The Evolution of Miley Cyrus: From Disney Sweetheart to Pop's Wildest Child (PHOTOS)

The Evolution of Miley Cyrus: From Disney Sweetheart to Pop's Wildest Child (PHOTOS)

Miley Cyrus wasn't always a tongue-wagging, clothes-shedding, over-the-top pop star. Just a handful of years ago, she was a Disney Channel sweetheart, playing nice as the star of the hit kid show Hannah Montana.


Image via © PG/Splash News/Corbis 

Millions of little girls idolized her every move. Now their parents cover their eyes when she appears onscreen. How did the Disney poster girl go from squeaky clean to jaw-droppingly wild so fast? We've got the scoop. Click through for a peek at the evolution of Miley Cyrus. 

  • Squeaky Clean Start


    Image © Lucy Nicholson/Reuters/Corbis

    Cyrus lands the lead role in Disney Channel's Hannah Montana series in 2005, alongside her singer dad, Billy Ray. The wide-eyed 13-year-old plays a famous pop singer who goes incognito as a regular girl during her downtime. The series quickly becomes one of cable's most-watched kid shows.

  • Hannah Montana Success


    Image © Tim Mosenfelder/Corbis

    Hannah Montana gives Cyrus a musical head start. The show's soundtrack, which features Cyrus doing one song as herself and the rest as Montana, ends up going triple-platinum. Its hit single, "The Best of Both Worlds," lands on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2006. 

  • First Love


    Image ©

    Disney's hottest star couples up with "it" boy bander Nick Jonas in 2007. Jonas and his brothers guest star on an episode of Hannah Montana. Cyrus and Nick split later that year and reconnect briefly in 2009. 

  • Showing Some Skin


    Image © Annie Leibovitz/Vanity Fair

    Cyrus, still a minor, shocks everyone, including her Disney Channel bosses, by posing semi-nude for Vanity Fair in 2008. Cyrus ends up issuing an apologetic statement saying she is embarrassed by the shot.

    More from The Stir: Miley Cyrus Reveals How Hannah Montana Ruined Her Body Image

  • Million Dollar Baby


    Image © 2008 Phil Ramey/RameyPix/Corbis

    People named the still-down-to-earth teen the world's richest kid in 2008. Cyrus earns millions from her soldout tour, Hannah Montana movie, and a seven-figure book deal. 

  • Her Own Music Takes Off


    Image © Brock Miller/Splash News/Corbis

    Cyrus breaks away from the Hannah Montana mold in 2009 with her first non-show hit, "Party in the U.S.A." Onstage, she begins to embrace an edgier look. 

  • Pole Dancing Uproar


    Image © Frank Trapper/Corbis

    Good girl starting to go bad? Cyrus gets some heat for dancing around a pole on top of an ice cream cart during the 2009 Teen Choice Awards. 

  • The Big Bong Theory


    Image ©2010 Phil Ramey/RameyPix/Corbis

    Cyrus turns 18 in 2010. A few weeks later, a video shows her allegedly taking hits off a bong. Cyrus's people say the bong was filled with salvia, a natural herb. 

    More from The Stir: Miley Cyrus’ Most Memorable Wardrobe Malfunctions (PHOTOS)

  • Working on Her Fitness


    Image © infusla-153/

    A noticeably thinner Cyprus turns heads in April 2012. Tabloid rumors erupt over how the Pilates fan achieved her super fit physique.

  • Engaged at 19


    Image © infukyo-01/

    Cyrus and The Last Song costar Hemsworth get engaged in spring 2012, after two years of dating. The 22-year-old Aussie actor proposes to 19-year-old Cyrus with a 3.5-carat sparkler. They call it quits in 2013.

  • Hair Makeover


    Image © Christopher Peterson/Splash News/Corbis

    Goodbye, long locks! Cyrus shocks fans by chopping off her famous brown tresses for a bleach-blonde pixie cut in summer 2012. 

  • Going Be-Twerk


    Image © Brian Prahl/Splash News/Corbis

    Cyrus scored the spotlight — and plenty of harsh criticism — with her risque foam-finger grinding and twerking with Robin Thicke during a performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. 

    More from The Stir: 10 Miley Cyrus Quotes That Are as Brilliant as They Are Weird (PHOTOS)

  • Topless in Rolling Stone


    Image © Theo Wenner/Rolling Stone

    No apologies this time! Cyrus goes shirtless on a 2013 cover of Rolling Stone. Even her tongue gets in on the action. 

  • First No. 1 Hit


    Image © RCA Records

    Cyrus nabs her first No. 1 hit with "Wrecking Ball." The video features Cyrus swinging naked on an actual wrecking ball and suggestively licking a sledgehammer.

  • Lighting Up Onstage


    Image © Sven Hoogerhuis/POOL/epa/Corbis

    At the 2013 MTV Europe Video Music Awards in Amsterdam, Cyrus grabs what looks like a joint out of her purse and lights up onstage. High times!

  • Over-the-Top Tour


    Image © R Chiang/Splash News/Corbis

    During her 2014 Bangerz tour, Cyrus pushes the envelope by straddling a giant hot dog and pretending to pleasure herself on the hood of a car. The tour and album are filled with sexual innuendos and drug references that shock former Montana fans. 

    More from The Stir: 13 Women Share Their Most Empowering Sexual Experiences (PHOTOS)

  • Hosting the VMAs


    Image © Jen Lowery/Splash News/Corbis

    MTV decides to live on the wild side by inviting the infamous twerker to host the Video Music Awards in 2015. Cyrus doesn't disappoint, with in-your-face outfits, jabs, and even a backstage wardrobe malfunction caught on camera. 

  • Wild Performances


    Image © Press Line Photos/Splash News/Corbis

    Cyrus's 2015 tour features her dressed as a fat baby, spilled milk, a giant stick of butter, and a unicorn with giant prosthetic genitals. In other words, she's just being Miley. 

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