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LOS ANGELES (AP) - Miley Cyrus said she's embarrassed by an apparently racy photo spread appearing in the upcoming issue of Vanity Fair.
"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. I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about," Cyrus said Sunday in a statement through her publicist.
The photos, by renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz, were taken to accompany an interview with the 15-year-old pop star and her father, singer Billy Ray Cyrus. They include shots of the teen reportedly topless and wrapped in a blanket.
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.
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."
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.
The Vanity Fair photo spread of Miley Cyrus has been released! As always, here are some of the interview highlights:
On Sex and the City: "It's my favorite show! I love it! Obviously not the scenarios. But if you watch Sex and the City, like the way the friends are, the way that it's dry and they all have distinct characters-that's a thing we try to do on our show."
On the infamous semi-topless shot: "No, I mean I had a big blanket on. And I thought, This looks pretty, and really natural. I think it's really artsy. [And] it wasn't in a skanky way.... And you can't say no to [photographer Annie Leibovitz]. She's so cute. She gets this puppy-dog look and you're like, O.K."
On whose career trajectory she'd like to follow: "Before, I'd say like Hilary Duff. But there can't be a thousand Hilary Duffs. Then that doesn't make Hilary special. And there can't be a thousand Miley Cyruses, or that doesn't make me special. That's what a star is: they're different. A celebrity is different. So, no, mostly I want to make my own path."
On being well-adjusted to the fame and public attention: "That's just my personality. I don't get shaken or stirred up over anything. Which can be a problem sometimes. I'm just, like, so no emotions. I just don't let things faze me. I'm very much like my dad. My dad's like this."
On being pals with paparazzi camped out of her gated home. "Sometimes there'll be like 40. Sometimes 20, sometimes 30. Sometimes two. I'll stop and I'll do the picture. It's really funny. They'll buy our dinner and whatever. We've become friends."
To see the behind-the-scenes pictures of Miley, her country superstar father Billy Ray, and momager Tish, visit VanityFair.com.
TV show Entertainment Tonight released a provocative picture of Cyrus, 15, during a broadcast on Friday, and it's caused quite the stir.
The problem? She's only 15!
See a screen grab of Cyrus' Vanity Fair shot here.
Talk about a paedophile's dream.
I'm no prude, and am quite liberal when it comes to self-expression, but I think this strip is seriously ill judged.
Cyrus is an idol for legions of teenage fans worldwide, and posing for a magazine with nothing but a blanket covering up her modesty is not a good move. She's 15, remember.
The Vanity Fair cover shot comes to light barely a week after pictures of the Disney sweetheart sporting a green bra with her boyfriend Thomas Sturges were leaked online.
Some celebrity news bloggers speculate that the Vanity Fair pictures are merely the product of a nifty photoshopper, but I'm not so sure.