Miley Cyrus’ ‘Flowers’ Lyrics Seem To Be a Last Message to Ex Liam Hemsworth

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Miley Cyrus kicked off her new music era in earnest tonight, releasing “Flowers,” the first single from her new album Endless Summer Vacation (out March 10) at midnight London time. It marked the start of her ex-husband Liam Hemsworth’s birthday there.

Fans have speculated that the song may be about her life post-breakup with the actor based on the lyrics, given its “I can love me better, baby” tagline and the timing of the release (Hemsworth’s 33rd birthday).

The full song adds more fuel to this theory, given Cyrus appears to lyrically reference the Woolsey fire where the Malibu home they shared burned down (“We were right ’til we weren’t / Built a home and watched it burn”) and their arguing that led her to realize this relationship wouldn’t work (“I didn’t wanna leave you, baby / I didn’t wanna fight”).

Additionally, Cyrus’s verse about not wanting to leave may be a reference to reports that came out at the time of Hemsworth and Cyrus’s split that she wanted to reconcile. TMZ reported that she had been fighting for their marriage up until the week Hemsworth suddenly filed for divorce, telling him she wanted to work on their relationship.

And her lyric later in the song about not wanting to live a lie (“I didn’t wanna leave you / I didn’t wanna lie”) may be a reference to what a People source said in August 2019 about Cyrus not wanting to completely change who she is to be with Hemsworth. “She just got to the point where she didn’t want to hold back about who she is,” the source said. “She wants to be true to herself. Being with Liam, this was just not possible. For them to be happy, she had to change as a person too much. She knows not being with Liam will make her happier in the long run.”

Cyrus spoke a little about not being a traditional wife to ELLE when she was married: “I think it’s very confusing to people that I’m married,” she said an interview published in July 2019, shortly before her and Hemsworth’s split was announced. “But my relationship is unique. And I don’t know that I would ever publicly allow people in there because it’s so complex, and modern, and new that I don’t think we’re in a place where people would get it. I mean, do people really think that I’m at home in a fucking apron cooking dinner? I’m in a hetero relationship, but I still am very sexually attracted to women. People become vegetarian for health reasons, but bacon is still fucking good, and I know that. I made a partner decision. This is the person I feel has my back the most. I definitely don’t fit into a stereotypical wife role. I don’t even like that word.”

Cyrus and Hemsworth were together on-off for 10 years and got married in December 2018. Their divorce was finalized in January 2020. Cyrus spoke in December 2020 about how she would always love Hemsworth, but there was too much conflict in their relationship for it to be healthy longterm. What she said during that interview about their relationship breakdown also appears to be echoed in the lyrics of “Flowers.”

“We were together since 16,” Cyrus told Howard Stern. “Our house [in Malibu] burned down [during the Woolsey fire]. We had been like, engaged—I don’t know if we really ever thought we were actually going to get married, but when we lost our house in Malibu—which if you listen to my voice pre- and post-fire, they’re very different so that trauma really affected my voice. And I was actually in South Africa, so I couldn’t come home, and like, my animals were tied to a post at the beach. I lost everything. I had polaroids of Elvis, like front row, passed on from—I got a couple grandmas to give me their Elvis polaroids. I always became friends with my friends’ grandmas so I could get the goods from the artists I love.”

“I had so much and it was all gone, every song I had ever written was in that house,” she continued. “Every photograph of me that my parents had given to me, all my scripts, I lost everything. And so in trying to put that back together, instead of going, ‘Oh, nature kind of did something I couldn’t do for myself; it forced me to let go,’ I ran toward the fire. Which is not abnormal, a lot of animals do this and end up dying, like deers run into the forest. You’re attracted to that heat 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. And I really do and did love him very, very, very much and still do, always will.”

Cyrus added later of their dynamic, “There was too much conflict. When I come home, I want to be anchored by someone. I don’t get off on drama or fighting.”

Cyrus and Hemsworth have both moved on and are dating different people. Hemsworth has been with model Gabriella Brooks for over three years. Cyrus, meanwhile, has been dating Maxx Morando for nearly a year.

Here, the full lyrics of “Flowers” to take in, via Genius. You can watch the music video above.

Verse 1
We were good, we were gold
Kind of dream that can’t be sold
We were right ’til we weren’t
Built a home and watched it burn

Pre-Chorus


Hmm, I didn’t wanna leave you, I didn’t wanna lie
Started to cry but then remembered I—

Chorus


I can buy myself flowers
Write my name in the sand
Talk to myself for hours
See things you don’t understand
I can take myself dancing
And I can hold my own hand
Yeah, I can love me better than you can

Post-Chorus


Can love me better, I can love me better, baby
Can love me better, I can love me better, baby

Verse 2


Paint my nails, cherry red
Match the roses that you left
No remorse, no regret
I forget every word you said

Pre-Chorus


Ooh, I didn’t wanna leave you, baby, I didn’t wanna fight
Started to cry but then remembered I—

Chorus


I can buy myself flowers
Write my name in the sand
Talk to myself for hours
See things you don’t understand
I can take myself dancing, yeah
I can hold my own hand
Yeah, I can love me better than you can

Post-Chorus


Can love me better, I can love me better, baby
Can love me better, I can love me better, baby
Can love me better, I can love me better, baby
Can love me better

Bridge


I didn’t wanna leave you, baby, I didn’t wanna fight
Started to cry but then remembered I—

Chorus


I can buy myself flowers (Uh-uh)
Write my name in the sand
Talk to myself for hours (Yeah-eah)
See things you don’t understand
I can take myself dancing, yeah
I can hold my own hand
Yeah, I can love me better than
Yeah, I can love me better than you can

Post-Chorus


Can love me better, I can love me better, baby
Can love me better, I can love me better, baby (Baby)
Can love me better, I can love me better, baby
Can love me better, I—

Headshot of Alyssa Bailey

Senior News and Strategy Editor

Alyssa Bailey is the senior news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she’s not working, she loves running around Central Park, making people take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York City.

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