Miley Cyrus Opens Up About Topless Vanity Fair Photo That Sparked Backlash

Miley Cyrus is revealing previously unknown details about a controversial nude shoot she took part in back in 2008.

The Vanity Fair shoot, shot by Annie Leibovitz, set off a firestorm of coverage and backlash against the then-15-year-old singer.

“Everyone knows the controversy of the photo, but they don’t really know the behind-the-scenes, which is always much more meaningful,” Cyrus, now 30, said in a reflective video for a TikTok series on behalf of her new song, “Used To Be Young.”

“My little sister, Noah, was sitting on Annie’s [Leibovitz] lap and actually pushing the button of the camera, taking the pictures,” the singer said of the shoot day.  My family was on set.”

“And this was actually the first time I ever wore red lipstick,” she said, before explaining the significance of the moment. “Because Pati Dubroff, who did my makeup, thought that would be another element that would divide me from Hannah Montana.”

“This image of me is a complete opposite of the bubblegum pop star that I had been known for being,” Cyrus added in the video clip. “And that was what was so upsetting. But really, really brilliant choices ― looking back now ― from those people.”

Shortly after the photos were released, Cyrus apologized for taking part in the photo shoot and said she felt “embarrassed.”

“My goal in my music and my acting is always to make people happy,” the “Hannah Montana” star said in a statement to People magazine at the time. “For Vanity Fair, I was so honored and thrilled to work with 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 Disney Channel also released a statement at the time, telling People that “a situation was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines.”

A rep for Vanity Fair and Leibovitz issued a release in response to Disney’s account, telling The New York Times that “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,” the spokeswoman added.

Ten years after the shoot, Cyrus had changed her tune on apologizing for the pictures in question.

“IM NOT SORRY,” the “Last Song” actor tweeted in 2018, alongside a cover of the New York Post, which read “MILEY’S SHAME.”

“Fuck YOU,” Cyrus added, with the hashtag #10yearsago.