ELLE/Hearst Communications

In conversation with wunderkind writer Tavi Gevinson, Miley Cyrus likens working with Disney to her relationship with Australian actor Liam Hemsworth.

"When I went through a really intense breakup—you know, I was engaged—and when I was with him 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," the pop star explained. "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."

Her post-Disney life isn't the only topic broached. Cyrus also explained how she's helped fans come out, and why means more to her these days than any silly boyfriend. 

"I have guys and girls that come out, and they're like, 'The only reason I'm able to admit that I'm gay is because you've made me feel like that's okay.' That is so intense, because that is a part of this generation—it wasn't always accepted—and I feel like I am a big part of that change," Cyrus said. "Or they know that I've struggled with depression, and that helped them get over theirs. That gives me a big purpose—a reason to wake up in the morning that's bigger than to put on my f--king feathers and my little outfits." 

The new issue of Elle hits stands April 22.