Miley Cyrus Reflects On Past Dispute With Sinéad O'Connor As She Pays Tribute

The two singers had a public disagreement after Miley released her divisive Wrecking Ball music video a decade ago.
Miley Cyrus backstage at The Tonight Show earlier this year
Miley Cyrus backstage at The Tonight Show earlier this year
NBC via Getty Images

Miley Cyrus has spoken out about her past disagreement with Sinéad O’Connor following the Nothing Compares 2 U singer’s death in July.

Last week marked the 10-year anniversary of Miley’s chart-topping hit Wrecking Ball, which was accompanied at the time by a headline-grabbing music video in which the former Disney star was seen licking a sledge-hammer and, in one scene, performing nude.

At the time, Miley said that Sinéad’s Nothing Compares 2 U music video had been an inspiration for Wrecking Ball, as both clips see the singers performing in close-up and shedding a tear.

“I wanted it to be tough but really pretty,” she told Rolling Stone at the time. “That’s what Sinéad did with her hair and everything.”

Shortly afterwards, the Irish performer published an open letter in The Guardian expressing her concerns that Miley was being “exploited”.

Miley Cyrus at the AMAs in 2013, the same year her hit Wrecking Ball was released
Miley Cyrus at the AMAs in 2013, the same year her hit Wrecking Ball was released
Frazer Harrison/AMA2013 via Getty Images

“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,” Sinéad wrote at the time.

“It is in fact the case that you will obscure your talent by allowing yourself to be pimped, whether [it’s] the music business or yourself doing the pimping.

“Nothing but harm will come in the long run, from allowing yourself to be exploited, and it is absolutely NOT in ANY way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you) more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent.”

She added: “I am happy to hear I am somewhat of a role model for you and I hope that because of that you will pay close attention to what I am telling you.”

At the time, Miley responded by sharing screenshots of past tweets Sinéad had posted, mocking her past issues with her mental health and comparing her unfavourably to actor Amanda Bynes, who was undergoing treatment in a rehab centre at that time.

Sinéad O'Connor on stage in February 2020
Sinéad O'Connor on stage in February 2020
Andrew Chin via Getty Images

Reflecting a decade later, Miley told ABC as part of a new TV special to promote her album Endless Summer Vacation: “I’d received an open letter from Sinéad O’Connor, and I had no idea about the fragile mental state that she was in, 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.”

Miley added: “Our younger childhood triggers and traumas come up in weird and odd ways, and I think I’d just been judged for so long for my own choices that I was just exhausted, and 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.”

“God bless Sinéad O’Connor, for real, in all seriousness,” she concluded.

Sinéad O’Connor died last month at the age of 56, with tributes quickly flooding in from across the music industry.

Weeks later, the Grammy winner’s fans lined the streets to pay their respects when she was laid to rest in her hometown in Ireland.

Help and support:

  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).
  • CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) offer a helpline open 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year, on 0800 58 58 58, and a webchat service.
  • The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email
  • Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0808 801 0525 (Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on

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