During her first public appearance since her August 10 split with Liam Hemsworth, Miley Cyrus was supported by reality TV star Kaitlynn Carter at the MTV VMA Awards.
Cyrus, 26, performed the debut live version of her new breakup single Slide Away, which apparently references the end of her eight-month marriage and 10-year romance with Hemsworth.
The Wrecking Ball singer was a last-minute surprise inclusion to the VMAs lineup of performers.
Last month she declared on Instagram there was “no f—–g way” she would go to the VMAs after receiving just two nominations and having her Mothers Daughter and Nothing Breaks Like a Heart videos snubbed.
She had a change of heart the day before the show, and while she skipped the red carpet, Cyrus was seen backstage with her hand on Carter’s head.
The two women bombarded social media earlier this month with their rebound holiday to Italy, where they were photographed kissing on a yacht days after a rep announced on August 10 the singer and Hemsworth were “lovingly taking this time apart.”
Hemsworth, 29, has stayed out of the spotlight since.
Bunkered down at his brother Chris Hemsworth’s Byron Bay home, he filed for divorce on August 22 and has reportedly hired $850 an hour divorce lawyer Laura Wasser to handle his affairs.
According to The Blast, Hemsworth cited “irreconcilable differences.” The pair signed a prenuptial agreement ahead of their marriage, so a smooth divorce is expected, People reported.
The personal single was released days after the split news became public and its lyrics have been interpreted as throwing shade at Hemsworth over exactly what went wrong.
“Move on, we’re not 17 / I’m not who I used to be,” Cyrus – who met Hemsworth when she was 17 on the set of movie The Last Song, sang onstage.
“You said that everything changed … So it’s time to let it go,” she sang, subtly changing several lyrics and adding the line, “You’re right, I’m grown now” after the original line “We’re grown now”.
The song makes a drug and alcohol reference: “I want my house in the hills / don’t want the whisky and pills / I don’t give up easily but I don’t think I’m down.”
Cyrus finished her performance by adding “Slide to what you know” as her parents Billy Ray and Tish Cyrus clapped their daughter.
Earlier Taylor Swift, whose 10 nods tied with Ariana Grande for the title of most-nominated artist this year, opened the show with her pro-LGBTQ single You Need to Calm Down.
Accepting the video of the year award for the song, Swift said that since the VMAs are chosen by fans, “It means that you want a world where we are all treated equally under the law”.
Missy Elliott received the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award and performed a career-spanning medley. K-Pop stars BTS edged out Australia’s Five Seconds of Summer for best group.
2019 MTV VMA Awards winners
Video of the Year: Taylor Swift, You Need to Calm Down
Artist of the Year: Ariana Grande
Song of the Year: Lil Nas X, Old Town Road (Remix) with Billy Ray Cyrus
Best New Artist: Billie Eilish
Best Collaboration: Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, Señorita
Push Artist of the Year: Billie Eilish
Best Pop: Jonas Brothers, Sucker
Best Hip-Hop: Cardi B, Money
Best R&B: Normani: Waves, with 6LACK
Best Dance: The Chainsmokers, Call You Mine with Bebe Rexha
Best Rock: Panic! At the Disco, High Hopes
Video for Good: Taylor Swift, You Need to Calm Down
Best Power Anthem: Megan Thee Stallion, Hot Girl Summer with Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign
Song of Summer: Ariana Grande and Social House, Boyfriend
Best Visual Effects: Taylor Swift, ME! with Brendon Urie