Miley Cyrus admits she has ''struggled'' with depression.

The 'We Can't Stop' star claims her past experiences - which include the breakdown of her 18-month engagement to ex-fiance Liam Hemsworth - has helped her ''connect'' with her fans and it gives her the motivation to continue performing.

Speaking in the May issue of US Elle magazine, Miley said: ''They know that I've struggled with depression, and that helped them get over theirs. That gives me a big purpose - a reason to wake up in the morning that's bigger than to put on my f***ing feathers and my little outfits.''

The 21-year-old singer has received a flurry of backlash over the past year due to her apparent glamorisation of drugs and raunchy antics, notably her performance at the MTV Music Awards last August in which she stripped down to a latex bikini before grinding on Robin Thicke during his rendition of 'Blurred Lines'.

However, Miley insists her actions are down to her feminist beliefs and her passion for having equal rights between male and female artists.

She explained: ''I mean, guy rappers grab their crotch all f***ing day and have hos around them, but no one talks about it. But if I grab my crotch and I have hot model bitches around me, I'm degrading women? I'm a woman--I should be able to have girls around me! But I'm part of the evolution of that. I hope.''