After nearly eight months of marriage, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth revealed on Saturday they were separating
“Everyone always thinks Miley is problematic and immature and a hardcore partier while he’s this chill surfer dude, but that’s actually [not accurate],” a friend of the couple tells PEOPLE exclusively. “Liam parties with his friends, and Miley thinks he should’ve grown out of that by now.”
Another Cyrus source, who agrees Hemsworth’s personality is much more complicated than the “super easygoing” public image that’s presented, says the actor can get “moody.”
“She’s been supportive of him when things get dark, but it’s tough,” says the Cyrus source. “That’s something that has weighed on Miley and their relationship. He can also lash out at her, and he hates the attention their ups and downs bring.”
Multiple sources also agree that Cyrus’ public displays of affection with pal Kaitlynn Carter are partly because the singer is hurting from her breakup.
“She’s genuinely trying to have fun and put on a good face,” says the source. “Yes, she’s trying to push Liam’s buttons whether she’ll admit it or not, but she’s hurt.”
On Monday, another insider told PEOPLE Cyrus, 26, “really fought to make” her marriage work. “She wanted to go to therapy,” said the insider. “She just wants to be in a healthy and focused place.”
Meanwhile, a friend of Cyrus says the couple struggled over the singer’s unconventional view of marriage. “He loves that she has her own career and focus, but he also wants a wife who cooks and would stay home with the kids,” says the friend.
Cyrus met Hemsworth, 29, in 2009 on the set of The Last Song, and had a rocky, on-again, off-again relationship for years before he proposed in 2012. The two ended their engagement and broke up a year later, before reconciling in 2015.
Then in December 2018, they wed during an intimate ceremony at their home in Franklin, Tennessee, following the loss of their Malibu home in the Woolsey fire.
“Miley took [the fire] a lot harder than Liam did, and he is the one who helped her get through it and realize everything would be okay,” said the Cyrus source. “She even said it all the time herself, that he was her ‘survival partner.’ She took their commitment to marriage seriously and was so excited about being married once she realized it’s what she wanted.”
Cyrus, who came out as pansexual in 2015, recently admitted to Vanity Fair that marriage was “kind of out of character for me.”
She recently vacationed with her sister Brandi and Carter, the newly single Hills reality star, whom Miley was spotted kissing in Italy. Multiple sources previously confirmed Cyrus and Carter, 30, are just having fun together.
Meanwhile, the actor has been photographed out and about in his native Australia with brother Chris Hemsworth.
“Ever-evolving, changing as partners and individuals, they have decided this is what’s best while they both focus on themselves and careers,” Cyrus’ rep said in a statement about the estranged couple, who took off their rings earlier this summer.
For more on Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth’s separation, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.