Miley Cyrus has made headlines with rumors that her new song Flowers shades ex-husband Liam Hemsworth. In search of the truth, we're looking back at all their relationship drama through the years...
On January 20, 2023, it was announced that Miley Cyrus' song Flowers had broken Spotify records for the most-streamed song in a single week. Since its release, it has been played over 100 million times.
"Thank you so much @Spotify and my amazing fans," Miley tweeted in response to the news. She released the song and video on January 13, a teaser for her upcoming album, Endless Summer Vacation. While the single itself was a hit, there appeared to be another, more alarming reason the tune was making waves this way.
As soon as the song dropped, loyal fans immediately began to speculate - were there secret references to certain events during the singer's relationship with Liam Hemsworth? Fans believed it was no coincidence that the song dropped on Liam's 33rd Birthday and began analyzing each word of the lyrics.
Hundreds were putting forward their theories on what each line and music video scene really meant. As for the truth behind them, Miley has yet to confirm or deny it all. Before we break it all down, we're providing the necessary context by tracking the couple's relationship timeline from the very start...
2009: The First Meeting
Liam and Miley met on the set of The Last Song, the movie adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name. The two on-screen lovers were believed to have fallen instantly in love. When they were pictured in March 2010 making their red-carpet debut at an Oscars party, it was seen as confirmation of their union.
"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," Miley told People magazine in April 2010. A then 20-year-old Liam described their relationship as "pretty serious" and complimented his girlfriend's "big heart," which was "just so open."
August 2010: Split #1
In the summer of 2010, breakup rumors began to circulate after Liam and Miley were not pictured together for an extended period of time. Although the couple denied these rumors for a few months, a representative for Liam finally confirmed the split in August 2010.
"They're both young. To say they are done forever would be premature, but it's safe to say for now they are doing their own thing," a source told E! News. Unknown to them and the public, this would be the first of many breakups for the young lovebirds. For the next decade, they would separate and reunite multiple times.
September 2010: Back Together
In fact, just one month after news of their separation was made public, the pair were seen together at an LA coffee shop where eyewitnesses testified that they "definitely seemed like a couple again." One source said, "Miley and Liam kept smiling and seemed to really enjoy their afternoon together."
Just a week later, things were taken up a notch when the couple was caught on a dinner date in California. Those who witnessed the pair sitting together reported that Miley had been whispering in Liam's ear and that they "looked so in love." People magazine later referenced a source that confirmed they were officially back on.
November 2010: Breakup #2
Unfortunately, the sweet reunion wasn't long-lived because Miley and Liam parted ways once again in November 2010. At the time, People magazine quoted a source who said, "their on- and off-again relationship is currently off. But you never know with Miley and Liam. They could be back on at some point."
They also noted a second source which confirmed that "There was no drama. The relationship just ran its course. They were good friends first and remained friends." Would this be the final chapter in the Liam-Miley relationship rollercoaster? Of course not; there were many more ups and downs to come.
March 2011: On, Again
In March 2011, E! News reported that Miley and Liam were giving their relationship yet another chance but committing to "taking it slow" this time. The publication quoted a source close to Liam who said, "They've been hanging out a lot. They've been trying to do it away from the cameras."
By the end of the year, the couple had confirmed these sources to be correct when they made numerous public appearances together. These included the CNN Heroes Gala in December 2011 and the Vanity Fair Oscars Party in February 2012. That same month, Liam told Details magazine that Miley makes him "really happy."
June 2012: Engaged at Last
Rumors that the pair had gotten engaged began to swirl when Miley accompanied her boyfriend to The Hunger Games premiere in 2012, rocking a ring on that finger. Miley immediately took to Twitter to deny these rumors. "I'm not engaged. I've worn this same ring on this finger since November!" she wrote.
In June 2012, it was proven that the couple HAD been fooling us all the time when they confirmed they were, in fact, engaged! "I'm so happy to be engaged and look forward to a life of happiness with Liam," Miley told People. Liam had indeed put a ring on it - a 3.5-carat diamond from Neil Lane, to be precise.
March 2013: Trouble in Paradise?
The months following the engagement saw Miley talking excitedly about her upcoming wedding. Yet, fans began to worry when no date was seemingly being set. Then, in March 2013, these concerns intensified when the singer was seen out and about without her ring.
"I am so sick of La. And sick of the lies that come with it," Miley tweeted in response to these rumors, seemingly denying their credibility. "I didn't call off my wedding. Taking a break from social media. #draining" Fans prayed she was telling the truth this time.
April 2013: Wedding Postponed
Things weren't looking good when news spread that the couple was postponing their wedding. "They want to figure out their life together before they get married," a source told People. Although the pair had never confirmed a date for their pending nuptials, it was initially believed to be set for the summer of 2013.
In an attempt to console the fans, the source added, "They're still engaged and living together, and they just realized that there is no rush with the wedding and that it's better that they wait a bit." If this was factually correct, there seemed to still be some hope...
September 2013: Canceled Engagement
"The wedding is off," reported E! News in September of that year. Quoting multiple sources, they noted that the couple had called off their engagement entirely. It was "Miley's decision," the source close to the singer revealed. "After coming to grips with Liam being what she believed was less than faithful to her."
The source admitted that Miley was "doing good," choosing to channel her energy and focus into her singing career. "She is excited to launch her album in coming weeks," they said. Miley appeared to put the final nail in their relationship when she unfollowed Liam on Twitter shortly after these reports broke.
2014-2015: Looking Back
With the two officially broken up, the two spent the next two years dating others and reflecting on their times together. Before coming out as pansexual, Miley briefly dated Patrick Schwarzenegger. Hemsworth was reportedly seen kissing singer Eiza González.
In October 2015, Liam talked to Men's Fitness about their tumultuous relationship. "It wasn't just a fling. It really was an important part of my life and always will be," he admitted. One month later, The Wagmor Luxury Pet Hotel and Spa revealed that Miley had helped Liam adopt a six-month-old puppy. What did this mean?
January 3, 2016: Reconciliation Rumors
In January 2016, the rumor mill was back up and running when Miley was photographed hanging out with her ex-fiancee's family in Australia. One particular image that had many buzzing was the one posted by Elsa Pataky - the wife of Liam's brother. "I love people I can be crazy with!!" she wrote before tagging Miley.
A People report that the two were growing closer in Australia sent the pop culture sphere up in flames. "His family was very hesitant about a marriage in the past, but they really got to know Miley better when she spent time in Australia a few weeks ago," their source claimed. "Everyone seems excited that they are back together."
January 18, 2016: It's Official
Days later, after Miley was spotted wearing the ring again, People confirmed that the Liam-Miley engagement was back on. "Miley is beyond happy to be engaged to Liam again," their source revealed. "It might seem sudden, but they have been very close for the past few months."
"They just wanted to keep their relationship out of the spotlight while they figured things out," the source continued. "Liam never liked how exposed his life was with Miley." They also noted that this time around, "They both seem much more mature," and they were "making changes for their relationship to work."
May 2017: Refalling in Love
After a year and a half of PDA-filled Instagram moments, it seemed things were finally going smoothly for the couple. In May 2017, Miley sat down with Billboard magazine to reflect on their time apart which she believed was necessary for both of them but made the reunion that much harder.
"I needed to change so much. And changing with someone else not changing like that is too hard," she explained. "Suddenly, you're like, 'I don't recognize you anymore.' We had to refall for each other." And boy, did they refall hard. They purchased a Malibu home together and lived blissfully with their dogs, pigs, and horses.
September 2017: Taking Things Slow
Despite the relationship hitting its stride, it seemed that making it official in the eyes of God was still not a priority for the pair. In September 2017, the singer told The Sun that she wasn't "envisioning marriage" any time soon. "I hope I get to live a little bit more. I have too much living to do," she declared.
"Three years ago, if you'd asked me if I'd be here, this happy with this man, I'd have been stunned," she said. "In some relationships, you lose yourself by being with someone else. Actually, it made me find myself more. I have no idea what the next three years will bring, but if it's possible to get even happier, I'll take it."
November 2018: California Fires
In November 2018, the state of California saw one of its most deadly wildfires in history. Many tragically lost their lives, and thousands of people were forced to evacuate their homes. Amongst those who saw their houses turned to ash were Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, who spoke publicly of their loss and heartbreak.
"It's been a heartbreaking few days. This is what's left of my house. Love," Liam tweeted shortly after. "Completely [devastated] by the fires affecting my community. I am one of the lucky ones," Miley then posted. "My animals and LOVE OF MY LIFE made it out safely & that's all that matters right now."
December 2018: Secret Wedding?
On December 23, 2018, a video posted by Liam's close friend Conrad Carr sent waves through the internet as it seemed to suggest Miley and Liam had finally tied the knot. It featured the Hemsworth brothers in front of Mr. and Mrs. balloons and the couple dressed in traditional bride and groom attire while cutting a cake.
Not looking to make the fans wait, Miley waited just three days to confirm they were husband and wife. Sharing black and white photos of them kissing on the big day, she captioned them, "12.23.18" and "10 years later ….." Her new hubby did the same, writing "My love" in the description.
August 2019: Separation
In response to Miley being seen on vacation without her ring on August 10, rumors began to circulate whether the pair had separated. Later that day, Miley's representative confirmed the fan's fears, stating that the married couple had gone their separate ways.
"Liam and Miley have agreed to separate at this time," the statement read. "Ever-evolving, changing as partners and individuals, they have decided this is what's best while they both focus on themselves and careers. Please respect their process and privacy." One day later, Miley was snapped kissing Kaitlynn Carter.
February 2020: Divorce is Final
On August 21, 2019, Liam filed for divorce from Miley, listing "irreconcilable differences" as the cause. This triggered what would be a long, drawn-out, and drama-filled divorce process. After splitting up their assets and reaching an agreement, the divorce was made final on February 22, 2020.
In the months following the split, both Miley and Liam were spotted out with new romantic interests. A People source reported that Miley was in a "great" relationship with Cody Simpson after spending Christmas together. Liam was said to be dating Gabriella Brooks.
September 2020: "Divorce Sucks"
Seven months after her divorce was made official, Miley appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, spilling the tea on her separation. "I recently just went through a very public divorce that f__ sucked," she told Joe. "Me and someone that I loved realized that we don't love each other the way that we used to anymore."
She also addressed the public backlash she received after being caught kissing Kaitlynn so shortly after her split from Liam. "It's not, 'One day you were happy on the carpet, and the next you're making out with your friend in Italy,'" she clarified. "Well, there was a lot of time between that you didn't see."
January 2023: Shady Lyrics
One year after Cyrus referred to her marriage to Hemsworth as a "f****g disaster" while on stage at Lollapalooza Brazil in March 2022, the singer released her single, Flowers. With this quote in mind, many believed this song was a follow-up to this revelation, spilling all the details of what exactly went wrong.
Many comparisons were immediately drawn up between the song's words and various events and quotes revealed to the public throughout the couple's on-and-off again courtship. Now, the time you've been waiting for: We'll break down the song, verse by verse, pointing out all of the speculated references.
First and foremost, fans couldn't help but notice the matching lyrics to Bruno Mars' song If I Was Your Man. It was rumored that Liam dedicated this song to Miley during their secret, intimate wedding ceremony, leading fans to see this song as an "answer back."
"I should have bought you flowers and held your hand," Bruno sang. "I can buy myself flowers, and I can hold my own hand," Miley belted. "Should have gave you all my hours, take you to every party 'cause all you wanted to do was dance," Bruno continued. "Talk to myself for hours, I can take myself dancing," Miley sang.
The Lost Mansion
"Built a home and watched it burn," Miley sang in the opening verse. Many noted this to be a reference to the home the couple built and lost in the California fire. In a December 2020 Howard Stern interview, Cyrus stated her belief that the fire was largely responsible for their decision to finally make their marriage official.
"I had so much, and it was all gone, every song I had ever written was in that house," she recalled. "And me being an intense person and not wanting to sit with it, and not wanting to go, you know, 'What could be purposeful about this?' I just clung to what I had left of that house, which was me and him."
In the same Howard Stern interview, Cyrus noted that while she "always will" love Hemsworth, there was "too much conflict" for the marriage to survive. "When I come home, I want to be anchored by someone," she explained. "I don't get off on drama or fighting."
"I didn't wanna leave you, I didn't wanna fight" was believed by many fans to be a direct reference to the cause of their relationship's demise. The "I can love me better" line was suspected to be a nod to the couple's ongoing disagreements, which left Miley better off without her ex-husband.
In addition to the song's lyrics, the music video was believed to hold plenty of Easter eggs too. In a now-viral tweet, one fan proposed that Miley's dance at the beginning of the video is the same dance she did while appearing on the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscars party red carpet with then-husband Liam Hemsworth.
The video of the couple at the time made headlines as it was believed to show tensions between the lovebirds. "Don't do it, don't do it… We're on the carpet," he was reported to have whispered to her after she twerked in front of him during an interview.
Another claim circulating the internet was that the suit worn by Miley in the music video matches the one worn by Liam at the Avengers: Endgame film premiere in 2019. This is the event where the two were captured on camera in what was believed at the time to be a lover's spat.
Those who watched the clip were convinced he was telling his wife to behave after she pretended to lick him. Fans theorized that if this was the same suit, this moment was perhaps Miley's direct clap-back at this 'verbal abuse' she allegedly received.
The House of Infidelity
Fans also believe that the house where the video was filmed was the one allegedly used by Liam to cheat on Miley. "The house where the music video for Miley Cyrus' Flowers was recorded was previously used by Liam Hemsworth to cheat on Miley with more than 14 women while they were married," someone tweeted.
Not only are these rumors unfounded, but Miley actually denied any infidelity had taken place. "I can admit to a lot of things, but I refuse to admit that my marriage ended because of cheating," she tweeted after their 2019 split. "Liam and I have been together for a decade; I love Liam and always will."
The most attentive fans picked up on one more detail which they believe proved an affair had taken place between Liam Hemsworth and his Hunger Games co-star Jennifer Lawrence. Lawrence appeared on the red carpet of the 2012 LA premiere of The Hunger Games dressed in a golden dress, with her hair loosely tied back.
In the Flowers music video eleven years later, Miley is seen dancing around in a strikingly similar long gold gown, hair messily tied back to match. Some believed this was Miley's purposeful dig at the pair - a public call out for the rumored affair. Again, this is disputed by her earlier tweet that no infidelity took place.
Addressing the Rumors
During an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Lawrence was asked about the rumors that Flowers was referencing a fling the actress had with Liam while he was still with Miley. "Not true," Lawrence replied. "I mean, we all know me and Liam, like, kissed one time. It was years after they'd broke up."
Lawrence also dismissed the idea that the gold dress Cyrus wore in the music video was a reference to a gown she had worn in 2012. Despite the rumors, Lawrence and Hemsworth have remained close friends since their time working together on The Hunger Games franchise.
The Breaking Point
In a recent TikTok video, Miley revealed the moment she new her relationship with Liam was over. Referring to a June 2019 performance at Glastonbury Festival in the UK, she said, "The day of the [Glastonbury] show was the day I had decided it was no longer going to work in my life to be in that relationship."
"Me and Liam’s commitment to being married, of course came from a place of love first because we had been together for 10 years, but also from a place of trauma and just trying to rebuild as quickly as we could," she said, referencing the devastating fire that had destroyed their Malibu home.
The Saga Continues
Fans can't help but wonder if Miley will ever spill the tea on what her hit song Flowers is really about. The singer's decision to neither confirm nor deny may be her attempt to keep her secrets to herself, or it's just one big attempt for a media takeover...
Either way, with over 100 million plays and endless theory videos on social media, she's clearly doing something right. With all these rumors attracting millions of people to play her song, we're guessing she won't be putting the speculation storm to rest any time soon...