Michelle Ghent-Terrence Howard Settlement Agreement Tossed By Judge, Says ‘Empire’ Actor Was Blackmailed Into Signing Papers

Terrence Howard’s divorce settlement with second wife, Michelle Ghent, was overturned by a judge on Monday, citing evidence that the Empire actor was blackmailed into signing the agreement.

As the Inquisitr previously reported, Terrence Howard has been in a heated settlement battle with Ghent for some time now, and Ghent even sued Howard for assault, emotional distress, and defamation.

Superior Court Judge Thomas Trent Lewis said in court on Monday that Ghent and Howard must renegotiate the settlement agreement, as he believed Terrence Howard only signed the documents because he was blackmailed by his ex-wife, as Billboard reports.

“The evidence of extortion or duress was unrebutted.”

Because the settlement was tossed, the ex-couple would have to come to an agreement that will appease them both, especially now that Terrence Howard is making big money playing Lucious Lyon on Fox’s Empire and Ghent will not be receiving a share from Howard’s earnings. Ghent, according to HNGN, wanted to increase her $5,800 monthly spousal support after seeing how successful Empire is.

Terrence Howard and Michelle Ghent were married for only 13 months, and Ghent filed for divorce in 2011. The spousal support agreement Howard signed in 2012 was only agreed to, as Michelle allegedly threatened the Empire star that she was going to leak private details about him, including a recording of a phone sex session with another woman and a video of Terrence Howard dancing naked in a bathroom.

at the Bing Bar on January 21, 2011 in Park City, Utah.
Actor Terrence Howard (L) and Michelle Ghent attend the Bing Bar on January 21, 2011 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Bing)

The court hearing, which lasted for four days, revealed many details about Terrence Howard, such as spousal abuse of his first wife and cheating with another woman while he was engaged to Ghent. In addition, the judge was able to hear a recording wherein Ghent was threatening to sell private information about Howard if he didn’t give her money. The call was placed in 2011, and Howard conceded to Michelle’s request and gave her $40,000 of “hush money” as he called it.

Terrence Howard said that he agreed to pay Ghent in order to keep her quiet, as the private information she threatened to leak would have ended the career that he was slowly building.

After hearing from both sides, the judge gave a statement.

“There’s no question in my mind Terrence Howard is a bully. Just because you’re a bully, doesn’t mean you can’t be bullied.”

Brian Kramer, Terrence Howard’s lawyer, also released a statement to the Associated Press.

“Today’s ruling represents not only a watershed event in the life of Mr. Terrence Howard whose financial livelihood was hanging in the balance, but it’s a precedent-setting ruling that will have implications for the entire family law bench and bar in California.”

[Photo by Catrina Maxwell/Getty Images for SCAD]