Miley Cyrus has revealed a new tattoo that appears to reference her split from Liam Hemsworth and borrows a lyric from a song by The Pixies.

In her first live show since separating from her husband earlier this month, Cyrus played at yesterday's MTV Video Music Awards in New Jersey, performing her latest single Slide Away.

The song is believed to reference her marriage problems which deepened last week when Hemsworth filed for divorce, but it was the new ink on her bicep that had people talking.

"My head was feeling scared, but my heart was feeling free," reads the tattoo, a line taken from The Pixies' song The Happening from their 1990 album Bossanova.

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People.com report the tattoo was done by Los Angeles-based celebrity tattoo artist Winter Stone, who has also served clients such as Lady Gaga, Joe Jonas, and Demi Lovato.

The first sighting of the new tattoo comes after Cyrus last week revealed another piece of ink which she had done to mark her infamous vacation in Italy with her new flame Kaitlynn Carter.

The piece, done by the Wrecking Ball singer's long-time tattoo artist Dr. Woo, is an emblem of the House of Visconti and a symbol for the Italian city of Milan.

Alongside the black and white photo of the tattoo, Woo wrote on Instagram: "Cool old sculpture @mileycyrus found in Italy".

Cyrus last week blasted claims her marriage break-down was the result of her infidelity, taking to Twitter to protest her innocence.

"I can admit to a lot of things but I refuse to admit that my marriage ended because of cheating," she wrote. "Liam and I have been together for a decade. I've said it before & it remains true, I love Liam and always will."