Pop superstar Miley Cyrus hasn’t been separated from ex Liam Hemsworth for long—the couple’s divorce officially went public on Aug. 21, 2019—but she’s already moving on, as she’s begun yet another high-profile romance with Australian musician Cody Simpson.
To longtime Miley fans, this might seem like another flash-in-the-pan relationship, but Cody and Miley go back quite a ways. Here’s a look at how their romance developed (and the latest developments in the always-controversial Miley’s public life).
2012: Cody refers to Miley as his “childhood celebrity crush.”
In an interview with Fuse, Cody noted that he’d followed Miley for years.
“I knew all the words to her songs, I’m not gonna lie. I’m not ashamed about it, at all,” Cody said. “I was a big Miley Cyrus fan. I think she will be, forever, the most dateable Disney star.”
Apparently, he was serious. Still, we haven’t seen any evidence that the two actually knew each other at this point. That changed some time before 2015—and in a big way.
2015: Cody and Miley start spending time together.
By this point, Miley and Cody had established a friendship, but their relationship seemed completely platonic. According to Simpson, the two bonded over the significant challenges they faced growing up in the spotlight.
“Miley is one of my best friends and she helps with some of that transitional stuff—trying to escape your childhood,” he told GQ. “She’s super open-minded and I’m working on becoming more like that.”
Around this time, Miley designed the album art for Simpson’s 2015 song “Flower.”
“[I was] just trying to do something simple for him,” she told Rolling Stone at the time. “I just wanted something where people didn’t have a stereotypical idea of what he was and could just look at the song for what it is, because it’s a f***ing epic song.”
“I was being emo and was like, I’m going to just lay in bed and chill with my dogs all day,” she said. “I shot it on some Polaroids, and then instead of complicating things, I said f*** it, I’m just going to shoot this s*** on an iPhone.”
In that same interview, she also shared a few kind words about her new friend.
“[Cody is a] super nice dude and super f***ing talented,” she said. “I hate for anyone to get stuck in their own name and their own brand of what they built. I should be less of a judgmental person because of how I’ve been judged, but sometimes even I can think of what you would expect Cody Simpson to be, and he’s not what you expect him to be.”
At some point in this era, Cody and Miley shared their first kiss. In a 2019 livestream (more on that in a moment), Miley revealed that she’d kissed Cody “four or five years ago,” adding that their first romantic encounter took place “probably [in] some dirty-a** nightclub.” Romantic.
Dec. 23, 2018: Miley marries Liam Hemsworth.
The couple had dated on and off since meeting on the set of the 2009 film The Last Song.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Miley explained the decision to get married.
“I think the reason we got married isn’t old-fashioned—I actually think it’s kind of New Age,” she said. “We’re redefining, to be f***ing frank, what it looks like for someone that’s a queer person like myself to be in a hetero relationship.”
Miley, who identifies as a pansexual, explained that she doesn’t see marriage as restrictive.
“I wore a dress on my wedding day because I felt like it, I straightened my hair because I felt like it, but that doesn’t make me become some instantly ‘polite hetero lady,’” she said. “PS: Straight women are badass, too.”
“Like my favorite woman in the world, Hillary Clinton, says: We’re stronger together,” she added.
“That’ll make me get emotional. That’s what she meant by it. Like, who gives a f*** if he’s a guy, if I’m a girl, or if he was a woman—who gives a f***? We really are stronger together. One is the loneliest number.”
Aug. 21, 2019: Miley and Liam file for divorce.
Liam cited “irreconcilable differences,” per People. The magazine noted that Liam and Miley signed a prenuptial agreement before tying the knot.
Earlier in the month, the couple had issued a joint statement implying that they were separating temporarily.
“Liam and Miley have agreed to separate at this time,” the statement read. “Ever-evolving, changing as partners and individuals, they have decided this is what’s best while they both focus on themselves and careers. They still remain dedicated parents to all of their animals they share while lovingly taking this time apart. Please respect their process and privacy.”
Oct. 4, 2019: Cody and Miley share a kiss on camera (unbeknownst to them).
TMZ captured the moment at the Backyard Bowls restaurant in Los Angeles. The kiss quickly became a minor scandal, since Miley had only recently split from Katilynn…and Miley wasn’t too happy about the media’s intrusion into her personal life.
“Can a girl not get a f***ing açai bowl and a morning make-out session in peace?” she wrote on her Instagram Story when the news broke.
Oct. 8, 2019: Miley refers to Cody as her boyfriend.
Miley underwent treatment in a hospital for her tonsillitis, and Cody stopped by with flowers to cheer her up.
“BF coming to visit me @ the hospy,” she wrote, using a nonexistent slang term for a hospital. That’s remarkably sweet, and like all sweet celebrity moments, it ended up in an Instagram Story.
“[Cody] arrived with roses and his guitar in hand,” Miley wrote over a photo of Simpson on her story, tagging the photo with #ImNotCrying and #YoureCrying.
At press time, nobody was actually crying, but it was certainly a nice gesture.
“Suddenly I am feeling much better,” Miley wrote. “This sweeeeeet guy came to visit and the hospital and sang the sweeeeeetest song he wrote just for me.”
Oct. 12, 2019: Miley and Cody indicate that their relationship is exclusive.
Miley commented “Boo thang” on an Instagram picture Cody posted. When a fan asked, “Does Miley Share?” the former Hannah Montana star responded with a thumbs-down emoji.
The day before the post, Cody attended the Tiffany & Co. Mens Launch in Los Angeles, where he told People that it was “safe to say” his relationship with Miley was official.
“I’m very happy. We are very, very happy,” he said. “She’s creative. She’s very passionate about what she does, and I’m very similar in that sense. That’s why we get along so well. We just have a ball, yeah, and that’s the most important part of a relationship, you know?”
He added that the relationship was based on a strong friendship.
“The reason why it hasn’t been a really crazy sudden thing is just because we’ve been friends for so long,” he said. “[We] found each other again in a space where we’re both not partying, working real hard, and it just keeps things healthy and it’s good.”
“Any girlfriends I’ve had in the past has always been immediate romance and so it’s a different experience having been friends with somebody before and it developing naturally into something more.”
Oct. 16, 2019: Cody shares some shirtless photos, and…things get weird.
Granted, Cody isn’t exactly shy when it comes to shirtless photos, but his photoset included a few photos with Cyrus that were somewhat risqué. Okay, fine, we’ll say it: Her hand was on his crotch.
Miley, of course, doesn’t shy away from controversy, and the photos seemed designed to attract media attention. It worked—and fans quickly liked the Instagram post more than 260,000 times. That’s how you build a following, we suppose.
“Need. Oxygen. Can’t. Breathe. I. Stan. For. Ever. Ship,” Miley wrote in a comment on the pics.
Oct. 20, 2019: The couple cause controversy with a series of Instagram posts.
Miley hit Instagram Live to criticize Liam—along with most other men on the planet—with Cody at her side. In the post, she gave her female fans some controversial advice.
“There are good men out there guys, don’t give up,” she said. “You don’t have to be gay … I always thought that I had to be gay because I just thought all guys were evil, but it’s not true.”
“There are good people out there that just happen to have d***s,” she added. “I’ve only ever met one and he’s on this live.”
Her comments caused quite the uproar. In response to criticism, Miley followed up on the post, noting that she didn’t believe that sexuality was a choice.
“I was talking s*** about sucky guys,” she wrote the next day. “But let me be clear: YOU don’t CHOOSE your sexuality. You are born as you are. It has always been my priority to protect the LGBTQ community I am a part of. Happy Monday!”
At this point, the couple seems happy together—but we could have said the same about Miley and Kaitlynn a few weeks ago, or Miley and Liam before that. Here’s hoping that their relationship is a bit more durable than Miley’s seven-month marriage.