Miley Cyrus 'Embarrassed' After Vanity Fair Photosby Contributor | 29 April 2008
Teenage star Miley Cyrus has professed her profound regret over photographs in which she appears semi-naked.
A series of pictures of the Hannah Montana star were leaked on the internet last week and show the 15-year-old with her bra and midriff exposed, draped across the lap of her then boyfriend and, most controversially, wrapped in a blanket and seemingly topless.
The shots were taken by taken by renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz and are set to be published in the June edition of Vanity Fair.
But in a statement issued to People magazine on Sunday, Cyrus - daughter of country music star Billy Ray Cyrus - said she is "so embarrassed" at the leaked photographs.
"My goal in my music and my acting is always to make people happy," she explained. "For Vanity Fair, I was so honoured and thrilled to work with 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."
The Disney Channel, on which Cyrus' popular series Hannah Montana is shown, supported the young star, arguing that a "situation was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines".
It is not the first occasion on which the young star has been criticised over leaked photographs, after snapshots of her touching tongues with a female friend at a sleepover emerged last year.
A spokesperson for Vanity Fair has defended the photos, telling the New York Times newspaper that "Miley's parents and/or minders were on the set all day".
"Since the photo was taken digitally, they saw it on the shoot and everyone thought it was a beautiful and natural portrait of Miley."
The 15-year-old, who earned $18 million (£9.1 million) in 2007, says the photographs were "silly" and "inappropriate".
"I appreciate all the support of my fans, and hope they understand that along the way I am going to make mistakes and I am not perfect," she added. "I never intended for any of this to happen and I am truly sorry if I have disappointed anyone.
"Most of all, I have let myself down. I will learn from my mistakes and trust my support team. My family and my faith will guide me through my life's journey."
Cyrus' 3D concert film, Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds, topped the US box office chart last year.