Talking publicly about his daughter Miley Cyrus’ Vanity Fair photo shoot for the first time, country music star Billy Ray Cyrus said he wasn’t there when the most controversial shot was taken.

"I didn’t know they were gonna strip her down and wrap her in a blanket," Cyrus told Meredith Vieira on "Today" Tuesday in New York, referring to the shot of his 15-year-old daughter taken by photographer Annie Leibovitz. In the photo, the "Hannah Montana" star appeared to be topless, covered only by a sheet she clutched to her chest. Watch the video HERE. (Comments about Miley appear about three minutes in.)

Though Cyrus doesn’t approve of the photograph, which Leibovitz defended as "a simple, classic portrait, shot with very little makeup," he said that heeded his dad’s advice on the situation.

"My dad always told me the more you stomp in poop, the more it stinks," Billy Ray said. "So I was just, ‘OK, this happened. We got to deal with it.’ "

And what about that other photo of Miley in Billy Ray’s lap, which also raised more than a few eyebrows?

"That’s just a daddy who loves his daughter a whole lot," Billy Ray explained, laughing off the question about the pose that Vieira thought made them look like more like girlfriend and boyfriend.

Aw, shucks.

What do you think? Did Billy Ray shirk his parental responsibilities by not monitoring the VF photo shoot more closely?

Photo: Miley Cyrus and daddy Billy Ray Cyrus at a press interview in April 2008.

Posted by:Elizabeth Snead