The truth about growing up as Miley Cyrus' little sister

Being the youngest child in a family is something many people can relate to, but growing up best known as the youngest member of a famous family isn't quite as relatable. When you add in the element of having an older sibling who starred on Hannah Montana, well, that is simply something only one person on this spinning orb we call Earth can fully understand ... but Noah Cyrus' remarks about navigating her childhood in the shadow of sister Miley Cyrus' showbiz success can give us a glimpse into the experience.

Noah is the youngest of six kids in a family that has been in the spotlight ever since patriarch Billy Ray Cyrus sang about his "Achy Breaky Heart" in the early '90s. That spotlight only brightened once Miley's own career began, and from an early age, Noah realized she could not avoid it. She eventually followed in their footsteps by pursuing a career in the music industry, all the while trying to maintain her sense of self. As Noah told NPR in May 2020, "I was, to the public eye, Billy Ray Cyrus' daughter and Miley Cyrus' little sister, and that hurt me. I felt as if I lost my own identity." 

You'll never guess what else Noah Cyrus has said about being related to the "Party In the U.S.A." hitmaker.

Noah Cyrus felt overwhelmed by her sister's fame from an early age

In April 2020, Noah Cyrus opened up about how she used to deal with being Miley Cyrus' younger sister in "The Mischief Issue" of tmrw magazine (via E! News). As a kid, the singer admitted she would lock herself in her bedroom and shut the lights off to "hide" from the pressures that came with being part of a famous family. Noah added, "Somebody not even coming up to you and calling you by your name? That's going to really f**k you up as a kid, make you feel like you don't even matter to the population — for them to not even know your name."

When the "I'm Stuck" hitmaker spoke with Apple Music's Rebecca Judd the following month, she shared some more insight on how being known as the little sister of one of the biggest pop stars on the planet impacted her self-worth. As Billboard reported, Noah said, "It's not, 'I know you, but aren't you also so and so's little brother?' It would be, 'You're Miley Cyrus' little sister. You're Hannah Montana's little sister.' It wouldn't be a question, it would be a statement when they came up to me."

Noah continued, "It really stripped me of my identity as a little kid, and that's what it felt like. It felt like no one gave a... about me, myself."

Miley Cyrus' little sister was subjected to online scrutiny as a child

Long before she pursued a music career of her own, Noah Cyrus was just a kid-turned-public-figure who was criticized online simply for being a famous person's sibling. She told Paper in 2019: "When I was little, I wasn't posting pictures of myself — those pictures were just on the internet because my family was my family. I read the comments about my face and things they would change about me. That made me grow to hate my face and my body. That still sticks with me." 

Back in 2015, Popdust reported that the pressures that came with being the younger sister of a very famous person drove the then-15-year-old Noah to get a makeover. As the singer herself told tmrw magazine five years later (via E! News), "There's no mercy from people who see you only as public. I would say what bothers me the most is that people think that they can just say whatever the f**k they want, and it doesn't really have a consequence to it or it doesn't affect anything 'cause it's said over the internet. There's so much power to the internet ... and it's so f**ked up, man."

As Noah succinctly put it during a 2017 issue of W magazine, "Everybody's like, 'Who hurt you?' I'm like, 'The internet.'"

Noah Cyrus is not a Perez Hilton fan

Before he famously went on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2010 to announce that he decided he was going to "do things differently" on his website, celebrity gossip writer Perez Hilton regularly targeted a number of young stars ... including Miley Cyrus and Noah Cyrus. And his cruel comments stuck with Noah. When The Florida-Times Union asked what it was like to be picked apart online on a regular basis in 2018, the "July" singer replied that Hilton was often the guilty party. "He always has something to say about me, but I'm not going to point fingers at just him because I hate when he does that to me," she said. "A lot of people would have something to say especially when I was a young girl. I felt like that was unfair and I still feel like that's unfair."

While speaking with Paper magazine a year later, Noah noted that the duo's dislike for one another was very much mutual, saying, "He's treated me like s**t since I was a kid. He used to call Miley the 'Disney Channel Whore.' F**k people like that, because it's people like that who made me how I am." The singer-songwriter went on to joke that her 2019 song, "F***younoah," "should be called 'F**k You, Perez Hilton.'"

Don't get her wrong, Noah Cyrus loves being a part of the Cyrus family

As intense as growing up with famous relatives could be at times, Noah Cyrus maintains that the Cyrus Bunch is "a really cool family to be in." In a 2017 issue of V Magazine magazine, the Ponyo star explained, "Everyone is super creative in the family. My mom was a producer — she still is ... My brother Braison is one of the most talented guys I've ever met. He can pick up any instrument and learn it in like 10 minutes. My brother Trace is in a band called Metro Station. My sister Brandi is in the new show with my mom on Bravo." As for older sis Miley Cyrus? Noah added that she's "so creative and so passionate about everything she does."

And Noah is known to wear her love for her kin on her sleeve. In December 2019, the youngest Cyrus got the family's name tattooed to her arm, and even shared a photo of the ink on Instagram, writing to her dad and siblings Miley and Trace Cyrus, "Now we match."

Miley Cyrus' little sister isn't shocked people say they sound alike

When Noah Cyrus' debut single, "Make Me (Cry)," dropped in 2016, the comparisons to Miley Cyrus immediately came rolling in: Cosmopolitan noted that it's "clear that Miley and Noah not only look alike but also sound a little bit alike too (though Noah's voice has kind of a husky Lana Del Rey thing going on as well)," while InStyle wrote that the single "showcases a gravelly voice much like her older sibling's sound." Similarly, MTV News pointed out that Noah's "vocals sound awfully similar to Miley's circa 2008." They're not wrong ... and young Noah saw these comparisons coming from a mile-y away (we had to). 

"We're going to be told that we sound alike," she told Billboard around the time of the song's release. "I've been expecting that. It doesn't take me by surprise, and it doesn't bother me." However, when Noah revisited this subject in a 2017 NME interview, she admitted, "[The comparisons to Miley] really don't make sense to me but no they don't annoy me. I have always been me as my own person so what other people said didn't really bother me. I knew that there would be comparisons and stuff but I didn't let like that get in the way of wanting to make music."

Turns out, there are far worse things than being told you sound just like your tremendously talented singer of a sister.

Noah Cyrus doesn't always turn to her family for music advice

Noah Cyrus is obviously related to two incredibly accomplished musicians, but that doesn't mean she always feels the need to seek out their input when it comes to making her own music. In 2018, she told Cosmopolitan, "Everybody thinks that I would go to Miley and my dad for advice and I get that they're very successful and very big in the music industry, but I look at them as my sister and my dad." The "Lonely" singer added that when it comes to her career, "I'm going to my management for advice, and I'm going to people that I work with mostly."

Going on to say that she believes people assume she reaches out to the famous dad-daughter duo "for permission whenever [she has] a record," Noah explained that this is not the case. Revealing that she doesn't even play her music for Miley before it's released, she said, "Of course, my sister and my dad, I respect as musicians and look up to them, but people kind of forget that they're my family, so my first reaction isn't always, 'Let me see what my dad and Miley think about this record.'" Makes sense.

Noah Cyrus just wants to do her own thing

As similar as their voices may sound, Noah Cyrus has made a concerted effort to keep her career separate from older sister Miley Cyrus'. While speaking with Billboard in 2017, Noah explained, "I'm doing my thing, and Miley's doing hers. I've always wanted to be my own person. Even when I was 'Noah who rode horses,' I wanted to be Noah Cyrus, not anyone else or a family member." 

Basically, Noah values her independence and being seen as her own person. As she told tmrw magazine (via E! News) in April 2020, "I've always understood that I had a 'powerful' last name, or a well-known last name, so that's not really what I wanted to be tied to. I always wanted to be tied to Noah." And it seems as though no one understands Noah's view better than Miley Cyrus herself. "She didn't even tell me that this was really happening all of a sudden, which I think she wanted to really do it on her own," Miley told Elvis Duran on iHeartRadio's Label Defiers podcast in 2017 (via Teen Vogue). "So I'm really proud of her that she did. I think she really didn't involve me as much ... I think she just wanted to get out on her own two feet without this having anything to do with me."

But the comparisons to Miley Cyrus can weigh on little sister Noah

It's one thing to be told your voice resembles your older sister's, but it's a totally different ballgame to be made to feel like you cannot measure up to your mega-famous sibling. While speaking with Paper magazine in 2019, Noah Cyrus bluntly opened up about being publicly pitted against Miley Cyrus: "Being told that you're less than someone in your family, that can f**k up a person. I'm not less than anybody. Miley has her platform, obviously, because she's an amazing artist. But to each of us our own. Miley and I are completely different people."

Noah previously told Billboard (via Pop Crave) that being forced to talk about her dad and/or sister in most interviews "drives [her] f**king nuts," admitting that "it's the reason [she talks] to a therapist three times a week." She went on to say it's "annoying" because it feels like "people don't recognize" the hard work she puts into her music. But that's not to say Noah doesn't admire Billy Ray Cyrus or older sister Miley, as she added to Paper, "I look up to my sister, but when people ask me about following in someone's footsteps, I'm following in my dad's footsteps. He's my hero. I want to ask him to sign my t-shirt, I'm his biggest fan."

Miley Cyrus shared some solid sisterly advice

While appearing on iHeartRadio's Label Defiers podcast in 2017, Miley Cyrus divulged to host Elvis Duran that she wants younger sister Noah Cyrus to stay true to who she is. "I think it makes you jaded, it makes you guarded, and I don't ever want her to get like that. Or your style or the way that you think because you want to please people," the "Malibu" hitmaker said of being a young artist in the spotlight (via Teen Vogue). "I really hope that she never feels those pressures and I hope other people respect her and don't actually make her something she's not." 

Miley also told Duran that she has implored Noah to avoid googling herself or reading comments online. These very words of wisdom came up when Noah spoke with Rolling Stone back in 2016. Telling the magazine that her sister has always advised against looking up what's being said about her on the internet, Noah added, "That's the best advice ever. If it's making me happy, then it's working."

Proud dad Billy Ray Cyrus also had some solid suggestions to share. When Billboard asked him if he had any career tips for his daughters in 2017, he replied, "My advice is ... let your music be your truth. Don't worry about trying to chase trends or what's the latest thing. Keep your music real and be who you are and do what you do because you love it."

Noah Cyrus sang about the Cyrus sisters' dynamic

Noah Cyrus' relationship with Miley Cyrus inspired a bittersweet shout out in the May 2020 song, "Young & Sad," off of her The End of Everything EP. In the second verse of her tune, Noah sings, "My sister's like sunshine / Always bringing good light / Wherever she will go / And I was born to rain clouds / When they blew the flame out / Blessed in our shadows."

The top of this headline-making track also features a sweet voicemail from dad Billy Ray Cyrus, in which he reminds his youngest daughter she isn't "alone" and to "keep a smile on [her] face," promising, "Everything's gonna be fine." Noah told Rolling Stone it was critical that the song kick off with that voicemail, which her dad left during a "dark period in [her] life," saying, "Because at the time that he sent that, a smile seemed impossible for me to give."

According to a source cited by Hollywood Life, older sister Miley felt "emotional" hearing the song, as it reportedly "just breaks her heart to think of her little sister hurting in any way." Noting that Noah's anxieties were not exactly news to Miley, explaining, "Noah has always confided in her," the insider continued, "Miley is so proud of Noah for taking the pain and putting it into her music and she's so glad the world is finally seeing how talented Noah is." Aww!

Being Miley Cyrus' little sister was 'absolutely unbearable'

Noah Cyrus further addressed those "Young & Sad" lyrics during her May 2020 The End of Everything Zoom listening party. While speaking with fans, the singer got emotional as she dug into the real-life stuff that inspired the verse about her older sister and the message she was trying to convey. "Being born in the family I was in, everybody gave me such a hard time for having a hard time being Miley's little sister," Noah began. "But I always felt like I was that person that no one gave a s**t about due to what people said to me online. And it was absolutely unbearable."

If you'll excuse the sound of our hearts collectively breaking, Noah went on to share that she grew up fearing she would never not be stuck in Miley Cyrus' shadow. "I always believed that, and that's so hard for me to overcome ... That was something that I heard ... every single day of my whole life. And it was either that, or that I wasn't enough in some way." Releasing the track was also a way for Noah to finally address all of these emotions publicly, before moving on: "I just wanted to open up about that once and for all, because that's been a big part of my life and I probably won't talk about it anymore."

There's clearly nothing but love between these famous siblings, but we're proud of Noah for using her art to speak her truth.

Guess who wants to be Noah Cyrus when she grows up?

Above all else, Noah Cyrus and Miley Cyrus are sisters — and they will always be in each other's corners. In a 2017 Refinery29 interview, Noah opened up about their bond: "Well, I think we're so different that there really is no comparison ... We're both each other's biggest fans — I'm rooting for her, and she's rooting for me, and we love each other, but I don't think we'll ever fully understand why us being sisters makes it okay to compare all the time." Well said.

Before Noah had one of her first major public performances at the iHeartRadio Music Awards in 2017, proud sis Miley took the stage to give the youngest member of the Cyrus family a heartfelt introduction. "This next performer is, without a doubt, the coolest person that I know," the artist formerly known as Hannah Montana said. "... Her voice is amazing. Her songwriting is beautiful and totally relatable. She knows exactly what I'm going through. She is who she is as an artist. I cannot wait for the entire world to get a load of her vision." Miley adorably added, "She's who I want to be when I grow up, and that's saying a lot because she's a lot younger than me." 

Seriously, how sweet are these two Cyrus sisters?