Kylie Minogue has urged her fans to leave former boyfriend Olivier Martinez alone.

The couple announced they had split earlier this month after a number of reports suggested they were having problems.

Martinez has been portrayed as the bad guy by some media outlets, with suggestions that he had found a new love within days of the four-year relationship ending.

Kylie's hardcore fans have been particularly scathing in their criticism of the French actor, who has been linked with Spanish beauty Penelope Cruz.

But the pint-sized singer has leapt to her former lover's defence, posting a message on her official website that urged her loyal followers to lay off.

"I would ask of you, my fans, to show your support for both Olli and myself as a separation is never easy," she said.

"For someone whom I have enormous love and respect, and communicate with, it is so grossly unfair: to demonise an honest man."

Kylie, 38, had treatment for breast cancer last year and recently cancelled tour dates because of a respiratory infection.

13/02/2007 13:22:46