Terrence Howard Cries in Court During Divorce Settlement Hearing

by Meredith B. Kile 8:41 PM PDT, August 14, 2015
Photo: Getty Images

That’s how the Cookie (or at least her TV husband) crumbles!

Empire star Terrence Howard reportedly broke down in tears in court on Friday, as he described to a judge how ex-wife Michelle Ghent threatened to release damaging personal information about the actor in order to get him to sign a divorce settlement in 2012, the AP reports.

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The actor is in court to try and overturn the couple’s divorce settlement, which gave Ghent several of the couple’s bank accounts as well as a portion of Howard’s earnings. The Empire star claims he signed under duress, fearful that Ghent would leak details about his sex life as well as audio and video recordings of him that he says would have seriously jeopardized his acting career.

"I was terrified of her releasing the private tapes," Howard said, claiming that the videos showed him in "intimate settings."

The actor described his relationship with Ghent as one seemingly more toxic than the one he portrays on TV (and let’s not forget, Cookie and Lucious Lyon have each sent each other to jail). Howard admitted that he knew Ghent reportedly had recordings of him since the beginning of their relationship, and threatened to leak them at least once before, when the actor admitted to infidelity.

A key piece of evidence in the hearing has been a recording of Ghent threatening to release embarrassing information about Howard, telling the actor "I will (expletive) bury you deep within the ground."

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"I loved her," Howard said, when asked why he stayed with Ghent after becoming aware of her plans to blackmail him. "I thought she had perhaps made the threats out of anger."

Howard broke down again during cross-examination when questioned about past domestic violence allegations. The actor asked for a court recess when cross-examined by Ghent’s attorney who displayed a photo of their client with a black eye in the courtroom. He reportedly admitted to hitting his first wife in anger, but said that any violence against Ghent was in self-defense.

The actor’s testimony will conclude in court Monday. Ghent will not be allowed to testify, Superior Court Judge Thomas Trent Lewis told attorneys, because her lawyers hadn't submitted a sworn declaration from her.

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