Kerry Katona chose to quit Atomic Kitten, despite her claims she was kicked out.

The 37-year-old singer said she was ''gutted'' not to be a part of the group after she used profanity to talk about her bandmate Natasha Hamilton back in October.

But a source told The Sun newspaper: ''Both Liz [McClarnon] and Natasha have been left shocked and hurt by Kerry. The girls have had her back through thick and thin, covered for her when she'd pulled out of gigs and looked out for her through tough times.

''They had no idea about Kerry leaving the band until she posted it on her social yesterday. They feel used by her.

''It's easier for Kerry to blame them so she can come out looking like a victim.''

The split came following a personal appearance by Kerry in Manchester, when one person suggested she ''lose the ginger'', ie Natasha, Kerry answered: ''I'm not being funny, Atomic Kitten - I always saw her as toxic ****!''

Just hours later, Kerry wrote on Instagram: ''Gutted that I am no longer apart of Atomic Kitten!! Wish the girls all the love and happiness in the world!!

''Was very proud to be the founder member of AK! Had some amazing times with the kittens! And gutted not to be apart of that no more! I guess I'll keep to knock knock jokes from now on (sic).''

However, Natasha has denied the claims she wanted Kerry out, tweeting: ''I haven't spoken to @KerryKatona7 over calling me C**t. I wasn't there so I let it go. So don't know where all these stories r coming ... So don't know where all these stories about us falling about it have come from. Liz and I have had Kerry's back since the day she came back to the band and have been there for her through thick and thin. We always will

''As for kicking her out the band?Complete rubbish. Both Liz and I can't do any more gigs until mid next year because we are in theatre shows (sic).''

Atomic Kitten - famous for their number one hit single 'Whole Again' - were formed in Liverpool in 1998 and Kerry was originally replaced in 2001 by Jenny Frost after falling pregnant with her first child. They reformed in 2013 as part of ITV show 'The Big Reunion'.