Kaitlynn Carter Details How Her Public Split from Miley Cyrus Affected Her: I Was 'Naive'

"I just didn't anticipate anything like this happening," Kaitlynn Carter said

Miley Cyrus and Kaitlynn Carter
Photo: Kaitlynn Carter/Instagram

Kaitlynn Carter learned a lot from her very-public relationship with ex Miley Cyrus.

On Wednesday, the Hills: New Beginnings star, 31, had a wide-ranging chat with costar Whitney Port on Instagram Live — admitting that she didn’t expect that the media would care about her once her romance with Cyrus ended.

“What happened to me, basically just after Miley and I went our separate ways, I thought, ‘Okay, my life’s just kinda going back to the way it normally was for me when I’m on my own,’ ” Carter recalled. “I had no expectations that anyone would give a s— about me by myself. I had no plan in place. I didn’t think about anything.”

Of course, that wasn’t the case, especially since she and Cyrus’ romance began just as her relationship with Brody Jenner wrapped up. Carter explained that when she went out to visit a friend’s bar, she was surprised to see paparazzi following her — and even more shocked when headlines the next day claimed she was “out on the town, partying with a mystery man just two weeks after her breakup.”

“I just didn’t anticipate anything like this happening,” the reality star said. “I’m used to it when I’m, like, with Brody or when I was with her, but never when I’m on my own. My mind is just swirling.”

“I was just so mortified,” Carter added. “The narrative was so not what the actual situation was and that was such a wake-up call for me.”

From that point on, Carter said she made an active decision to take more control over her public image — something she had never done before in relationships.

“I had never thought about what my narrative even was or what it was going to be,” she said. “I had always gone with the flow or whatever people say they say, I don’t care.”

“In relationships especially, I have always taken a back seat a little bit and sort of trusted the person I’m with to run the show, especially publicly because it’s never really been something that I wanted,” Carter continued. “I never really wanted to put myself out there that way.”

“Social media is so different because this is a community, on my Instagram, this is the community that I have been communicating with and sharing things with for years now,” she added. “And I built this community over a long time. When I’m sharing things on there it feels familiar. It feels like a safe place. But the bigger picture, the rest of the world, where you don’t know everyone, that’s like a whole other level and that was not really something that I was ever [ready for].”

She admitted she was “naive,” saying, “You don’t get to be so nonchalant about it.”

Brody Jenner and Kaitlynn Carter , Miley Cyrus
Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images; David Livingston/Getty Images; Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Carter and Cyrus, 27, were first linked in August 2019.

Their romance began just as each were going through breakups. Cyrus was splitting from her husband, Liam Hemsworth, 30, after 10 years together. Meanwhile, Carter and Jenner, 36, were ending their marriage of just over a year after their intimate Indonesian wedding. They have since confirmed the union was not legally binding.

Though Carter and Cyrus appeared hot and heavy, their affair was short-lived. In September, PEOPLE confirmed that Carter and Cyrus were no longer together, but remained friends. Cyrus is currently dating Australian singer Cody Simpson, 23.

As for Carter and Jenner, the two have stayed close.

We’re on great terms,” Carter, 31, told PEOPLE in January. “You know, Brody and I were together for so long and honestly, I don’t have one ex that I’m not friends with or that I don’t have a cordial relationship with.”

“It’s very important to me,” she continued. “Once you have someone like that in your life, he’ll always have a special place in my heart. And Brody has the same mentality, so it’s worked very well between us. We see each other regularly. We have dogs we share, you know, and I’m close with his mom and family, so it’s all good.”

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