the devastating Woolsey fire last November prompted them to get married, something she's not sure she would've done otherwise.
"What Liam and I went through together changed us. I’m not sure without losing Malibu, we would’ve been ready to take this step or ever even gotten married, who can say?" she says. "But the timing felt right and I go with my heart. 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."
“When you experience what we experienced together with someone, it is like glue," she adds of the fire, which she calls "unsettling." "You’re the only two people in the world who can understand.”
Cyrus says that her life is "zero percent different" since tying the knot, and reveals that "losing the house changed us much more than getting married changed us.”
“We’ve worn rings forever, and I definitely didn’t need it in any way. It actually is kind of out of character for me,” she says of the convention that surrounds getting married. "... Liam and I have also found a new bond underneath all that rubble. Going through a natural disaster, the grief you experience is really unlike any other loss. No more, just different. In our position, it feels or looks like everything is replaceable and you can start again, but you can’t buy spirit."
Before Hemsworth bought their Malibu home that burned down, Cyrus had a connection to the house
Though their house "wasn't filled with expensive, meaningless s**t," it was filled with art and other fond memories.
"[There were] personal letters and drawings from Heath Ledger, John Kricfalusi, Joan Jett, Murakami, David LaChapelle, and so many others that I respect including our lovely photographer Ryan McGinley," she reveals in her essay, before describing the history of the home during her interview.
“You couldn’t make this up. The first record that I ever made as myself -- not as Hannah Montana, the first record I ever made as Miley Cyrus -- I did most of that record in that house,” she says of the home, which was once owned by music producer Matthew Wilder.
Years later, when Cyrus and Hemsworth were on a break from their relationship after filming The Last Song, Hemsworth purchased the house without knowing its history.
And then [Liam] shows up, ready to move in. And the old owners are cleaning out the garage and getting out all these plaques and s**t with my face on it. Liam showed up and was like, ‘What the f**k?’” Cyrus recalls.
She 'went crazy for a couple of years' while filming Hannah Montana
The hit Disney Channel show premiered and released its first album in 2006, when Cyrus was being managed by her mom, Tish, and on set with her dad, Billy Ray, who also played her father in the series.
“No wonder I went crazy for a couple of years,” she says. “But no, my parents are so cool. Both of my parents are big stoners. I remember one time the producers on Hannah Montana started screaming at me ‘cause they thought that I was smoking pot in the dressing room. And I was like, ‘I’m not f**king smoking pot in the dressing room. Go knock on my f**king dad’s door.’ It was my dad.”
Growing up "on a f**king tour bus" with her famous father and becoming recognized in her own right weren't always easy things to deal with as a teenager.
“I remember getting my license and it being a big deal that I was driving. Almost like the milestones in my life were milestones for America. It almost felt like America was a weird godparent, you know?” Cyrus says. “I was so influential in kids’ lives that I was like America’s nanny. Like, ‘Just sit your kids in front of me and I’ll teach them how to be a good person.’ Which maybe backfired on the American godparent.”
Donald Trump once called to tell her that he loved her performance
Following Cyrus' performance of "We Can't Stop" and "Blurred Lines" with Robin Thicke at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards -- which is now widely remembered for its highly sexualized dance moves, where Cyrus twerked against Thicke -- she got an unexpected phone call from Donald Trump.
Cyrus was staying at the then-future president's hotel in New York when she picked up the phone to Trump telling her, "I loved it." Thinking back on that moment now, Cyrus wonders about how Trump came to be elected and what it says about Americans that he was.
“And now he’s our president,” Cyrus says. “You know, I said I would move away if he became president. We all said a bunch of s**t we didn’t mean. Because we really thought: Maybe people will listen. Maybe people actually realize how detrimental this will be to our f**king country if this happens. Obviously they didn’t."
"But for me to move away -- what the f**k is that going to change? As someone who is so proud of being an activist, am I going to feel proud of myself just running away from, and leaving everyone else here to live under, a completely racist, sexist, hateful a**hole?" she continues. "You can’t leave everyone else to fend for themselves.”
Despite her distaste for the current administration, Cyrus admits to loving "when pop culture and politics meet."
“I think they’re not always married completely happily. They challenge each other. But I think especially in this time, pop culture and politics are the same f**king thing," she says. "Especially with the president that we have right now. We’ve made a celebrity our f**king president. People listen to what celebrities have to say more than activists half the time. So, by having that platform, what the f**k are you going to say?”
"I’ve said it before, and in this I will always be certain: if you think I’m a rebel without a cause, you aren’t paying enough attention," she adds in her essay.