By Lauren Huff
August 26, 2019 at 10:36 PM EDT

Miley Cyrus brought the emotion to the MTV VMAs stage on Monday.

The singer performed her new breakup anthem “Slide Away,” which Cyrus released following news of her split from husband Liam Hemsworth earlier this month.

A string section backed up Cyrus’ powerful vocals, with the performers sitting onstage around her. The VMAs telecast aired the performance in black and white to set the mood.

The song contains such mournful lyrics as “Once upon a time it was paradise” and “Woke up one day it had turned to dust, baby we were found but now we’re lost, so it’s time to let it go.” She also sings, “Move on we’re not 17, I’m not who I used to be.”

Cyrus and Hemsworth announced their split on Aug. 10 after less than a year of marriage. Shortly after they announced their split, pictures surfaced of Cyrus kissing Kaitlynn Carter, Brody Jenner’s ex, in Italy. In a candid series of tweets, Cyrus cleared the air about rumors of what caused the split.

“I f—ed up and cheated in relationships when I was young,” Cyrus admitted, before rattling off a list of past indiscretions. “The truth is, once Liam & I reconciled, I meant it, & I was committed,” she wrote. “I can admit to a lot of things but I refuse to admit that my marriage ended because of cheating. Liam and I have been together for a decade. I’ve said it before & it remains true, I love Liam and always will.”

Calling the split “a healthy decision for myself,” Cyrus concluded, “You can say I am a twerking, pot-smoking, foul-mouthed hillbilly but I am not a liar.”

For his part, Hemsworth put out a statement, writing, “Miley and I have recently separated and I wish her nothing but health and happiness going forward. This is a private matter and I have not made, nor will I be making, any comments to any journalists or media outlets. Any reported quotes attributed to me are false. Peace and Love.”

Hemsworth filed for divorce from the singer Aug. 21.

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