Thanks to Ivo for his suggested to use the "life isolate" in conjunction with the original image in layers.
I ended up removing and editing the stars anyway but this (the above) helped the nebula retain more detail and star removal was not so drastic.Life Isolate preset without mask, Keep
Layer, Undo > Bg,
Mask -> Auto, Fat Stars, Do, Grow x2 or x3 (to cover the halos), Keep
Back in Layer module you will now get the "pushed back stars" with the original nebulosity.