Miley Cyrus: I Used to Think I'd Die Without a Boyfriend

04/08/2014 at 08:30 AM ET

Miley Cyrus Elle coverPhotographed by Michael Thompson for ELLE

Miley Cyrus, 21, has been asserting her independence through various means for some time now. She’s cut her hair, lost her pants, ended things with her fiancé and taken off on a wild world tour. And, she says in the May issue of Elle magazine, all this rebelling is starting to pay off.

In an interview with 17-year-old Rookie magazine editor (and fellow widely watched teen) Tavi Gevinson, Cyrus explains that she’s grateful for growing pains in leaving Disney and ending things with fiancé Liam Hemsworth, because it helped her get to where she is today.

“When I was with [Liam] or when I was on Disney, the thing that gave me the most anxiety was not knowing what to do with myself when Disney wasn’t there to carry me anymore or if I didn’t have him,” she said. “And now I’m free of both of those things, and I’m fine. Like, I lay in bed at night by myself and I’m totally okay, and that’s so much stronger than the person three years ago, who would have thought they would have died if they didn’t have a boyfriend.”

PHOTOS: What did your favorite stars wear last night? See and vote on their styles!

Miley Cyrus Elle coverPhotographed by Michael Thompson for ELLE

Cyrus also cops to battling depression in her adolescence, saying, “It’s totally okay to feel sad. I went through a time where I was really depressed. Like, I locked myself in my room and my dad had to break my door down. It was a lot to do with, like, I had really bad skin, and I felt really bullied because of that. But I never was depressed because of the way someone else made me feel, I just was depressed.”

Now her fans thank her for being candid and helping them get through their own struggles, and, she says, “That gives me a big purpose — a reason to wake up in the morning that’s bigger than to put on my f—ing feathers and my little outfits.”

For lots more from the star, including why she’s advancing the cause of feminism (spoiler alert, it has to do with crotch grabbing), check out Elle.com or the new issue of the mag, on stands April 22. What do you think of Cyrus’s most recent thoughts on life? What makes you stronger?

–Alex Apatoff

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Showing 23 comments

Aunu01 on

say what you will about her. but if she can prevent one teenager from taking their life, let her rock on. I just learned some new things about this young lady. nope, I don’t like her tongue hanging out all the time,I don’t care for the route shes taken this tour on. she sure has something though, I still love her, and always will.

guest on

Good for her for being honest. She’s not perfect but she’s coming into her own and battling her insecurities. Most of us do that on a daily basis, she’s just doing it in a public arena.

candy on

Miley – I love you dahling. But, pahleeze, do something different with your face/expression. You DO NOT have a pretty pout!

Lola on

Yes, she can absolutely be a powerful influence for kids – she has the opportunity. If she can also stop talking about how she uses drugs like it’s cool, she could be so much more.

Guest on

Miley hasn’t advanced anything for anyone, aside from her pocketbook. She also isn’t alone. She hooks up with anything that will give her the time of day.

em on

she looks like beiber in those photos

sandy on

I actually like her too, I think her no pants, tough, naughty dancing was a bit over the top, and I dont love how she sings about drugs, but, I love her music, I dont totally listen to the words, its got a good beat, shes got a cool voice, and shes bring home bank, so say what you will. I think its great shes opening up a bit about being sad or alone, kids who like her, can relate a bit more and maybe not feel so alone…

meia on

Though she is a pretty girl (when she has clothes on and her tongue is not hanging out like a dog) she looks awful in these photos! Not flattering at all!!

KellyGreen on

“…why she’s advancing the cause of feminism”

LOL! Just LOL! Throwing one’s sexuality in your face is NOT advancing feminism. Keep telling yourself that, Miley.

cj on

She’s not much of a role model for anyone .. even street walkers. After the whole thing on stage with what’s his face and the foam finger etc .. my respect for her plummeted like a lead balloon falling from the sky. Those two should be together. Both morons

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