LOS ANGELES — Miley Cyrus is taking issue with a photo of herself that's going around, and it's not another amateur, truth-or-dare Internet snapshot — it's the handiwork of Annie Leibovitz.
"I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be 'artistic' and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed," Cyrus said Sunday in a statement through her publicist. "I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about."
The photos, appearing in the upcoming issue of Vanity Fair, were taken by Leibovitz, a renowned celebrity photographer whose edgy, silver-toned portraits have included subjects such as Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson and a naked, pregnant Demi Moore.
The Cyrus pictures accompany an interview with the 15-year-old pop star and her father, singer Billy Ray Cyrus. They include shots of the teen wrapped in what appears to be a satin bedsheet, looking over her shoulder with her back exposed.
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The Disney Channel, which airs Cyrus' TV show "Hannah Montana," was also critical of Vanity Fair.
"Unfortunately, as the article suggests, a situation was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines," a network statement said.
Magazine defends itself
A phone message left for a Vanity Fair representative was not immediately returned Sunday night. But in a statement to the TV show "Entertainment Tonight," Vanity Fair defended its position.
"Miley's parents and/or minders were on the set all day," the magazine said. "Since the photo was taken digitally, they saw it on the shoot and everyone thought it was a beautiful and natural portrait of Miley."
In a caption released by Vanity Fair with the photo last week, Cyrus expressed her comfort with how the apparently topless picture turned out.
"I think it's really artsy," she told the magazine at the time. "It wasn't in a skanky way. Annie took, like, a beautiful shot, and I thought that was really cool. That's what she wanted me to do, and you can't say no to Annie."
A handful of borderline racy snapshots of a girl who appeared to be Cyrus have appeared on the Internet in recent months, including images of a girl posing in her underwear and bikini last week.
Cyrus is one of the biggest —and most G-rated — acts in the country and is often considered a role model for young girls. Her "Best of Both Worlds" tour sold out arenas, and her successful 3-D concert film collected $31.3 million in its opening weekend in February.
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