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Miley Cyrus Used to Hold 'Guilt and Shame' Around Past Controversies but Now Feels She Was 'Harshly Judged'

Cyrus told British Vogue that she "would never harshly judge a child" the way she felt judged as a young star

Steven Meisel Miley Cyrus
Steven Meisel Miley Cyrus

Many controversies have followed Miley Cyrus throughout her career — but she refuses to blame herself any longer.

In a new interview with British Vogue, the "Flowers" singer-songwriter opened up about her journey from child stardom through today and how she used to feel guilty about moments in her career that garnered backlash.

"I carried some guilt and shame around myself for years because of how much controversy and upset I really caused," Cyrus, 30, told the magazine.

"Now that I'm an adult, I realize how harshly I was judged," continued the superstar. "I was harshly judged as a child by adults and now, as an adult, I realize that I would never harshly judge a child."

Steven Meisel Miley Cyrus
Steven Meisel Miley Cyrus

Related:Miley Cyrus Apologizes Again for Controversial 2017 Comments About Hip-Hop: 'I Am Deeply Sorry'

Cyrus also reflected on her treatment by various media outlets as she was transitioning into adulthood and recalled one tabloid running a story about her acne with the headline, "A Breakout Year!"

"Like who thought that I was not a person who would be hurt by that? Like I was clearly a 20-year-old girl," explained the musician. "Sure, at 20 I was like every 20-year-old. You think you're grown, but now I'm like, 'Oh, no, I was fully a kid.'"

Cyrus' earliest controversial moments came during her time on the hit Disney Channel series Hannah Montana. In 2008, intimate photos of the young star were leaked onto the internet, and she faced backlash later that year for posing topless in a Vanity Fair spread. She issued an apology for the Vanity Fair photos at the time but rescinded the statement in 2018.

Steven Meisel Miley Cyrus
Steven Meisel Miley Cyrus

Related:Miley Cyrus Goes Topless in 'Jaded' Video — See Why Fans Think She References Past Songs About Liam Hemsworth

Her 2009 performance of "Party in the U.S.A." at the Teen Choice Awards came under fire for featuring a moment where Cyrus stood on top of a prop ice cream cart, held onto a pole and squatted. At the time, she faced backlash from media outlets and many fans' parents for seemingly pole dancing.

The following year a video of Cyrus smoking from a bong leaked online. At the time, she said the substance was salvia and expressed disappointment in herself — but in 2020, she poked fun at the moment. "Happy 10 year anniversary to the groundbreaking video of a teenager smoking a bong & saying dumb s— to their friends," she wrote on Instagram.

She faced further controversies for her twerking-filled performance with Robin Thicke at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, posing nude in her "Wrecking Ball" music video the same year and getting accused of appropriating hip-hop culture throughout her Bangerz era.

Steven Meisel Miley Cyrus
Steven Meisel Miley Cyrus

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Elsewhere in the British Vogue story, Cyrus seemed to further reference her feelings toward past controversial moments as she teased a lyric from a song she hopes to release in the near future.

"I know I used to be crazy," she recited. "I know I used to be fun. You say I used to be wild. I say I used to be young."

See the full feature in the June issue of British Vogue available via digital download and on newsstands starting May 23.

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