Inside Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth's relationship: Why did they break up for two years?

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth got married over the holidays, cementing their nearly decade-long relationship in the process. The couple, who first met on the set of "The Last Song" back in 2009, tied the knot at Cyrus' home in Franklin, Tennessee in an intimate ceremony, proving that they've come a long way since taking a two-year hiatus on their relationship.

Cyrus and Hemsworth first got engaged back in 2011, two years into their romance when the "Wrecking Ball" singer was just 19 years old. Though they clearly had a real connection, sources say "there was no way they were ready for that kind of commitment" at such a young age, with their respective careers continuing to gain steam.

"When they got engaged the first time, they were just kids," a source told People. "When the Disney-era of her life was over, Miley was a bit lost and wanted to break out of that image. Liam's career was also blowing up with 'Hunger Games,' and they were being pulled a million different ways. He didn't know how to handle the attention and drama."

It was Miley in particular that felt as though she needed to experiment more -- with her image, her music and her dating life. Both stars dated other people after calling it quits in 2013.

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Inside Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth's wedding
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Inside Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth's wedding
L❤️VE YOU Valentine @liamhemsworth
My Valentine every single day ❤️ @liamhemsworth
Thank you for always bending down to hug me ... I promise I will always meet you in the middle on my tippiest toes! I love you Valentine! @liamhemsworth
10 years later .....
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"Miley went through a lot of soul-searching as she grew up and became her own person," another source told People. "Miley had trust issues and Liam felt she was needy."

During their two-year break, Cyrus famously went through a massive transformation which saw her cut her hair, controversially twerk on the VMAs stage and release her boundary-pushing album, "Bangerz," that solidified her place in the top echelons of pop music. During that time she dated Patrick Schwarzenegger and was connected to model Stella Maxwell, while Hemsworth was seen making out with Eiza Gonzalez.

Throughout their two years apart, though, Miley appeared to keep Liam in the back of her mind. The couple reconnected and eventually got back together in 2015.

"Most couples that start dating split up and never speak again. Miley and Liam were always different," an insider told People. "She would often talk about Liam, even though she was dating other people. When they eventually got back together in 2015, it seemed meant to be."

Since then, they've lived a more low-key life at their shared home in Malibu, where they spend a lot of time with their many dogs and frequently welcome visiting family members. 

"Miley and Liam's relationship has evolved so beautifully over the past few years," one of Miley's friend's explained. "They grew up as individuals and ultimately evolved as a couple. It speaks to who they are and their mutual respect for one another."

"They finally figured out ways to meet halfway and respectfully deal with each other's differences," another source added.

Insiders say that what makes their relationship work so well is that they're best friends first. They share a lot in common, have settled into their booming careers and find solace in one another amid tough times -- like when the devastating California wildfires burned down their home in the fall.

"Miley adores his sense of loyalty, adventure and independence," a friend said. "Her career is thriving and so is Liam's. And now her best friend is also her husband. There's no better way to start the year."

Cyrus recently released "Nothing Breaks Like A Heart" with Mark Ronson, while Hemsworth is set to co-star in "Isn't It Romantic" alongside Rebel Wilson later this year.

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Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth through the years
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Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth through the years
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 07: *EXCLUSIVE ACCESS, PREMIUM RATES APPLY* Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus attend the 18th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Award Party at Pacific Design Center on March 7, 2010 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD - MARCH 25: Actress Miley Cyrus and actor Liam Hemsworth arrive at the Los Angeles Premiere 'The Last Song' at ArcLight Cinemas on March 25, 2010 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 15: Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth sighting on April 15, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gustavo Munoz/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 21: Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth arrive at LAX airport on June 21, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 20: (EUROPE AND AUSTRALASIA OUT) American singer and actress, Miley Cyrus, with her Australian actor boyfriend Liam Hemsworth, shopping on Oxford Street, Paddington in Sydney, ahead of her Australian concert tour. (Photo by Justin Lloyd/Newspix/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 11: Actor Liam Hemsworth and actress/singer Miley Cyrus arrive at the 2011 CNN Heroes All-Star Tribute at The Shrine Auditorium on December 11, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 11: Singer/actress Miley Cyrus and actor Liam Hemsworth arrive at the 2012 People's Choice Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on January 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for PCA)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 11: Actress Miley Cyrus (L) and Liam Hemsworth arrive at the 2012 People's Choice Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on January 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for PCA)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 11: Actor Liam Hemsworth and Actress Miley Cyrus attends People's Choice Awards 2012 at Nokia Theatre LA Live on January 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for PCA)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Singer Miley Cyrus (L) and actor Liam Hemsworth attend the 20th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party at The City of West Hollywood Park on February 26, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Actor Liam Hemsworth and actress/singer Miley Cyrus attend the 2012 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at Sunset Tower on February 26, 2012 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/VF12/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Actor Liam Hemsworth and singer Miley Cyrus arrive at the 2012 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Sunset Tower on February 26, 2012 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Mark Sullivan/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 12: Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus attends 'The Hunger Games' Los Angeles Premiere on March 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, United States. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 24: Actress/singer Miley Cyrus (L) and actor Liam Hemsworth in the audience during Muhammad Ali's Celebrity Fight Night XVIII held at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa on March 24, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for CFN)
Actor Liam Hemsworth kisses actress Miley Cyrus at their table at the Muhammad Ali's Celebrity Fight Night XVIII on March 24, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. Fight Night supports the fight against Parkinson's disease and this year also celebrates Ali's 70th birthday. AFP PHOTO / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
CENTURY CITY, CA - JUNE 27: (EXCLUSIVE ACCESS SPECIAL RATES APPLY) Actor Liam Hemsworth and singer Miley Cyrus pose during Australians In Film Awards & Benefit Dinner at InterContinental Hotel on June 27, 2012 in Century City, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for AIF)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 16: Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth are seen on Melrose Blvd. on July 16, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 08: Actress Miley Cyrus and actor Liam Hemsworth attend the premiere of Relativity Media's 'Paranoia' at the DGA Theater on August 8, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
BYRON BAY, NSW - APRIL 29: Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus seen on April 29, 2016 in Byron Bay, Australia. (Photo by Matrix/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 15: Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth seen out in Manhattan on September 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Robert Kamau/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 16: Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus leave Catch on September 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
Actor Liam Hemsworth, from left, singer Miley Cyrus, former professional tennis player John McEnroe, and singer-songwriter Patty Smyth sit at a table during the Robin Hood Foundation's 'Love and Leadership' benefit in New York, U.S., on Monday, May 15, 2017. For 29 years,�Robin�Hood�has worked to get help to New York City's poor by burrowing deep into the pockets of its most affluent. Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 10: Actor Liam Hemsworth (L) and Miley Cyrus at The World Premiere of Marvel Studios' 'Thor: Ragnarok' at the El Capitan Theatre on October 10, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Disney)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 10: Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus attend the premiere of Disney And Marvel's 'Thor: Ragnarok' on October 10, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 04: Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth attend the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones - Arrivals at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 4, 2018 in Beverly Hills, CA. (Photo by Presley Ann/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 04: Miley Cyrus (L) and Liam Hemsworth attend the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 4, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/WireImage)
CULVER CITY, CA - JANUARY 26: Honoree Liam Hemsworth (L) and Miley Cyrus attend the 2019 G'Day USA Gala at 3LABS on January 26, 2019 in Culver City, California. (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for G'Day USA )
CULVER CITY, CA - JANUARY 26: Honoree Liam Hemsworth (L) and Miley Cyrus attend the 2019 G'Day USA Gala at 3LABS on January 26, 2019 in Culver City, California. (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for G'Day USA )
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