Empire Star Terrence Howard Sued for Assault by Ex-Wife

EMPIRE: Lucious (Terrence Howard) has a secret that will change things in the special two-hour “Die But Once/Who I Am” Season Finale episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, March 18 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Chuck Hodes/FOX

The ex-wife of Empire star, Terrence Howard filed suit against the actor Tuesday (July 28) claiming he assaulted her in 2013, according to Billboard magazine. Michelle Howard filed the civil complaint in Los Angeles, alleging the assault took place while they were staying in a rental house in Costa Rica. Here are the details:

On the evening of July 29, 2013, Howard “followed Plaintiff into the restroom of the rental house and punched her on the left side of her face. Defendant also grabbed Plaintiff by her neck and pushed her against the bathroom wall and strangled her for several seconds,” states the complaint. The filing continues he “grabbed her neck again and pinned her against the shower glass and her head hit the wall” when she tried to flee the room, leading the actor’s son-in-law Billy to intervene.

“While Billy tried to pry Defendant’s hands from Plaintiff’s neck, Defendant whispered to Plaintiff, ‘Remember what I told you in Bora Bora? That is what I’m gonna do,’ referring to a prior instance where Defendant told Plaintiff that her body would never leave the island,” states the complaint. “Plaintiff interpreted the reference to mean that Defendant was going to kill her.”

Later on the evening of July 29, claims Michelle, he charged at her and she pepper-sprayed him in the face. “Defendant continued swinging his arms and caused Plaintiff to fall down. While Plaintiff was on the ground, Defendant repeatedly mule-kicked Plaintiff in the head and shoulders,” states the complaint.

The plaintiff claims assault and battery, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and claims he defamed her by “mak[ing] false accusations disseminated to the public through the media that Plaintiff had made death threats and other threats against Defendant and his family through various social media accounts.”

This is not the first time the actor has been accused of domestic abuse.

  • Howard was arrested in 2001 on charges of assaulting his then-wife Lori McCommas
  • Michelle claimed in her 2011 divorce papers that he repeatedly threatened and hit her throughout their marriage.
  • In 2013, Michelle received a restraining order against him, including the claim regarding the Costa Rica incident.

Fox TV group honchos, Dana Walden and Gary Newman claimed they weren’t aware of the accusations until December 2014, after he was already cast in the part. Howard says, “A lot of the things I did were the product of not knowing how to deal with frustration, not knowing who Terrence Howard is,” he said. “I’ve grown so much from anything that’s happened in the past.”

Howard married his third wife, Mira Pak in late 2013. They have one son, Qirin Love, born in May 2015.

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