Noah Cyrus is opening up about life in recovery as she reveals an addiction to Xanax for the first time.
The 22-year-old singer has long been in the public eye as a result of her famous family including father Billy Ray Cyrus and older sister Miley Cyrus. But in her most formative years as a young adult, Noah has been going through a secret struggle.
“My boyfriend at the time, when I was 18, was the first person that gave me a Xanax, and it became a way for us to bond,” Noah told RollingStone of her first experiences with the medication often used to treat anxiety or panic attacks. “I think I wanted to fit in with him. I wanted to be what he wanted and what he thought was cool and what I thought everybody was doing.”
While other drugs didn’t entice the young star, she detailed struggles with depression and body dysmorphia that allowed her to lean into the effects of Xanax.
“I had a really hard time being a part of a public family, and I struggled a bit with that, because it wasn’t exactly my first choice,” she explained. “I had a hard time with people coming up to me and saying, ‘Are you Miley Cyrus’ little sister?’ or ‘Are you Hannah Montana’s little sister?’ I did not like that, and it stripped me of my own identity for a long time.”
Of experimenting with the drug she said, “Once I felt that it was possible to silence things out for a second and numb your pain, it was over.”
Noah eventually became dependent on the drug, seeing that it was easily accessible throughout her circle. “I was surrounded by people who were easily able to get it by buying it from people,” she said. And although it seemed obvious that she was abusing the medication, she felt that friends had “kind of cosigned it” by remaining quiet on the issue. “It just kind of becomes this dark pit, bottomless pit.”
It wasn’t until Noah’s life started spiraling in other areas that she began to realize the impact of her drug use herself. She recalled messing up interviews after the release of her second EP The End of Everything as a result of her addiction. “I was completely nodding off and falling asleep, and unable to keep my head up or keep my eyes open, because I was so far gone,” she said of one international television interview that never aired.
In August 2020, she was faced with the death of her grandmother. “I felt so guilty for not being there when my grandma died. I was there physically, but emotionally, I was not there. I couldn’t be,” she said.
She also secluded herself from other family members, including her mother Tish Cyrus. “That was my big eye-opener,” Noah said of the isolation. “I was sitting alone, and I was scared, and I realized that all the people that I love and all the people that I need, I was the one pushing them away.”
The Cyrus family had been going through simultaneous struggles, as Tish and Billy Ray filed for divorce for the third time in April 2022. “Obviously, it was made public knowledge that my parents had been through some rough patches,” Noah said. Nevertheless, the family was united in their efforts to help her recover. “I was being helped by everybody that I needed help from, and it took some time to get on my own two feet,” she explained.
Noah has been in recovery since late 2020 and shared that making music has played a big role in the process.
“It gave me so much structure in the time that I really needed structure, because I didn’t want to just be sitting around and stirring in my brain,” she said of writing music. “It gave me hope.”
It also provided her with an outlet to open up about her struggle publicly.
“It was coming out in my lyrics,” she said. “So, it’s like, ‘I’m not going to hide my truth.’ I think it was obvious that I was going through something the past couple years — I think my fans saw it. I think the public could see it.”
And while Noah’s debut album The Hardest Part is heavily inspired by this time in her life, she assures fans that she’s no expert in the experience and is most focused on taking life one day at a time.
“I’m not trying to be, like, any spokesperson for recovery or anything like that. I, myself, am just going through it and figuring it out,” she said. “I wake up in the mornings, and I’m able to look in a mirror and go on about my day without hating myself. I’m able to comfort myself and nurture myself.”
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