Terrence Howard, one of the stars of Lee Daniels’ The Butler, has a history of violence toward women dating back more than a decade.
Only this month his ex-wife Michelle Ghent filed a second restraining order against him. She alleges that on a reconciliatory trip they took to Costa Rica, he punched her in the face and she had to pepper spray him to defend herself. A judge gave her a temporary restraining order against him.
Howard told Entertainment Tonight:
We’re divorced now and she should stay that way, and I just wish the best for her. But as far as me harming somebody, anybody that knows me, I really can’t harm a fly, you know? It’s completely against my spirit.
In a moment of candor, he continued:
Well, it’s heartbreaking because there’s a story about someone that picked up a viper that was frozen and they put it close to their chest so that it could warm up and the moment that it became warm it bit them, and it said ‘Why did you bite me?’ ‘Well, didn’t you know I was a viper?’
He could have said a viper with a history of violence. Here’s a brief list of his history with women:
- In August, 2000, Howard was arrested after assaulting a stewardess when she told him to get back in his seat because the seat belt sign was lit; charges were dropped by the Cleveland D.A. for lack of jurisdiction.
- In 2001, Howard was arrested for assaulting his estranged wife, Lori McCommas. He went to her home, kicked down the door, and punched her in the face three times. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.
- In 2005, Howard was enraged when Danielle DiStefano and her then-fiance Kevin Saffell were seated before him, even though they were ahead of him in line at Ray’s Dining Car in Philadelphia. He punched Saffell, knocking him to the ground, then punched DiStefano in the chest. Again, he was charged with disorderly conduct.
- In January, 2010, Howard married Michelle Ghent. According to divorce papers, within a week, things got violent. In the year that followed, he punched her in the face, he beat her and tried to throw her off a balcony, and threatened her with a butcher knife just before she filed for divorce.
- In 2011, Ghent received the first restraining order to protect her from Howard.
In May of 2012, Howard’s girlfriend/mistress May Seng Yang alleged that he choked her, threw her to the ground, hit her in the eye, then told his girlfriend Erica Jiles, who was observing, “Fuck this, I’m going to jail for this tonight.'” Yang told police that she had confronted Howard with the claim that he had given her herpes and he acknowledged it.
Howard’s charm toward women was in evidence in an interview he did with the BET Network in August. Speaking of the discussion between The Butler’s director Lee Daniels and Oprah Winfrey about how much of Oprah’s body should be revealed, Howard purred:
I always believe in the modesty of things. Modesty is so very befitting and so attractive in a woman and in Oprah’s case, less is always more. The idea of wondering what’s under the dress or what’s in the oven is so much more pleasing than knowing exactly what’s in the oven. I’m sure what’s in the oven is wonderful too.
He went on to talk of how important being gentle was; when asked what young people could “pick up” from The Butler, he sermonized:
Second Peter 2:20 and 21 says Jesus left us a model to follow his steps closely. His footstep closely. I think Cecil and Forrest’s portrayal of Cecil’s quiet, gentle, purposeful steps allows the children to know that sometimes being quiet, sometimes being still and waiting for God’s hand to correct a situation, that’s where faith comes in.
Gentle like a viper. That’s where faith goes out.