Terrence Howard must pay spousal support to ex-wife

Terrence Howard has been ordered to pay his ex-wife spousal support after a California appeals court found the actor was not coerced into signing his divorce settlement.

The ruling could allow the star’s second wife Michelle Ghent to claim some of Howard’s lucrative earnings from the hit Fox television series Empire.

The three-justice panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles ruled unanimously in June to reinstate the judgment that was tossed out by a lower court in 2015.

Ruling: Terrence Howard must pay spousal support to ex Michelle Ghent (pictured in 2011) after appeals court ruled Empire star wasn’t ‘under duress’ when he signed divorce settlement

The 2015 ruling found the Empire star was under duress when he agreed to pay Ghent generous spousal support because he feared she would leak embarrassing information about him.

Howard claimed Ghent made the threat in a 2011 phone call. A year later, the couple agreed to a divorce settlement that paid her significant spousal support.

Wednesday’s ruling says the passage of time negates Howard’s claim that he was forced to sign the agreement. The ruling also noted Howard’s repeated attempts to reconcile with his ex-wife as showing he was not coerced into the agreement.

Moved on: since the marriage ended Terrence has found success in the hit TV show Empire, and married for a third time

Moved on: since the marriage ended Terrence has found success in the hit TV show Empire, and married for a third time

The 2012 agreement called for Howard to pay Ghent monthly support of $5,800 and as much as $4million a year, depending on his earnings, including potential income from his role as Lucious Lyon on the Fox series Empire, which had not yet premiered.

In a deposition, Ghent denied extorting the actor and argued that he didn’t prove she had made threats in 2011 to force him to sign the agreement, her lawyers said.

She was not allowed to testify during the 2015 hearing for procedural reasons.

The hearing exposed the couple’s tumultuous relationship and led Superior Court Judge Thomas Trent Lewis to say Howard had ‘met his match’ with Ghent and their relationship showed he was a bully and could be bullied.

‘Mutual bullying does not describe a relationship in which one party’s will is subsumed by the other’s, and does not warrant setting aside a judgment as a matter of law,’ the June ruling said.

The ruling also calls for Howard to pay the costs of the appeal filed by his ex-wife.

Ghent and Howard have no children together. The actor has three children from his first marriage, and two from his third marriage, to Mira Pak. 

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