Inspiration can come from anywhere. Singer Miley Cyrus has written plenty of break-up songs. But the most famous of those is “Wrecking Ball.” Recently, she told Kerry Washington that it wasn’t her now ex-husband (and then ex-fiancé) Liam Hemsworth she was thinking about when recording the song’s music video.
Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth had an on-again, off-again relationship
Cyrus and Hemsworth have a complicated history. They first got together while filming their movie, The Last Song. They dated on and off for a couple of years before getting engaged in 2012. The pair famously split in 2013, staying apart for a few years before getting back together in 2016.
This time, Hemsworth and Cyrus remained engaged for years. In late 2018, after their Malibu home was destroyed in a wildfire, they tied the knot. The couple separated in mid-2019, and Hemsworth filed for divorce. Both have moved on in the months since.
‘Wrecking Ball’ is widely believed to be about Hemsworth
The song “Wrecking Ball” was the second single off Cyrus’ 2013 album, Bangerz. The song came out in August 2013, followed by a subsequent music video. Days later, it’s reported that Cyrus and Hemsworth had broken off their engagement.
Cyrus told Ellen DeGeneres in 2013 that Bangerz “is a story of that” breakup from beginning to end, saying, “I feel like you can really find this arc of growth” when listening to it. “It’s a real story,” she added. Months later, Cyrus made headlines for performing the song in London and seemingly indicating once again that it’s about Hemsworth, bashing him.
Cyrus says she once sang the song about her dog
When Cyrus released “Slide Away,” many felt that this was her second “Wrecking Ball” — another emotional song about the end of her and Hemsworth. But speaking to Washington on her Bright Minded Instagram Live show in April 2020, it seems like that’s not the case.
“When I did ‘Wrecking Ball,’ everyone thought I was crying over my breakup. But I was actually crying over my dog [who had just died],” Cyrus said. “And the whole time I was shooting [the video], there was a photo of my dog right underneath the camera. I couldn’t relate to the song that day but it doesn’t matter…I gotta find it. What’s something that really makes me feel like broken pieces? And it was losing my dog.”
Who wrote ‘Wrecking Ball’?
This new information brings about the question: Did Cyrus really write “Wrecking Ball” about Hemsworth? Their breakup wasn’t official when she recorded it. So though they may have been separated, the timing doesn’t quite line up.
The answer was actually clear all along. The song wasn’t originally intended for Cyrus at all — in fact, it was written by Sacha Skarbek, Maureen McDonald (MoZella), and Lukasz Gottwald (aka Dr. Luke). Cyrus (and a few others) got a writing credit on it, but that doesn’t mean that she had a lot to do with the lyrics or composition of it.