Inside Miley Cyrus' Years-Long Sobriety Journey

It's wild to think that the same popstar who once smoked a joint while accepting an award at the 2013 MTV EMA awards is now sober, but that's where 2024 has brought us. As she first announced in 2020, Miley Cyrus has officially hung up her pasties and foam fingers of yesteryear, thrown out her bongs, and embraced a clean and sober lifestyle. The "Malibu" singer first spoke with Variety about her journey to sobriety, explaining that it was unintentional (at first).

"At the beginning, it was just about this vocal surgery," she said, referencing the 2019 operation she underwent to correct her swollen vocal cords. However, the initial sobriety prompted Cyrus to explore her own feelings around trauma and abandonment. "My mom was adopted, and I inherited some of the feelings she had, the abandonment feelings and wanting to prove that you're wanted and valuable," she explained, adding that she did some digging into her family's history and uncovered their longstanding struggles with addiction and mental health. "By understanding the past, we understand the present and the future much more clearly," Cyrus added.

While the pop star seemed to be sober and happy at the time — even expressing that she loved waking up and not feeling "groggy" — sobriety journeys are rarely linear. Since 2020, Cyrus has "fallen off the wagon," gotten sober again, and clarified that her own sober journey shouldn't dictate other people's relationships with alcohol and recreational drugs.

Miley Cyrus reflected on getting sober

Like other former Disney stars including Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus has gotten sober and then relapsed. For her, the COVID-19 pandemic provided the perfect storm. In November 2020, the "Flowers" singer sat down with Apple Music's Zane Lowe and opened up about falling off. "I, like a lot of people ... during the pandemic fell off ... and I would never sit here and go, 'I've been f***ing sober,'" she said. "I realize that I'm now back on sobriety, two weeks sober, and I feel like I've really accepted that time and one of the things I've used is: 'Don't get furious, get curious.' So don't be mad at yourself, but ask ... 'What happened?'" 

Cyrus went on to explain that she hopes others don't take their sobriety cues from her. As she tells it, she never had a drinking problem, but rather realized she isn't a "moderation person," explaining ,"I don't think that everyone has to be sober, everyone has to do what's best for them."

A month later, the Disney alum told Rolling Stone that she was still sober. Cyrus also clarified that her relapse was due to alcohol, not drugs. "I haven't done drugs in years ... From sitting here with you right now, I would say it would have to be a cold day in hell for me to relapse on drugs," she said. It's ironic, given that Cyrus of her "Bangerz" era was such a huge advocate of weed.

Miley Cyrus is sober today

Miley Cyrus' mom Tish Cyrus has spoken publicly about her daughter's clean lifestyle. When the songbird first got sober in 2020, Tish publicly debunked Miley's "wild child" reputation, calling her "the cleanest person I know." Tish told "Chicks in the Office" hosts Ria Ciuffo and Fran Mariano, "First of all, Miley doesn't even smoke pot anymore. She smokes CBD only. She doesn't drink." On a February 2024 episode of "Call Her Daddy," Tish revealed that, with Miley's encouragement, she began smoking weed at night to help quell her anxiety. "That's how it started. And I started smoking to go to sleep. The tables have really turned though, 'cause now [Miley is] sober," she said.

Along with Miley's half-sister Brandi Cyrus, Tish hosts the podcast "Sorry We're Stoned," where they speak about everything from addiction to Cyrus family dynamics. In a February episode, the duo traced Miley's unlikely path to sobriety, recalling a rough period in her teens and 20s. (Anyone else thinking about that foam finger?) "It was harder when Miley was younger and in her terrible teens and all that," Tish expressed. "But being able to be with her at all times throughout her career and process, I mean I just couldn't be more proud of her."

FWIW, Miley is very close to Tish, and even sided with her mother in the wake of her dad, Billy Ray Cyrus' marriage to country singer Firerose. But something tells us Billy Ray is proud of Miley's sobriety, too.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse and mental health, please contact SAMHSA's 24-hour National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).