Lil Xan, a.k.a. Diego Leanos, is a 21-year-old SoundCloud rapper with facial tattoos and predictable appeal to teenagers. Noah Cyrus is an aspiring pop star and the 18-year-old sister of Miley. Their brief romantic relationship sparked an unremarkable collaborative single, “Live or Die,” and peaked with an excruciatingly awkward kiss meme on the VMAs red carpet. Now it’s over, with both parties levying and denying allegations of cheating and publicity stuntsmanship via Instagram Story. Cyrus, meanwhile, has offered a speculative reason for the breakup that’s maybe funniest thing about a story already pushing the boundaries of ridiculousness.
Cyrus has suggested the split was a misunderstanding over a NSFW Photoshop meme of pop singer Charlie Puth’s head on a porn star’s body, but Xan denies it: “If y’all think that meme is the reason I broke up with Noah, that is hilarious,” he said in an Instagram video, claiming he’d dumped Cyrus because he thought she’d cheated on him.
“Cheaters like to accuse their partners of cheating to make themselves feel less guilt,” Cyrus fired back in a text post. “If this was your way of breaking up with me and breaking my heart along with it, then you’ve succeeded.”
Moreover, the unhappy exes can’t seem to agree whether their relationship was a label-orchestrated setup in the first place. “It was something set up by, uh, Columbia Records… Columbia, uh, set it up to boost, uh, her like… y’know… like, everybody shit poppin’,” mumbled Xan in a separate live Instagram video. “Shout out to Columbia Records, too, for setting up that fake relationship. I didn’t want to do it, to be completely honest. … It was just added work to my schedule, you know what I mean?”
“This relationship was not set up by Columbia Records,” Cyrus responded. “To say that is a joke. It started when I got a DM from Diego and he asked me to hang out.”
Those claims aren’t mutually exclusive, though of course it’s possible Lil Xan seized on the label setup story as a quick way to wash his hands of this entire embarrassment. Then again, it isn’t the first time that a young, attention-seeking SoundCloud breakout star has suddenly appeared on a new Noah Cyrus record — a strategy that would make business sense, if only it had actually worked. Two weeks after its release, “Live Or Die” appears DOA: “I’m X’ing ‘Live Or Die,’ that shit’s not coming out — the music video,” Xan said in a third video clip. Better luck next time, Noah.
This article was originally published at Spin.