"I love it!" the 15-year-old singer told Vanity Fair of the former HBO series, known for its candid sex scenes and explicit language. "If you watch Sex and the City, like the way the friends are, the way that it's dry and they all have distinct characters – that's a thing we try to do on our show."
But sources say the criticism is unwarranted. "The show she watches is completely sanitized. She watches it on TBS," says a source close to Cyrus. (TBS airs an edited-for-TV version of the iconic series.) "[Miley's mom] Tish doesn't allow HBO in the house. They only have basic cable."
Adds another source: "People who know her know that she's trying to live a good life and know she has a good family and good faith."
After news of the skin-showing portrait by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz was revealed last week, Cyrus issued an exclusive statement to PEOPLE saying: "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 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."
Reporting by JULIE JORDAN and MICHELLE TAN