Miley Cyrus Says She Was Unaware of Sinéad O’Connor’s Fragile Mental State During 2013 Wrecking Ball Feud

Miley Cyrus; Sinéad O’Connor. PHOTO: TODD OWYOUNG/NBC VIA GETTY IMAGES; KIM HAUGHTON/SHUTTERSTOCK

When Sinéad O’Connor expressed concern over Miley Cyrus‘ “Wrecking Ball” music video in a 2013 open letter, the then-20-year-old pop star responded by making fun of the late “Nothing Compares 2 U” singer-songwriter. Today, she would’ve acted differently.

In Cyrus’ new Hulu special Endless Summer Vacation: Continued (Backyard Sessions), she reflects on the feud with O’Connor and admits she wasn’t aware of the Grammy winner’s mental health struggles.

“At the time when I made ‘Wrecking Ball’, I was expecting for there to be controversy and backlash, but I don’t think I expected other women to put me down or turn on me, especially women that had been in my position before,” the 30-year-old star says in the special, reflecting on the nude music video and backlash she received.

Sinéad O’Connor’s Mental Health Struggles: Inside the Irish Singer’s Tumultuous Ups and Downs

The discourse between the two musicians was sparked after Cyrus compared the “Wrecking Ball” music video to O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” clip in a Rolling Stone interview. O’Connor then responded with an open letter.

“I am extremely concerned for you that those around you have led you to believe, or encouraged you in your own belief, that it is in any way ‘cool’ to be naked and licking sledgehammers in your videos,” wrote O’Connor — who died suddenly at age 56 last month — per The Independent at the time. “It is in fact the case that you will obscure your talent by allowing yourself to be pimped, whether its the music business or yourself doing the pimping.”

In 2013, Cyrus responded by making fun of several tweets O’Connor had posted and comparing her to Amanda Bynes, who was publicly experiencing mental health struggles. “I was unwell and seeking help,” responded O’Connor in additional open letters following Cyrus’ comments, per The Hollywood Reporterreferencing her tweets that had been shared by the former Disney Channel star. “It is not acceptable to mock any person for having suffered.”

Sinéad O’Connor in June 2012. PHILLIP MASSEY/FILMMAGIC

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Cyrus looks back on the moment and her response at the time in Endless Summer Vacation: Continued (Backyard Sessions). “I had no idea about the fragile mental state that she was in,” she said. “And I was also only 20 years old. So I could really only wrap my head around mental illness so much.”

“All that I saw was that another woman had told me that this idea was not my idea, and even if I was convinced that it was, it was still just men in power’s idea of me and they had manipulated me to believe that it was my own idea when it never really was. And it was. And it is. And I still love it,” she continued.

“Our younger childhood triggers and traumas come up in weird and odd ways, and I think I had just been judged for so long for my own choices that I was just exhausted,” added Cyrus. “I was in this place where I finally was making my own choices and my own decisions, and to have that taken away from me deeply upset me.”

Miley Cyrus in March 2023. ARTURO HOLMES/GETTY 

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“God bless Sinéad O’Connor for real, in all seriousness,” she concluded in the segment, before performing her song “Wonder Woman” and dedicating it to O’Connor.

On Friday, Cyrus also released her new single “Used to Be Young,” which finds the musician reflecting on her partying days while coming to terms with the fact that she’s not the same person she once was.

“I know I used to be crazy / Messed up, but God was it fun / I know I used to be wild / That’s ’cause I used to be young,” she sings on the track. “Those wasted nights are not wasted / I remember every one / I know I used to be crazy / That’s ’cause I used to be young.”

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