Nicki Minaj has hit back after fans criticised her new boyfriend for his past criminal record.

The Anaconda star hit headlines on Sunday (09Dec18) after sharing an Instagram photo of herself and Kenny Petty from her 36th birthday celebrations in Turks and Caicos.

Following her post, details about Petty’s shady past began to emerge, revealing that he is a registered sex offender in New York after a 1995 conviction for attempted rape. He also served time following a first degree manslaughter charge relating to the shooting to death of a man in 2006.

When a fan suggested that the 1995 conviction wasn't rape because Petty and the victim were both minors in 1994, Minaj replied: "He was 15, she was 16… in a relationship. But go (off) Internet. Ya'll can’t run my life. Ya’ll can’t even run ya’ll own life. Thank you boo."

Petty was ordered to spend 18 to 54 months behind bars for the attempted rape, while he also served seven years of a decade-long sentence for the manslaughter case. He completed his supervised release earlier this year (18), according to The Blast.

Following Minaj’s public declaration about the new romance, TMZ reported that it's not the first time she's enjoyed a relationship with Petty. According to the website, she first dated Petty when she was 16 years old and living in Queens, and still thinks of him as one of her first loves.

"Nicki understands Kenneth has a troubled past, but she's confident he's matured since his time in NY state prison in the late 1990s," a source told the outlet. "Nicki believes in second chances and has faith he'll be good to her.

"Nicki and Kenneth still have great chemistry, despite all the years between their relationships. She was very stressed out before they got back together, but she's much happier since rekindling their romance."

Minaj previously dated Safaree Samuels for 11 years until late 2014, and went on to romance fellow rapper Meek Mill until they split in late 2016. She was later linked to hip-hop legend Nas.