Miley Cyrus wore her heart on her sleeve at the 2019 VMAs on Monday night, powering through her debut television performance of new single, "Slide Away," amid her divorce from Liam Hemsworth.
The singer, who was announced as a performer for the evening just hours before the ceremony, let the heart-wrenching lyrics to her breakup hit do the talking while onstage at the Prudential Center.
Wearing a black mini-dress, Cyrus delivered a vocally flawless performance of the song, which includes lyrics like, "Once upon it was paradise, once upon a time I was paralyzed / I think I’m gonna miss these harbor lights / But it’s time to let it go," and, "Once upon a time it was made for us, woke up one day and it turned to dust / Baby, we were found, but now we’re lost / So it’s time to let it go."
As People reports, Miley subtly changed some of the existing lyrics, adding "You're right, I'm grown now," after singing the song's original line, "You're right, we're grown now."
Ahead of the emotional performance, which was introduced by fellow nominee Lizzo, Cyrus was shown walking backstage with rumored girlfriend Kaitlynn Carter, who was also reportedly at her rehearsal earlier in the day. Cyrus' parents, Billy Ray and Tish Cyrus, were also at the show. Billy Ray was nominated for "Old Town Road (Remix)" alongside Lil Nas X, the video for which won Song of the Year.
Cyrus' performance came just over two weeks after she and Hemsworth announced their separation. The "Wrecking Ball" singer has been connected to Carter, who recently broke up from fellow "The Hills: New Beginnings" star, Brody Jenner, since photos of them making out poolside during vacation in Italy emerged hours after Cyrus' split announcement.
The singer took to social media last week to deny, however, that her romance with Carter overlapped with her romance with Hemsworth, in a social media statement that garnered near-universal praise from fans and critics alike for shutting down any speculation that she cheated.
"I can admit to a lot of things but I refuse to admit that my marriage ended because of cheating. Liam and I have been together for a decade. I’ve said it before & it remains true, I love Liam and always will," she said. "At this point I had to make a healthy decision for myself to leave a previous life behind. I am the healthiest and happiest I have been in a long time. You can say I am a twerking, pot smoking, foul mouthed hillbilly but I am not a liar. I am proud to say, I am simply in a different place from where i was when I was younger."