Teen idol Miley Cyrus apologizes for sexy photos

LOS ANGELES, April 27 Sun Apr 27, 2008 11:08pm EDT

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LOS ANGELES, April 27 (Reuters) - Teen idol Miley Cyrus, the fresh-faced star of Disney's "Hannah Montana" television franchise, has apologized for two sets of photos in which she flashes her bra, lies across a boy's lap, and appears semi-nude.

The 15-year-old churchgoing daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus said in a statement on Sunday that she was embarrassed about some photos released on the Internet and others to be published in Vanity Fair magazine.

The first series of photos, which circulated on the Internet last week, showed Cyrus draped over the lap of her then-boyfriend, her producer's son, while another showed her revealing part of her green bra.

She is also starring in some as-yet released shots by celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz in which she appears to be topless and wrapped in a blanket. These are set to be published in Vanity Fair magazine's June edition.

"For Vanity Fair, I was so honored and thrilled to work with Annie. 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 in a statement published on People magazine's Web site.

The Disney Channel backed up the rising star saying in a statement that "a situation was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines."

No one from Vanity Fair was immediately available to comment.

But in a statement to the TV show "Entertainment Tonight," Vanity Fair defended itself.

"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," said the magazine's statement.

Regarding the photos on the Internet, Cyrus said these were "silly, inappropriate shots" and she was sorry if she had disappointed anyone.

"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 said.

"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."

Late last year, some candid photos of Cyrus frolicking with a female friend during a sleepover raised some eyebrows. She said at the time that there was "nothing wrong" with those photos.

Cyrus rocketed to fame as "Hannah Montana" on the Disney Channel's (DIS.N) TV show of the same name about a girl who leads a double life as a teenager and singing sensation.

"Hannah Montana" ranks first among TV series of U.S. cable television for children aged 6 to 14. Her concert tour last year, "Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds" was a sensation, sparking a 3D movie that topped the box office chart.

(Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Dean Goodman)

(To read more about our entertainment news, visit our blog "Fan Fare" online at blogs.reuters.com/fanfare)

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