This work aims at improving the estimation of multi-exponential transverse relaxation times from noisy magnitude MRI images. A spatially regularized Maximum-Likelihood estimator accounting for the Rician distribution of the noise was introduced. This approach is compared to a Rician corrected least-square criterion with the introduction of spatial regularization. To deal with the large-scale optimization problem, a majoration-minimization approach was used, allowing the implementation of both the maximum-likelihood estimator and the spatial regularization. The importance of the regularization alongside the rician noise incorporation is shown both visually and numerically on magnitude MRI images acquired on fruit samples.