Photographer Annie Leibovitz says she's sorry her photos of teen idol Miley Cyrus, star of Disney's Hannah Montana TV series, have been 'misinterpreted.'
Leibovitz's remarks come in light of a public apology issued late Sunday by the 15-year-old performer saying she is "embarrassed" by two sets of sexy photos, including ones taken by Leibovitz for Vanity Fair magazine.
The singer and actress has made a name for herself as a clean-living performer who often talks about her Christian faith.
"I have let myself down. I will learn from my mistakes.… My family and my faith will guide me through my life's journey," said the 15-year-old sensation in a statement released to People magazine late Sunday.
Cyrus, the daughter of country star Billy Ray Cyrus, goes on to thank her fans and hopes they will "understand that along the way I am going to make mistakes and I am not perfect."
Only a couple of a weeks ago, photos surfaced on the internet showing the star lying across a boy's lap and flashing her green bra in a provocative way. Now, the stakes are raised with a Vanity Fair shoot in which Cyrus appears topless, wrapped in what looks to be a satin bedsheet, looking over her shoulder with her back exposed.
The Leibovitz photos are due out in the June issue of the magazine.
"I was so honoured and thrilled to work with Annie," said Cyrus, whose show is ranked No. 1 in the U.S. among six to 14-year-olds.
"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."
Photog says she discussed picture with singer
Leibovitz, whose well-known photos include a Vanity Fair cover of a naked and pregnant Demi Moore, says she consulted with Cyrus before the blanket shot.
"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," said Leibovitz in a comment released through Vanity Fair.
The young singer's remarks are in stark contrast to a caption released by Vanity Fair with the photo in which the teen star expressed her comfort the photo in question:
"I think it's really artsy. It wasn't in a skanky way.... I thought that was really cool."
The Disney Channel also released its own statement that "a situation was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines."
Vanity Fair has told celebrity TV show Entertainment Tonight that it stands behind the photos.
"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."
Leibovitz has spent her career photographing celebrities. One of her famous shots is of a naked John Lennon wrapped around a clothed Yoko Ono, taken the day he was shot and killed.