Before the raging worldwide pandemic that consumed 2020, we had the wildfires of 2018 and 2019 that ravaged both the west coast. During those fires, many people, including Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, lost their homes.
I remember when I first heard that Miley and Liam's house had burned down. I was a junior in college sitting in a car packed with my friends, and as soon as I saw the photo of their home pop up on my Instagram feed, my jaw dropped. Of course, I recognize that you can't control nature and that fire doesn't care who you are. Yet it still seemed like something that couldn't possibly have happened to celebrities, as though fame should have protected them from such natural disasters.
But alas, there they were, posting photos of their completely burned-down Malibu house and the only thing that had survived: four massive cement letters spelling out the word "LOVE."
To me, that was symbolic. If you were to ask me to pick a couple who exemplified the notion of true love, I would immediately tell you that Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus were it.
I was so sure that their love was unbreakable. I was 13 years old when the film adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel The Last Song came out in 2010, and I quickly became obsessed with everything about them and their young, relatable characters. Not only was Ronnie Miller (Cyrus) a child of divorce like me who struggled with resentment, but she lived out my adolescent fantasy throughout the film, learning how to forgive and falling in love. At the ripe young age of 13, my first year of teenhood, the film sparked the beginning of my hopeless romanticism.
What became so exciting about The Last Song wasn't just its plot, but the fact that its young stars became part of co-stars-to-lovers pipeline. We'd seen it before with Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, Sophia Bush and Chad Michael Murray (still not over this one), and, of course, Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling.
This pipeline surely didn't always end up working out, but it was always so thrilling to see that the on-screen chemistry we as viewers got to witness did, in fact, exist in real life. It made the movies even more lovable and influenced the way we saw these relationships. Watching their love IRL made you want to root for them, and honestly, it made you feel like you'd gotten a peek behind the curtains of what their love was really like.
And then there was Miley and Liam. Working together on their movie led them first to each other, and then to many ups and downs. I became somewhat obsessed with everything going on with them, just hoping that it would all work out. I can still remember their first breakup in August of 2010, Miley's performance with Robin Thicke at the 2013 MTV awards (iconic), Liam's makeout sesh with Eiza Gonzalez in 2013, the utter heartbreak I felt when I heard Wrecking Ball, the moment Miley came out as pansexual, the thrill of them getting back together in 2016, the entirety of Miley's album Younger Now being a loving tribute to Liam, and of course to top it all off, their secret wedding in 2018. After everything they had been through, I thought, 'If they can still end up together, they must be meant to be.' A ten-year relationship that led to a wedding seemed like fate.
This hopeless romanticism carried me throughout my teen years and into my early 20s. The idea of "the one" helped me get through some of my own breakups. When I started to regret or question my decisions, this naive belief would remind me that even though my ex and I broken up, if they were meant to be my person, we would find our way back to each other — just like Liam and Miley had found their way back.
But then, ten years later, their movie-like romance came to a crashing halt. Miley and Liam officially split after being married for less than a year. It was like my rose-tinted glasses were suddenly ripped-off of my face and I had to confront the fact that in the real world, even relationships that seem perfect and people that seem like soulmates don't always work out.
Despite it all, months after their divorce was finalized, part of me can't help but revert back to my 13-year-old self and hold onto that tiny glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, one day they'll still find their way back to each other.
Breakups That Broke Us is a weekly column about the failed celebrity relationships that convinced us love is dead.
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