Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth’s decade-long love story was and will remain a pop-culture phenomenon.
The two first met and fell in love as teenagers, while costarring in The Last Song in 2009. In the years following, they embarked on a passionate, on-and-off romance that lasted through their twenties and led to two engagements, one marriage, and ultimately, one divorce.
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Now, three years after their split, Cyrus has entered a new era of independence that has so far culminated in her latest track, “Flowers.” The empowering single has topped the global music charts for two weeks now, and the fan theories surrounding its Easter eggs about Hemsworth keep on coming.
Ahead, look back on Cyrus and Hemsworth’s love story—from their teenage puppy love to their heartbreaking split and their very public moments of passion in between.
January 12, 2023: Miley drops “Flowers.”
Poetically, on Hemsworth’s birthday, the singer releases her hit breakup anthem about her renewed sense of independence following her split from the actor.
Putting a self-love spin on the Bruno Mars song, “When I Was Your Man”—which Hemsworth allegedly dedicated to the singer during one of the pair’s rekindled stretches—Cyrus belts in the chorus, “I can buy myself flowers / … And I can hold my own hand,” an allusion to Mars’s lyrics, “I should have bought you flowers / And held your hand.”
Per fan theories on TikTok, Cyrus’s looks throughout the music video are clues about her relationship with Hemsworth. During the first chorus, the singer wears an oversized power suit with nothing else underneath—a straightforward show of boldness and dominance outside of Hemsworth and gender roles. But some fans also speculate that the suit was the very same one worn by Hemsworth at the 2019 Avengers red-carpet premiere, during which the actor was seen mouthing to Cyrus to behave “for once” in a now-viral clip.
Cyrus’s gold gown from a clip of her walking down Hollywood Hills is additionally said to have been a shady reference to Jennifer Lawrence, who wore a similar gold dress while attending the March 2012 Hunger Games premiere with costar Hemsworth. (Lawrence is rumored to have shared a fling with Hemsworth on set while the actor was still with Cyrus—and the actress did later admit that they shared an off-screen kiss in a since resurfaced interview clip with Andy Cohen.)
The hit single goes on to top the global music charts. And on January 30, Cyrus commemorates the milestone and thanks her fans on Instagram. “Celebrating ‘Flowers’ being #1 around the world again this week!” she writes on a polaroid image of her dancing in a black dress. “I love that this record is connecting in such a positive way & it’s a pleasure to continue creating music for you. These milestones are only made possible by the listeners & my incredible fans. Endlessly thankful.”
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August 2020: Miley gets real about her heartbreak.
The singer gets vulnerable about the deep pain she felt following the close of her relationship with Hemsworth during a Call Her Daddy podcast episode. “I had a very public, very big breakup that was a 10-year span of a relationship,” she tells host Alexandra Cooper. “I tried not to get lost in the emotion … It’s like a death when you lose a loved one, it’s that deep. It feels like a death.”
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August 21, 2019: They file for divorce.
After multiple sources report that the two have broken up, Hemsworth confirms the news with an announcement on Instagram about their separation. “Hi all Just a quick note to say that Miley and I have recently separated and I wish her nothing but health and happiness going forward,” he writes. “This is a private matter. … Peace and Love.”
The two reportedly cite “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for their divorce, which was ultimately finalised in January 2020.
Soon following the news, a swarm of commentary surfaces online speculating that infidelity was the reason for the split. In response, Cyrus posts a thread on Twitter clarifying that she never cheated on the actor and that their decision to separate was for the best. “I can admit to a lot of things but I refuse to admit that my marriage ended because of cheating,” Cyrus tweets. “Liam and I have been together for a decade. I’ve said it before & it remains true, I love Liam and always will. BUT at this point I had to make a healthy decision for myself to leave a previous life behind. I am the healthiest and happiest I have been in a long time.”
In the same week, Cyrus is spotted on vacation in Italy with friend-turned-lover Kaitlynn Carter, who had then recently split from Brody Jenner. After that fizzled, the singer was linked to Cody Simpson, whom she dated up until August 2020.
June 11, 2019: Miley celebrates their 10-year anniversary.
Cyrus commemorates a decade of love with Hemsworth with a tribute on social media. “Happy 10 year anniversary my love,” she writes on Twitter, alongside a photo of an article referencing breakup rumors. “Good to see everyone is as dumb as they were in 2009! Some things never change … & I hope the way you feel about me is one of them.”
May 1, 2019: Liam wants a ton of kids.
The actor spills to GQ that he hopes to have a ton of kids with Cyrus someday—”10, 15, maybe 20,” to be exact.
Though a source tells Us Weekly that the two are still taking things a step at a time. “Miley and Liam know that they are young and they’re just happy living their life right now and not worrying about kids at this time,” the insider says. “They consider their dogs to be their kids.”
April 22, 2019: They attend the Avengers premiere.
In what would become a viral appearance years later, the two arrive on the red carpet for the Avengers premiere in coordinating black ensembles.
February 21, 2019: Miley opens up about married life.
In a conversation for the magazine’s March issue, Cyrus tells Vanity Fair that her everyday life with her now husband hasn’t felt much different from their life prior to marriage. The biggest change she experienced with Hemsworth, Cyrus says, was circumstantial: losing their Malibu estate the previous November in a California wildfire. “I would say that losing the house changed us much more than getting married changed us,” Cyrus says. “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.”
Cyrus adds that the circumstances, in a way, felt meant to be. “I’m not sure without losing Malibu, we would’ve been ready to take this step or ever even gotten married, who can say? 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,” she says.
December 26, 2018: Their surprise marriage is confirmed.
Cyrus takes to Instagram to confirm her surprise wedding to Hemsworth with a black-and-white photo of her kissing him. “10 years later…” she captions the photo.
Rumours of their marriage had spread earlier in the holiday season, when photos and videos were leaked of the two cutting a cake at a rehearsal dinner featuring large balloons labeled “Mr. & Mrs.”
January 2, 2016: They reunite in Australia.
The two rekindle their romance on New Year’s Eve, when they are spotted getting cozy at the Falls Music Festival in Byron Bay, Australia, per Us Weekly sources.
Throughout the festival, the pair are seen spending time with Hemsworth’s sister-in-law, Elsa Petaky, who married Chris Hemsworth back in 2010. “I love people I can be crazy with!!” Pataky writes on an Instagram post featuring a photo with Cyrus from the festival.
Later in the month, Cyrus and Hemsworth are seen unloading items from a U-Haul truck, seemingly confirming the pair’s reunion isn’t just a rebound. Cyrus additionally shares a selfie on Instagram of her wearing the 3.5 carat engagement ring from the actor’s original 2012 proposal, further affirming their rekindled serious relationship and engagement.
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November 2015: Liam opens up about Miley.
The actor reflects on the longstanding significance of his five-year relationship with Cyrus in a rare interview with Men’s Journal.
“We were together five years,” the actor says, “so I don’t think those feelings will ever change. And that’s good because that proves to me that it was real. It wasn’t just a fling. It really was an important part of my life and always will be.”
September 16, 2013: They call off their engagement.
After the two unfollow each other on Twitter, Cyrus and Hemsworth finally confirm the longstanding rumors of their split and called-off engagement.
Cyrus officially embarks on her iconic Bangerz era following the breakup. (The album is released on September 30.)
Months later, in a December interview, Cyrus gets real about getting engaged to Hemsworth so young—a point of contention with the public surrounding her relationship with the actor—and the courage it took for her to follow through with the split. “I was so scared of ever being alone, and I think, conquering that fear this year was actually bigger than any other transition that I had this entire year,” she says on Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2013. “I don’t think I realized what 19 truly is, and I got engaged at 19.” Though, she adds that she ultimately doesn’t regret the decision. “I definitely wouldn’t change being engaged.”
August 8, 2013: Breakup rumors swirl.
Rumours of a called-off engagement escalate following an allegedly tense red-carpet appearance—the pair’s first in 14 months—for the Los Angeles premiere of Paranoia, Hemsworth’s latest film.
“Miley and Liam acted like they didn’t even know each other the entire night,” a source tells Us Weekly. “She was wearing her ring, but they acted as if they were strangers.”
April 18, 2013: They postpone their wedding.
A source tells People that Hemsworth and Cyrus—who have yet to announce an official date for their wedding—will be postponing the occasion indefinitely.
“They want to figure out their life together before they get married,” the insider tells the outlet. “They’re still engaged and living together,” the source adds. “They just realized that there is no rush with the wedding and that it’s better that they wait a bit.”
The announcement fuels ongoing breakup rumors, which namely escalated the previous month after Cyrus was spotted out in Los Angeles without her engagement ring. “I didn’t call off my wedding,” she insisted on social media at the time. “Taking a break from social media. #draining.”
January 26, 2013: Miley gushes over Liam’s hotness.
The singer holds nothing back while talking about her attraction to her fiancé with Cosmopolitan.
“I’ll literally look at him and be like, ‘You are hot, dear God!'” she tells the magazine. “The other day, I turned on the pool heater and it was steaming, and he walked outside and took off his clothes and jumped in the pool. I was like, ‘I’m gonna faint — the hottest guy of my life is in a steaming pool. This looks like a Playgirl shoot.’ So I took a photo and made it the background on my phone. My best friend grabbed my phone and was like, ‘Who’s that? He is so hot!’ That’s my hubby!”
May 31, 2012: They get engaged.
Hemsworth proposes to Cyrus with a 3.5-carat Neil Lane ring. The pair’s wedding is tentatively set for the following summer, according to a People source.
The following month, Cyrus tweets a sweet photo of her with Hemsworth and their dog, while saying of their engagement: “All my dreams are coming true.”
And in a November 8 appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Cyrus opens up about the perfect wedding moment she hopes to have with her now fiancé. “This is the one day that it’s what I choose and every detail is things that I love…,” Cyrus says at the time. “I don’t want people to ever forget about that.“
“I’m having one wedding,” she continues. “That’s my day and whatever I want on that day will be about me and that moment. That look of love.”
November 2010: They split again.
Less than two months after news breaks of their rekindled relationship, the pair ultimately decide to call it quits again—for now. “Their on-and-off-again relationship is currently off,” a source tells People in November. “But you never know with Miley and Liam. They could be back on at some point.”
August–September 2010: They break up, then make up.
One year into the pair’s first romantic stretch, a rep for Hemsworth confirms to People that the two have broken up. Less than one month later, however, the two reportedly get back together.
On September 11, the two are spotted grabbing lunch and running errands together in Los Angeles. An onlooker tells People at the time, “Miley and Liam kept smiling and seemed to really enjoy their afternoon together. They acted like they had missed each other, kept chatting and seemed to be catching up. They definitely seemed like a couple again.”
“With Liam back in her life on Saturday, she acted totally different and, instead, seemed very happy,” the insider continues. “It looked like Miley and Liam had never been apart, and they were back into their old routine.”
The split follows months of breakup rumours, which Cyrus repeatedly denies. In addition to assuring fans on her website that she’s “really happy” with Hemsworth, she also reportedly says in April, “I’m not really a big lovey person. I’m not, like, mushy. [But] Liam was the first person that made me want to be in a real relationship.”
March 7, 2010: They make their red-carpet debut as a couple.
The couple go red-carpet official at the 18th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscar party. “I like when men work hard,” Cyrus tells Us Weekly at the occasion. “I think it’s important. I always work really hard, so it’s good to have someone who is as passionate about what they do and wants to be great at what they do instead of just OK. We always strive to have our 130 percent.”
In a Teen Vogue conversation published the same day, Cyrus says of her connection with Hemsworth, “I think we’re both deeper than normal people—what they think and how they feel. He’s very grateful for what he has, but he doesn’t let it go to his head. I’m like that too.”
On March 25, the two attend the premiere of their film, The Last Song, while looking smitten with one another on the red carpet.
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Circa 2009: They meet on set of The Last Song.
Seventeen-year-old Cyrus and 19-year-old Hemsworth first meet as costars on set of the film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’s romance novel The Last Song, in which the two play romantic leads Ronnie Miller and Will Blakelee, respectively. The two fall in love while filming, and afterwards, take their romance off screen. Soon after the film wraps, they are photographed at an airport sharing a kiss.
“[Hemsworth has] become my best friend in the whole wide world,” Cyrus tells Parade during this time. “I love him. He really respects me for who I am because coming from Australia, he really didn’t know me as the celebrity I am here. I got to tell him about myself on my own terms and my own way. He had no preconceived notion of who I was supposed to be.”
Hemsworth later opens up about falling in love with Cyrus on set and the intimacy he felt with her throughout filming. “She makes me really happy,” he says in a February 2012 conversation with Details magazine. “When you start, you want to be professional, but when you’re filming those scenes with someone [in The Last Song] and pretending to love them, you’re not human if you don’t feel something.”
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.