BILLY RAY CYRUS stirred up the controversy surrounding his daughter MILEY’s seemingly topless photo for Vanity Fair magazine when addressed the public’s negative reaction to the shoot on U.S. TV on Tuesday (17Jun08).
The Hannah Montana star hit headlines at the beginning of May (08) when photos of her wrapped in a satin bedsheet sparked outrage from family groups and concerned parents, prompting the 15-year-old to apologize for the snapshots.
But country star Cyrus was quick to defend his young daughter and the shoot’s famed photographer Annie Leibovitz from the harsh criticism that ensued during an appearance on NBC’s The Today Show.
He explains, “I flew in because Annie (Leibovitz) had specifically asked that I would come in and do a shot with Miley. I had worked with her before and she’s a great lady. She’s just a good person and a great photographer…
“I did my picture with Miley and then I headed on up to Washington state to play for the troops. I wasn’t there at the time, so I was surprised when I saw it… If I could’ve stayed, I would’ve.
“Her publicist was there and everybody seemed in control. I didn’t think they were going to strip her down and wrap her in a blanket.”
But Cyrus adds he has no regrets despite his initial shock, insisting instead his reflection on his own musical career helped him to give his young daughter perspective.
He says, “Me and Miley went for a little walk a few days later… and I told her it’s just one of those things you’ve got to kind of stand back, let it run its course.”
When asked of his own controversial photo with Miley – criticized for appearing to portray the father/daughter duo as lovers – he adds, “It’s not a mistake to me. If it is to someone else, I’m sorry if I offended somebody, but that’s just a daddy that loves his daughter a whole lot. I’m her daddy, she’s my daughter so if a daddy hasn’t hugged his daughter recently, I recommend he does.”