Miley Ray Cyrus (born Destiny Hope Cyrus; November 23, 1992) is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. After playing minor roles in the television series Doc and the film Big Fish in her childhood, she became a teen idol starring as the character Miley Stewart on the Disney Channel television series Hannah Montana in 2006. Her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, also starred on the series, which aired for four seasons until 2011.
Cyrus has earned three number-one albums on the US Billboard 200 with Meet Miley Cyrus (2007), Breakout (2008), and Bangerz (2013). Her releases The Time of Our Lives (2009), Can’t Be Tamed (2010), and Younger Now (2017) debuted in the top-five in the United States, while her album Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz (2015) was released for free online streaming on SoundCloud. Further, Cyrus has attained an additional two number-one and three top-ten soundtracks credited as Hannah Montana. She has also earned nine top-ten entries on the US Billboard Hot 100: “See You Again”, “7 Things”, “The Climb”, “He Could Be the One” (as Hannah Montana), “Party in the U.S.A.”, “Can’t Be Tamed”, “We Can’t Stop”, “Malibu” and the chart-topping “Wrecking Ball”.
Cyrus launched her film career as a voice actress in the animated film Bolt (2008), and later starred in the feature films Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009) and the coming-of-age film The Last Song (2010). On television, she was the host of the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards and has hosted Saturday Night Live three times since her first appearance in 2011. Cyrus has also been featured as a coach on the singing competition television series The Voice; she has appeared in two seasons of the show since her debut in 2016.
Cyrus has earned numerous awards and nominations, was recognized as “Artist of the Year” by MTV in 2013, and was included on the annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in 2008 and 2014, respectively. Her image has been the subject of significant media commentary and public controversy, including the transition from her wholesome image to a highly-sexual persona in the early 2010s. Cyrus is an outspoken animal rights advocate and adopted a vegan lifestyle in 2014.
Life and career
1992–2002: Early life and career beginnings
Destiny Hope Cyrus was born November 23, 1992, in Franklin, Tennessee, to Tish Cyrus (née Leticia Jean Finley) and singer Billy Ray Cyrus. Cyrus was born with supraventricular tachycardia, a condition causing an abnormal resting heart rate. Her birth name, Destiny Hope, expressed her parents’ belief she would accomplish great things. Her parents nicknamed her “Smiley”, which they later shortened to “Miley”, because she often smiled as an infant. In 2008, she changed her name to Miley Ray Cyrus; her middle name honors her grandfather, Democratic politician Ronald Ray Cyrus.
Against the advice of her father’s record company, Cyrus’s parents secretly married on December 28, 1993, a year after her birth. They had two more children together, son Braison and daughter Noah. From previous relationships, her mother has two other children, Trace and Brandi. Her father has a son named Christopher Cody, who grew up with his mother, Kristin Luckey, in South Carolina. Today, all of her maternal siblings are established entertainers. Trace is a vocalist and guitarist for the electronic pop band Metro Station. Noah is an actress, and along with Braison, both are models, singers, and songwriters. Brandi was formerly a musician and songwriter for the indie rock band Frank + Derol and is currently a professional DJ. Cyrus’s godmother is entertainer Dolly Parton.
Cyrus attended Heritage Elementary School. While working on Hannah Montana, she enrolled at Options for Youth Charter Schools and studied with a private tutor on set. Raised a Christian, she was baptized in a Southern Baptist church before moving to Hollywood in 2005. She attended church regularly while growing up and wore a purity ring. In 2001, when Cyrus was eight, she and her family moved to Toronto, Ontario, Canada while her father filmed the television series Doc. After Billy Ray took her to see a 2001 Mirvish production of Mamma Mia! at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Cyrus grabbed his arm and told him, “This is what I want to do, daddy. I want to be an actress.” She began singing and acting lessons at the Armstrong Acting Studio in Toronto.
Cyrus’s debut acting role was portraying a girl named Kylie in her father’s television series Doc. In 2003, Cyrus received credit under her birth name for her role as “Young Ruthie” in Tim Burton’s Big Fish. During this period she auditioned with Taylor Lautner for the feature film The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D, and although she was one of two actresses remaining, she chose Hannah Montana instead. Tish Cyrus became Miley’s manager, and worked to acquire a team to flourish her career. Cyrus signed with Mitchell Gossett, director of the youth division at Cunningham Escott Slevin Doherty. Gossett is often credited with “discovering” Cyrus, and played a key role in her auditioning for Hannah Montana. She later signed with Jason Morey of Morey Management Group to handle her music career, having been directed to him by Dolly Parton. Billy Ray’s finance manager was hired as well.
2003–2009: Hannah Montana and early musical releases
Cyrus auditioned for the Disney Channel television series Hannah Montana when she was eleven years old. She auditioned for the role of the title character’s best friend, but was called to audition for the lead role instead. Despite being denied the part at first because she was too “young and small” for the role, she was selected later as the lead because of her singing and acting abilities. The series premiered in March 2006 to the largest audience for a Disney Channel program, and quickly ranked among the highest-rated series on basic cable. The instant success of the series led to Cyrus being labeled a “teen idol”. She toured with The Cheetah Girls as Hannah Montana in September 2006, performing songs from the show’s first season. Walt Disney Records released a soundtrack credited to Cyrus’ character in October of that year. The record was a commercial success, topping the Billboard 200 chart in the United States; it went on to sell over three million copies worldwide. With the release of the soundtrack, Cyrus became the first act within The Walt Disney Company to have deals in television, film, consumer products, and music. She had a two-year relationship with actor Tyler Posey. Cyrus has stated that she dated singer and actor Nick Jonas from June 2006 to December 2007, claiming they were “in love” and began dating soon after they first met. Her relationship with Jonas, as well as her “spoofing” fellow Disney alums Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato, attracted considerable media attention. Cyrus came out as pansexual to her mother when she was 14, and has said: “I never want to label myself! I am ready to love anyone that loves me for who I am! I am open.”
Cyrus signed a four-album recording contract with Hollywood Records to distribute her non-Hannah Montana soundtrack music. She released the two-disc album Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus in June 2007. The first disc was credited as the second soundtrack by “Hannah Montana”, while the second disc served as Cyrus’ debut studio album. The album became her second to reach the top of the Billboard 200, and has sold over three million copies since its release. Months after the release of the project, “See You Again” (2007) was released as the lead single from the album. The song was a commercial success, and has sold over two million copies in the United States since its release. She then collaborated with her father on the single “Ready, Set, Don’t Go” (2007). Cyrus embarked on her highly successful Best of Both Worlds Tour (2007–08) to promote its release. Ticketmaster officials commented that “there [hadn’t] been a demand of this level or intensity since The Beatles or Elvis”. The tour’s success led to the theatrical release of the 3D concert film Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert (2008). While initially intended to be a limited release, the film’s success led to a longer run.
Cyrus and friend Mandy Jiroux began posting videos on the popular website YouTube in February 2008, referring to the clips as “The Miley and Mandy Show”; the videos garnered a large online following. In April 2008, several images of Cyrus in her underwear and swimsuit were leaked by a teenage hacker who accessed her Gmail account. Further controversy arose when it was reported that Cyrus, then fifteen, had posed topless during a photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair. The New York Times later clarified that although the pictures left the impression that she was bare-breasted, Cyrus was wrapped in a bed sheet and was not topless.
Cyrus went on to release her second studio album, Breakout (2008), in June of that year. The album boasted the highest first week sales of her career thus far, and became her third to top the Billboard 200. Cyrus later starred with John Travolta in the animated film Bolt (2008), her debut as a theatrical actress. The film was a critical and commercial success earning her a Golden Globe nomination.
In March 2009, Cyrus released “The Climb” (2009) as a single from the soundtrack to the Hannah Montana feature film. It was met with a warm critical and commercial reaction, becoming a crossover hit in both pop and country music formats. The soundtrack, which features the single, went on to become Cyrus’ fourth entry to top the Billboard 200; this made her, at sixteen, the youngest performer in history to have four number one albums on the chart. She released her fourth soundtrack as “Hannah Montana” in July 2009, which debuted at number two on the Billboard 200. Cyrus later launched her first fashion line, Miley Cyrus and Max Azria, through Walmart. It was promoted by the release of “Party in the U.S.A.” (2009) and the EP The Time of Our Lives (2009). Cyrus said the album was “a transitioning album really to introduce people to what I want my next record to sound like and with time I will be able to do that a little more”. “Party in the U.S.A.” went on to become one of Cyrus’ most successful singles to date, and is considered one of her signature songs. She next embarked on her first world tour, the Wonder World Tour (2009), which was a critical and commercial success. On December 7, 2009, Cyrus performed for Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the British Royal Family at the Royal Variety Performance in Blackpool, Lancashire.
Billboard ranked her as the fourth, best-selling female artist of 2009.
2010–2012: Can’t Be Tamed and focus on acting
Hoping to foster a more mature image, Cyrus starred in the film The Last Song (2010), based on the Nicholas Sparks novel. It garnered a generally negative critical reaction,though it was a box office hit. While filming, she began a romantic relationship with her co-star, Liam Hemsworth. Cyrus further attempted to change her image with the release of her third studio album, Can’t Be Tamed (2010). The album featured a more dance-oriented sound than her prior releases, and caused a considerable amount of controversy because of its lyrical content and Cyrus’ live performances. It sold 106,000 copies in its first week of release, and became her first studio album not to top the Billboard 200 chart in the United States. Due to the controversy surrounding the release, the album’s second, and final single, “Who Owns My Heart” was released solely in select European territories. Cyrus released her final soundtrack as “Hannah Montana” that October; it was a commercial failure. Cyrus’ decline in sales for these releases was attributed to her controversial image.
Cyrus was the center of more controversy when a video posted online in December 2010 showed a then eighteen Cyrus smoking salvia with a bong. 2010 ended with her ranked number thirteen on Forbes Celebrity 100 list.
She embarked on her worldwide Gypsy Heart Tour (2011) in April, which featured no North American dates. Cyrus cited her various controversial moments as the reason behind this, claiming she only wanted to travel where she felt “the most love”. Following the release of Can’t Be Tamed, Cyrus officially parted ways with longtime record label Hollywood Records. With Hannah Montana now officially over, Cyrus announced that she planned to take a hiatus from music to focus on her film career. She commented, “I’ve not taken, like, acting lessons or anything, but it doesn’t mean I don’t need to because I’m sure I do … I’m probably going to go book an acting coach.” She later confirmed she would not be going to college for the time being, stating that ” a firm believer that you can go back at any age you want”, and that she “[had] worked hard to get to where [she is] now, and [wanted] to enjoy it while it lasts”.
Cyrus hosted the March 5, 2011, episode of Saturday Night Live, during which she performed in a number of skits and poked fun at her recent controversies. She later made an appearance on the MTV series Punk’d, appearing with Kelly Osbourne and Khloé Kardashian. Cyrus starred in the independent film LOL (2012) with Demi Moore. The film had a limited release, and was critically and commercially unsuccessful. She then starred in the comedy film So Undercover, appearing as an FBI agent who is required to go undercover at a college sorority. It was also reported on August 2, 2011, by Contact Music that Cyrus had signed on to star in an untitled comedy in which she plays a woman who breaks a promise to God. It was later announced that Cyrus would star in the film Family Bond, portraying a girl who tracks down her estranged spy father in an attempt to save her kidnapped mother.
Cyrus released a string of live performances known as the Backyard Sessions through YouTube during the spring and summer of 2012; the performances were of classic songs that Cyrus personally liked. Having begun working on a failed fourth album the previous year, Cyrus resumed working on a new musical project in late 2012. She collaborated with producers Rock Mafia on their song “Morning Sun” (2012), which was made available for free download online. She had previously appeared in the music video for their debut single, “The Big Bang” (2010). Cyrus later provided guest vocals on “Decisions” (2012) by Borgore. Both Cyrus and Hemsworth appeared in the music video for the track. She went on to appear as Missi in two episodes of the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men. She was also confirmed as a primary voice actress in the feature film Hotel Transylvania, but dropped out of the project to coordinate her musical comeback. On May 31, it was announced that Cyrus and Hemsworth were engaged following a nearly three-year, on-again, off-again relationship. Cyrus generated considerable media attention after cutting her traditionally long, brown hair in favor of a blonde, pixie cut; she commented that she had “never felt more [herself] in [her] whole life” and that “it really changed [her] life”.
2013–2015: Bangerz and Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz
In 2013, Cyrus hired Larry Rudolph to be her manager; Rudolph is best known for representing Britney Spears. It was soon confirmed that Cyrus had signed a new recording contract with RCA Records to distribute her future releases. She worked with producers such as Pharrell Williams and Mike Will Made-It on her fourth studio album, resulting in a hip-hop influenced sound. She collaborated with numerous hip-hop artists’ releases and appeared on the Snoop Lion song “Ashtrays and Heartbreaks” (2013), released as the lead single from his twelfth studio album, Reincarnated, in April 2013. She worked with will.i.am on the song “Fall Down” (2013), released as a promotional single that same month. The song entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number fifty-eight, marking her first appearance on the chart since “Can’t Be Tamed” (2010). She provided guest vocals on the Lil Twist song “Twerk”, which also featured vocals by Justin Bieber. The song went unreleased for unknown reasons, though it was leaked online. On May 23, 2013, it was confirmed that Cyrus would be featured on the Mike Will Made It single “23”, with Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J. The single went on to peak at number eleven on the Hot 100, and has sold over one million copies worldwide since its release.
Cyrus released her new single “We Can’t Stop” on June 3. Touted as her comeback single, it went on to become a worldwide commercial success, topping the charts in territories such as the United Kingdom. The song’s music video set the VEVO record for most views within twenty-four hours of release, and became the first to reach 100 million views on the site. Cyrus performed with Robin Thicke at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, a performance that resulted in widespread media attention and public scrutiny. Her simulated sex acts with a foam finger were described as “disturbing”, and the whole performance as “cringe-worthy”. Cyrus released “Wrecking Ball” (2013) as the second single from Bangerz on the same day as the VMAs. The song became an instant hit, and its accompanying music video showing her swinging naked on a wrecking ball was viewed over nineteen million times within its first day of release. The single became Cyrus’ first single to top the Hot 100 chart in the United States having sold over two million copies.
After months of media speculation, on September 16, 2013, a representative for Cyrus announced that she and Hemsworth had decided to call off their engagement, ending their four-year relationship. On October 2 MTV aired the documentary Miley: The Movement, which chronicled the recording of her fourth studio album Bangerz, which was released on October 4. It was a commercial success, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200 with first week sales of 270,000 copies. On October 5, Cyrus hosted Saturday Night Live for the second time; she received mostly positive critical reviews which called the episode “good but not great”.[not in citation given] On November fifth, rapper Future’s “Real and True” was released as a single featuring Cyrus and Mr. Hudson; an accompanying music video premiered five days later on November 10, 2013. In late 2013 she was declared Artist of the Year by MTV. On January 29, 2014, she played an acoustic concert show on MTV Unplugged, performing songs from Bangerz featuring a guest appearance by Madonna. It became the highest rated MTV Unplugged in the past decade with over 1.7 million streams. Cyrus was also featured in the Marc Jacobs spring 2014 ad campaign along with Natalie Westling and Esmerelda Seay Reynolds. She launched her controversial Bangerz Tour (2014) that year, which received a generally positive reception. On April 1, about two months into her tour, Cyrus received news her Alaskan Klee Kai, Floyd, was found mauled to death at her home in Studio City after engaging in a fight with a coyote. The incident traumatized Cyrus to the point where by the end of her tour, Cyrus had dedicated her life to veganism and has since continued promoting it. Two weeks later, Cyrus suffered an allergic reaction to the antibiotic cephalexin, prescribed to treat a sinus infection, resulting in her hospitalization in Kansas City. Though she rescheduled some of her US tour dates, she resumed the tour two weeks later, beginning with the European leg.
While collaborating with The Flaming Lips on their remake of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Cyrus began working with Wayne Coyne on her fifth studio album. She claimed that she was taking her time to focus on the music, and that the album would not be released until she felt it was ready. Coyne compared his collaborative material with Cyrus to the catalogs of Pink Floyd and Portishead, and described their sound as being “a slightly wiser, sadder, more true version” of Cyrus’ pop music output. During most of the time she was recording of the album, she was in a romantic relationship with actor Patrick Schwarzenegger. Cyrus also worked on the films The Night Before (2015) and A Very Murray Christmas (2015) during this period; both roles were cameos. Reports began to surface in 2015 that Cyrus was working on two albums simultaneously, one of which she hoped to release at no charge. This was confirmed by her manager who claimed she was willing to end her contract with RCA Records if they refused to let her release a free album. Cyrus was the host of the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, making her the first openly pansexual host of those awards, and gave a surprise performance of a new song “Dooo It!” (2015) during the show’s finale. Immediately following the performance, Cyrus announced that her fifth studio album, Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz (2015), was available for free streaming on SoundCloud. The album was written and produced primarily by Cyrus, and has been called experimental and psychedelic, with elements of psychedelic pop, psychedelic rock, and alternative pop.
2016–2017: The Voice and Younger Now
In 2016, following the release of her fifth studio album the previous year, Cyrus resumed working on her upcoming sixth studio album. She was a key advisor during the tenth season of the reality singing competition The Voice. After months of speculation, it was confirmed in March 2016 that Cyrus had rekindled her relationship with Liam Hemsworth. That same month, it was announced that Cyrus had signed on as a coach for the eleventh season of The Voice as a replacement for Gwen Stefani; Cyrus is the youngest judge to appear in any incarnation of the series. In September 2016, Cyrus co-starred in Crisis in Six Scenes, a television series Woody Allen created for Amazon Studios. She plays the part of a radical activist who causes chaos in a conservative 1960s household while hiding from the police. On September 17, 2016, she appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon where she sang Bob Dylan’s “Baby, I’m In the Mood for You”, a rendition that Fallon called “fantastic”. In October 2016, Cyrus confirmed that she was once again engaged to Liam Hemsworth.
On May 11, 2017, Cyrus released “Malibu” as the lead single from her sixth album. The single debuted at No. 64 on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at No. 10 on the chart on its second week. On June 9, Cyrus released “Inspired” after performing the song at the One Love Manchester benefit concert. It serves as a promotional single from her upcoming album. On August 8, Cyrus announced that her sixth studio album would be titled Younger Now and would be released on September 29, 2017. The album’s title track was released as the second single from the album on August 18, and debuted and peaked at No. 79 on the Billboard Hot 100. On August 27, Cyrus performed the track at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards. On September 15, she performed “Malibu”, “Younger Now”, “See You Again”, “Party in the U.S.A.” and a cover of Roberta Flack’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” for the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge. Cyrus also returned as a coach in the thirteenth season of The Voice after taking a one-season hiatus. On October 5, 2017, Cyrus confirmed that she would not be returning to The Voice for season fourteen, saying she did not “have any more seasons lined up”. On October 30, 2017, Cyrus said she would not tour for or release any further singles from Younger Now, wanting to focus on The Voice.
2018–present: Upcoming seventh studio album and marriage
Before she released Younger Now in September 2017, Cyrus expressed she was “already two songs deep on the next [album].” Collaborators attached to Cyrus’ seventh studio album include previous partner Mike Will Made It and new partners Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt. Her first collaboration with Ronson, “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart”, was released on November 29.
On the night of November 11, 2018, Cyrus broke a longstanding social media blackout meant to lead to the premiere of “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” to reveal her and Hemswoth’s home burned in the Woolsey wildfire. At the time of the incident, Cyrus was filming her guest role on location in South Africa for the British anthology series Black Mirror. In her posts, she expressed devastation for her community and acknowledged the safety of herself, her husband (fiancé at the time), and their many pets, while providing links for her followers to donate time, money, and resources to groups and charities in the effort to relieve the effects of the 2018 California wildfires. In response to the fire consuming their community, the couple and several fellow Malibu residents launched The Malibu Foundation to provide relief for the effects of the Woolsey fire. The couple donated $500,000 to the organization through Cyrus’s primary non-profit, The Happy Hippie Foundation. She and Hemsworth were two of many resident entertainers in the area, including Neil Young and Robin Thicke, and two of several thousands of Malibu and Los Angeles residents, who lost their homes in the fire.
On December 23, 2018, Hemsworth wed Cyrus in a private wedding ceremony in their living room in Franklin, Tennessee.