Terrence Howard's ex-wife Michelle Ghent obtained a temporary restraining order following the actor's alleged assault on her last week. Ghent claims the 44-year-old hit her whilst they were holidaying in Costa Rica.

Terrence Howard
Terrence Howard at the New York premiere of The Butler.

Appearing in court yesterday (Tuesday 6th August), Ghent was sporting a black eye, as reported by TMZ. This was not referenced in court but many have drawn their own conclusions from the injury.

According to Ghent, Howard assaulted her following "a normal married fight" on holiday. Howard argues Ghent, after allegedly threatening to kill him, maced him and two of his family members (his daughter and son-in-law). He maintains he never attacked his ex-wife. 

It certainly appears to be a difficult situation to judge. TMZ, reported last week, that Ghent had sent a number of threatening text messages to Howard. According to the police report, obtained by the website, Howard presented text messages send by Ghent in May as evidence in the hearing. One text message reads: "I would start hiding if I were u", whilst another warns Howard to "be careful when u leave your place. U should move" and, separately, "I know where u and ur family live. Watch yourself." Yet another text reads: "you need to be put down once and for all. I will not stop until all knows who u are."

There has been some implication that Ghent may be, or have been, mentally unwell at some stage in her life. Howard alleges in the police report that Ghent attempted to commit suicide two months ago. She also text Howard with: "I'm just insane. I went to a crazy institute." 

Ghent's lawyers have argued this evidence is misleading and does not present a full picture of their client's meaning. 

Terrence Howard and Michelle Ghent
Terrence Howard and Michelle Ghent in 2010 at the premiere party of Law and Order: Los Angeles, at the West Hollywood Hotel, L.A.

The couple married in January 2010 and divorced in May of this year. It is slightly bizarre that they would holiday together following Ghent's text messages. 

The temporary restraining order states that Howard should not contact Ghent and remain 100 yards away from her until another hearing later this month. Howard attempted to file his own restraining order but was unsuccessful. However, as he is forbidden to contact Ghent, her temporary restraining order seems to have served a dual purpose.

According to documents obtained by The Smoking Gun in 2009, it appears this is not the first time the Iron Man actor has been implicated in violence. Howard, allegedly, assaulted his wife Lori McCommas after arguing on the phone in 2001. In a Whitemarsh Police Department report, Howard admitted "I broke the door down and hit my wife." A police officer, arriving at the scene, also claimed there was "fresh damage to the front door and marks on the victim's face and arm from being struck." It is rather damning that Howard pleaded guilty to these charges. 

Howard is best known for his roles in such films as Crash, Iron Man and The Butler.

Terrence Howard
Terrence Howard at the L.A. premiere of Dead Man Down at the Arclight Cinema.