LOS ANGELES (AP) _ 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.
"I'm sorry that my portrait of Miley has been misinterpreted," Leibovitz said in a statement released by Vanity Fair. "Miley and I looked at fashion photographs together and we discussed the picture in that context before we shot it. The photograph is a simple, classic portrait, shot with very little makeup, and I think it is very beautiful."
The Cyrus pictures accompany an interview with the 15-year-old pop star and her father, singer Billy Ray Cyrus. One photo in particular is causing the biggest stir: the teen idol is wrapped in what appears to be a satin bedsheet, looking over her shoulder with her back exposed.
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.
Vanity Fair defended the story and photo shoot in a statement of its own.
"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, 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. In one shot, she's draped over a young man.
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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Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.