Mick Fleetwood has admitted it became ''too challenging'' to have both Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham continue in Fleetwood Mac.

Singer Lindsey left the group in acrimonious circumstances last year, reportedly after reigniting his feud with his former lover when he stood ''smirking'' behind her when she gave a speech at a MusiCares benefit show.

And now his former bandmate Mick has admitted a ''parting of company'' was needed in order to preserve the future of the 'Go Your Own Way' hitmakers.

Mick said:'' We were not happy. It is no secret that Lindsey and Stevie are in a continuum Liz Taylor/ Richard Burton type of life, and it went in and out of valleys and mountaintops and God knows what through the years - that support really could not be given to ask the situation to continue. It was too challenging.

''Someone in some interview said, 'What'd you do, fire him?' You can say that if you want but I think that's an ugly word, knowing what this man has done in the ranks of Fleetwood Mac...

''The truth is, call it what you want, a parting of company took place, and it had to take place, and it was supported by the remaining band members around something that for sure was a major problem to two people - Lindsey and Stevie.''

And keyboardist Christine McVie admitted she felt the band would have to ''completely break up'' if Lindsey hadn't been let go.

She told MOJO magazine: ''For whatever reasons, a lot being personal, it was the only route we could take, because there was too much animosity between certain members of the band at that point, there was just no way it could've gone on as a five-piece, a group with Lindsey in the band. So it was either just completely break up the band or make the best of it.''

While the musician admitted it was a ''really bad time'', particularly because she had no problems with Lindsey, she praised Mick for his action, and the decision to bring in Mike Campbell and Neil Finn as replacements.

She added: ''Mick is the grandaddy of the band. And he lives to make it survive.

''And he has a way of finding the right people at the right time. It was Mike Campbell and Neil Finn - they fit the bill absolutely perfectly.

''But it was a really bad time, I had no bones to pick with Lindsey, I loved working with him but I did see the point and I did see what the problem was.

''And you know, we're a democracy and we have to kind of make the best of a bad job. As it turns out, what we have now is better than what we ever had before.''