Miley Cyrus’ ‘Can’t Be Tamed’ Turns 10: How Did the Single Hurt Her Relationship With Disney?

Today, Miley Cyrus couldn’t be more different than she was in her Disney Channel days. The former Hannah Montana star has undergone many evolutions in her career. Now, a decade after the release of one of her most iconic videos, fans are wondering — was this what cemented the end of her work with the House of Mouse? New evidence suggests that could be the case.

The ‘Can’t Be Tamed’ music video was released on May 5, 2010

If the ’00s were Cyrus’ Disney Channel decade, then the 2010s began with her departure from her wholesome look. The Last Song, the film where she met future ex-husband Liam Hemsworth, was released in March 2010, and she followed that up with the first single, “Can’t Be Tamed,” off her new album of the same name.

The single was officially released for purchase on May 18, 2010, but it began playing on the radio on May 3, with a music video following a couple of days later. In the video, Cyrus is a bird-like creature trapped in a cage. It received considerable attention for being a deviation from her usual work.

This was Miley Cyrus’ last album for Disney’s Hollywood Records

The album Can’t Be Tamed was released in June 2010. There were no other U.S. singles off of it, just one single, “Who Owns My Heart,” released in Europe. In comparison, her previous two albums with Disney’s Hollywood Records, Meet Miley Cyrus and Breakout, each had at least two singles.

So why the change? It could be because Disney knew it was about to lose Cyrus — Hannah Montana was coming to an end, and Cyrus had expressed she wanted to make albums that weren’t just pop music. Or it could be because, after “Can’t Be Tamed” and its video, they wanted to disassociate themselves with the artist and refrain from any further promotion of the album.

Did Disney turn on Cyrus?

Miley Cyrus presents her new album 'Can't Be Tamed' on May 31, 2010 in Madrid, Spain.
Miley Cyrus presents her new album ‘Can’t Be Tamed’ on May 31, 2010 in Madrid, Spain. | Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Now, 10 years later, it’s all becoming clear. “I was working for Radio Disney at the time as a Promotional Assistant,” wrote Twitter user @joseonyx of the time when “Can’t Be Tamed” was released. “Im not kidding when I say that the NEXT DAY after this dropped Disney made us cancel EVERYTHING that was connected to Miley Cyrus. No radio play. No mentioning her. NOTHING.”

This isn’t particularly surprising, given how Cyrus has talked about Disney in the past. And the singer herself has essentially confirmed the story. When another user, @MileyUpdates, shared a screenshot of this tweet on their Instagram account @mileycyrusdiary, Cyrus liked it.

She has since called it ‘one of her favorite songs’

Cyrus recently spoke about the song with Jimmy Fallon for The Tonight Show in April 2020. She said she can “still really relate to” the lyrics of “Can’t Be Tamed,” citing the second pre-chorus, where she sings:

I wanna fly, I wanna drive, I wanna go
I wanna be a part of something I don’t know
And if you try to hold me back, I might explode
Baby, by now you should know
I can’t be tamed

“So I was already telling y’all that something was about to happen, that I wasn’t Hannah Montana,” she continued, adding that “Can’t Be Tamed” is “one of [her] favorite songs.” Even if it led to her departure from Disney, it seems like Cyrus made the right move.