Singer Nick Lachey has hit out at criticism his melancholy new single is cashing in on his recent split with wife Jessica Simpson.

The couple parted at the end of last year (05) and Lachey is furious that WHAT'S LEFT OF ME - his first release since the Thanksgiving estrangement - has been so misunderstood.

In the track he laments, "I watch my life pass me by in a rearview mirror/ Stuck in the shadow of my mistakes Now I'm broken and I'm fading/I'm half the man I thought I would be."

But Lachey insists the emotionally-charged lyrics are not meant to manipulate public sympathy or cash in on his imminent divorce from the blonde beauty.

He tells Teen People, "Obviously, people will listen to it and draw their own conclusions, and I can only speculate on what those may be.

"But it's not about looking back. It's about making the best of what's there and moving on."