Miley Cyrus issued a statement on Sunday (April 27) apologizing for the racy photos that circulated on the Internet last week — and for ones from a forthcoming Vanity Fair photo shoot in which she appears to be topless.
The singer said to People: "My goal in my music and my acting is always to make people happy. For Vanity Fair, I was so honored and thrilled to work with [photographer] 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 actress/singer posed for celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz for the the magazine's new issue (which hits stands nationwide on May 6, although the article and a number of photos from the shoot — including ones with Cyrus wearing just pants and a blanket — are available on Vanity Fair's Web site). According to USA Today, the caption alongside the photo in the magazine reads, "Disney's 'Hannah Montana' star tells VF, 'I think it's really artsy. 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. She's so cute. She gets this puppy-dog look and you're like, "OK." ' "
In the caption accompanying the photo on Vanity Fair's Web site, when asked if she or Disney were nervous about the shot, Cyrus said, "No, I mean, I had a big blanket on. And I thought, This looks pretty, and really natural."
In the statement to People, Cyrus also addressed the recent photos that circulated on the Net. "The pictures of me on the Internet were silly, inappropriate shots. 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. I never intended for any of this to happen, and I am truly sorry if I have disappointed anyone.
"Most of all," she said, "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."
Vanity Fair spokesperson Beth Kseniak told USA Today on Sunday, "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."
In a statement, the Disney Channel said, "Unfortunately, as the article suggests, a situation was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines."
In the Vanity Fair article, Cyrus also addresses an earlier set of photos that circulated on the Internet, showing her and a girl friend kissing. "It was me," she told the magazine, "on my MySpace. For me, I was like, That's two girls — it's not a big deal. ... I was just like it didn't affect me."
Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers was quick to speak in Cyrus' defense last week. "We're good friends of hers, and we got her back and we love her to death," Jonas told the satellite radio show "Yo on E!" "I think it's just the way you come out of it. As much as they say, no one's perfect and everybody makes their mistakes. I think it's the way you handle it and come out of it the proper and respectful way."
[This story was originally published at 10:03 pm E.T. on 4.27.2008]