Terrence Howard may be back in court, but he’s on the offensive. The “Empire” actor is trying to overturn a 2012 divorce agreement with his ex-wife Michelle Ghent by accusing her of extorting him for thousands of dollars.
At a hearing in Los Angeles on Tuesday (Aug. 11), Howard’s attorneys provided audio evidence that Ghent used the threat of releasing a video of Howard singing naked in the bathroom to extort $40,000 from the actor.
According to the Miami Harold, Howard’s business manager testified that the actor wired the “hush money” to Ghent following her threats.
Ghent’s lawyers say she denied the allegations during a deposition and is suing for the money she is owed from the 2012 divorce agreement, following accusations that Howard was physically abusive. Howard’s sister-in-law, Yvonne Howard, was also deposed and in testimony read in court said that Ghent had admitted to taking one of her ex-husband’s cell phones that contained footage of him having sex on it.
For Howard to overturn the agreement, he’ll have to prove that Ghent tried to extort him outside of their 2012 mediation that led to the agreement in the first place.
As it stands, the agreement forces Howard to pay Ghent spousal support as well as take on several debts, including tax liens.
The actor was admonished in court on Tuesday for taking a picture of the reporters covering the case when photography is strictly forbidden in Los Angeles courts. Judge Thomas Trent Lewis threatened the actor with contempt of court, but Howard promised it wouldn’t happen again.
“Empire” Season 2 is currently in production in Chicago, but Howard is expected to testify during the proceedings, which should end next week.