Christine McVie said the departure of Lindsey Buckingham was “the only route we could take” to avoid a complete breakup of Fleetwood Mac.

Buckingham left the band last year after his relationship with Stevie Nicks disintegrated, leading to a lawsuit that was later settled.

In a new interview with Mojo (via NME), McVie said, “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.”

Drummer Mick Fleetwood insisted Buckingham hadn’t actually been fired. “Support really could not be given to ask the situation to continue," he said. "It was too challenging. … 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.”

Buckingham previously said the feud had reached a breaking point after Nicks accused him of having laughed behind her back during an awards acceptance speech, leading her to say she’d never share a stage with him again. Following the split, Buckingham undertook a solo tour, while the new lineup of Fleetwood Mac featuring Mike Campbell and Neil Finn hit the road themselves.

In January, Buckingham answered a fan query about his status by saying he didn't miss being in the band. "I’ve been concentrating on fulfilling my own plans that were already in the works before the split happened," he explained. "So, in a sense, the situation is still too new to miss … especially since I don’t have much regard for the way the band is presenting itself now.”

The Best Song From Every Fleetwood Mac Album

Get the Official River Newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter and get the latest Minnesota & music news in your inbox a couple times a week. If we're not awesome, drop us like a hot potato.