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Now, this is how you win the breakup. “Flowers,” about the beauty of not needing a man in your life, garnered Miley Cyrus her first ever Grammy Award. Liam who?
During her performance of the song at the awards show, she seemingly hinted at both the downs and ups of her life, modifying the lyrics to the song by adding, “I didn't want to leave you—but I had to—I didn't want to fight—but we did—started to cry, then remembered, I just won my first Grammy!”
Interestingly, this isn't the first time Cyrus has updated the lyrics to the song.
“I wrote it in a really different way,” she told British Vogue. “The chorus was originally: ‘I can buy myself flowers, write my name in the sand, but I can’t love me better than you can.’ It used to be more, like, 1950s. The saddest song, like, ‘Sure, I can be my own lover, but you’re so much better.’” As for the lyrics that ultimately ended up on the album, she said, “The song is a little fake it till you make it…which I’m a big fan of.” You can hear the old version here:
So, with all that, why is infidelity part of the narrative? In case you missed it, Miley Cyrus released “Flowers,” a breakup track and music video, on her ex-husband Liam Hemsworth’s birthday. Entertainingly shady, yes—but then social media was positively awash with the claim that Hemsworth cheated on Cyrus with 14 separate women in the very house where the video was filmed.
Wait, what? Where did these oddly specific rumors come from, and why are they suddenly inescapable on TikTok and Twitter? To the best of my understanding, this rumor started from a January 13 tweet from pop culture observer Pop Tingz, which reads, “The house where the music video for Miley Cyrus’s ‘Flowers’ was recorded was previously used by Liam Hemsworth to cheat on Miley with more than 14 women while they were married.” As of this writing, Pop Tingz’s viral tweet has accumulated 48,400 likes and a comment from Julia Fox. And yet! The claim hasn’t been verified by any legitimate news sources.
But the story took on a life of its own. Another persistent—but also unverified—claim is that Hemsworth dedicated Bruno Mars’s “When I Was Your Man” to Cyrus at their wedding and that the lyrics of “Flowers” are a nod to Mars’s lyrics.
TikTokers, meanwhile, began combing the “Flowers” video for additional incriminating Easter eggs. One creator has speculated that the gold evening dress Cyrus wears in the video is a reference to the gold dress Jennifer Lawrence wore to the Hunger Games premiere, and thus implying that Hemsworth hooked up with his former costar. (Lawrence has said before that she kissed Hemsworth offscreen, but anything beyond that is unverified.)
Another popular theory on TikTok: In the video Cyrus allegedly wears the “same suit” Hemsworth wore to the Avengers premiere, where he reportedly told her to “behave” during an awkward red-carpet moment. While there is video of Hemsworth muttering something to Cyrus at that event, only the two of them know what was actually said. Yet another creator claims that Cyrus does Hemsworth’s workout routine in the video—though, again, there’s nothing on the record that can be traced back to.
The point is this gossip snowball has turned into an avalanche, making it hard to separate fact from fiction. In turn, other social media users have pointed out that Miley Cyrus herself once said that infidelity wasn’t why she and Hemsworth divorced. “I can admit to a lot of things but I refuse to admit that my marriage ended because of cheating,” she tweeted in 2019.
In an interview after the song came out, Cyrus seemingly referenced the brouhaha, saying, “I never need to be a master at the craft of tricking an audience,” she said. “It will set itself on fire all by itself.” It sure will.
Originally Appeared on Glamour