The shady side of Terrence Howard

Terrence Howard was nominated for an Oscar for his role as a pimp in Hustle & Flow (2005), and now stars as morally conflicted record exec Lucious Lyon on Empire. He told Rolling Stone that his shady reputation is part of what got him the part of Lyon, but has hurt him elsewhere.

"Since they see me as a bad guy, I'm gonna play a bad guy," he said of the casting, adding, "When all that stuff went down about me, you're not in any bargaining position. You're shunned. You're persona non grata."

So what exactly is "all that stuff?" It turns out, there's quite a lot of stuff in the shady side of Terrence Howard.

He thinks women are figuratively dirty ...

Terrence Howard gave a doozy of an interview with Elle magazine in 2007, in which he described women as inherently unclean, both figuratively and literally.

"If a relationship is built on sexuality, it won't last long. Now I'm completely chaste through a relationship unless I get married," he said. "I don't believe in premarital sex. It enabled me to date three or four women at the same time, because as long as I wasn't having sex with them, I could always just walk away. There were some [past girlfriends] who pushed for sex, and sometimes they won. Afterward, I would feel unclean, like I'd compromised my own values. So I would have to let them go because they didn't help me to be a stronger person."

Perhaps some of that came from Howard's childhood. He told Rolling Stone that he first became interested in sex in grade school, then swore it off by the time he turned 16. "In the ghetto, things happen a lot quicker," he explained, adding that he met a girl as a teen with whom he refused to have sex. "And then she ended up having a gangbang and called me laughing with her friends on speakerphone, and I was crying because of what had happened to my girl, not knowing that this was something she wanted ... I always picked the wrong women."

... and literally dirty, too

Howard added to Elle that he has a specific deal-breaker with women, who he apparently views as filthy.

"Toilet paper — and no baby wipes — in the bathroom," he said. "If they're using dry paper, they aren't washing all of themselves. It's just unclean. So if I go in a woman's house and see the toilet paper there, I'll explain this. And if she doesn't make the adjustment to baby wipes, I'll know she's not completely clean."

He later expounded to New York Magazine, "You know, my views and focus never change. They remain the same, about trying to find a cleaner way to live, and to be safer, you know? And maybe we should be a little more careful about social mores instead of this loose living that everybody's gotten caught up in. We've lost our moral values a little bit. That's what I was touching on. I believe as an artist, my nature is to speak. Do I think we need to readdress how we clean ourselves? Yeah. It took a long time for soap to catch on. Now everyone uses soap. So let's be a little more clean, you guys. Let's not be germophobic, but let's be clean when we can."

When Jezebel asked Howard later about his obsession with baby wipes, he said, "I stated my position pretty clearly. More people need to use them. This is a very serious subject. What more is there to say?" His publicist then immediately ended the interview.

He has sexist views on how women dress

Aside from his misogynist views on women's hygiene and sexuality, Howard also has issues with how many women choose to dress themselves. He told writer Anna Holmes, in an unpublished portion of an InStyle interview (via Jezebel) that women have "lost modesty" in their sartorial choices. He reportedly explained that women who dressed provocatively "create[s] a response in him that he can't respond to in a 'natural' way." Holmes added, "He then made a comment that women who expose their 't***ies' to the public have no right to get angry if people ... make remarks about it. He said something like 'What's worse, someone exposing themselves or someone commenting on it? Who committed the first sin?'"

He may be a massive narcissist

If you thought Howard's views on women may have been the result of low self-esteem and a lack of confidence in himself, you may be wrong. Like, way wrong. He explained to Elle (via Jezebel), "I like women who look like me. Generally, you're attracted to women who look like you, because the most beautiful thing in nature is your own reflection. [I like a woman] who shares my features." There's a flower named after people like this.

A source told The New York Post, "He thinks that he is truly God's gift to women, and he expects subservience."

He admitted to physically attacking his first wife

Howard's first domestic violence allegations came during his first marriage to Lori McCommas. E! News reported that in September 2001, after he and McCommas had already been estranged for two years, Howard confessed that he went to McCommas' home and broke down the front door of her house, then punched her twice.

Howard denied punching McCommas, but did admit to slapping her, noting to Rolling Stone later, "She was talking to me real strong, and I lost my mind and slapped her in front of the kids ... Even slapping her was wrong." He pled guilty to disorderly conduct; he and McCommas divorced in 2003 but remarried in 2005, then divorced for a final time in 2007.

His second marriage was a disaster

His second marriage came with even more problems. Howard married Michelle Ghent in 2010 and she filed for divorce in 2011. They seem to have reconciled at some point after filing, because Ghent vacationed with Howard in Costa Rica in 2013, after which she obtained a restraining order against the actor, accusing him of years of domestic abuse. Howard claimed that he was defending himself against Ghent, who he said maced him, and that he hit her by accident because he was flailing his arms and couldn't see. Howard claimed in court that Ghent frequently tried attacking him and threatened him as such often.

It wasn't just the alleged physical abuse that made his relationship with Ghent go awry. In court, Howard accused Ghent of being racist and threatening to blackmail him with private videos and photos. Ghent denied the claims. Howard also confessed to cheating on Ghent numerous times, admitting that one of them gave the other herpes, but he wasn't sure who had it first. Court documents revealed that Howard frequently threatened suicide during his relationship with and marriage to Ghent.

He has unsettling views on domestic violence

In March 2015, two months after Howard's ex-wife Michelle Ghent dropped her assault, emotional distress, and defamation of character lawsuit against the actor, Howard went on a Twitter rant about domestic violence that implied he was actually a victim.

Howard tweeted, "I've never been abusive to anyone in my entire life. I have loved and paid the price for love. I am the same loving being since day 1!" He added, "When I say that I've made mistakes, it is not regarding violence but judgement. Trusting the wrong people .... I firmly believe that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. Kiss for a [kiss emoji]. This double standard that has permitted abusive women to feel that they can assault a man and not reap where they have sowed is wrong!"

Howard also came under fire in 2009 for defending Chris Brown after the singer assaulted then-girlfriend Rihanna, telling press, "It's just life, man. Chris is a great guy. He'll be all right. And Rihanna knows he loves her. She'll be all right. Just everybody's got to get out of their way." Howard later retracted the statement, adding, "When they asked me about Chris Brown the other day, I was in no way aware of what he had been accused of. Had I known, I would have never had said something so insensitive."

His substance abuse was a problem

During a divorce hearing from his marriage to Ghent, Howard admitted to frequently smoking marijuana, as well as using ecstasy and cocaine with his ex-wife. People reported that Howard said on the stand, "That was [sic] the only times [we were happy]."

His current relationship sounds unhealthy

Howard married third wife, Miranda "Mira" Pak, in October 2013. Entertainment Tonight reported that he and Pak separated in August 2014 and had a quickie secret divorce in July 2015. By September 2015, they were back together.

Howard told Rolling Stone of Pak, "When you meet your one, it's completely balanced. I don't have any greater authority than she does. It's the only thing that really works ... It's always been a hard road for me. I run into bad luck. But I run into good luck too, so it's even-steven right now. I've got a good wife."

Pak told the magazine, "We have an amazing connection. But, I mean, he's not perfect. Doesn't do the dishes. Doesn't cook. Doesn't lift a finger. I probably leave him 30 times a month ... He's so selfish. But, you know, he didn't have much of a childhood. It was difficult for him being picked on and bullied all the time. We don't have a normal life. In our two years together, I've only gone to restaurants with him two or three times. We've never been to the supermarket together. We've never been to the movies. I've never gotten a gift from him. Never, never." She added, "I've developed a slight form of agoraphobia lately. I never go out. I have no friends here. I feel like Rapunzel, you know, stuck in a penthouse with my baby."

He has a hot temper

Howard's temper isn't just reserved for the women in his life. During a divorce hearing for his split from Ghent, a judge had to tell a heated Howard to "cool [his] jets" and on another occasion, a judge even called him a "bully."

A television executive told The New York Post, "Terrence has this reputation for being a hothead." A former associate of Howard added, "I don't think 'anger issues' quite covers it. Terrence has to be in control of everything, all the time. When he doesn't get his way, he loses his s ** t very easily."

In 1997, People reported Howard was accused of assaulting a Continental Airlines flight attendant who attempted to return him to his seat when the seatbelt light came on; charges were dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction and Howard later denied the claims entirely and said he was just trying to take his daughter to the bathroom.

In 2005, Howard pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after allegedly attacking a man and a woman at a Philadelphia restaurant. The woman reportedly accused Howard of cutting the line; Howard insisted to Rolling Stone that he wasn't even in the line and was just checking to see what the wait time was and "one thing led to another" and he was acting in self-defense.

His bizarre mathematical theory

Howard even has beef with multiplication tables. The actor is convinced that one times one actually equals 2, not 1. Seriously.

He told Rolling Stone, "This is the last century that our children will ever have been taught that one times one is one," he says. "They won't have to grow up in ignorance. Twenty years from now, they'll know that one times one equals two. We're about to show a new truth. The true universal math. And the proof is in these pieces. I have created the pieces that make up the motion of the universe. We work on them about 17 hours a day. She cuts and puts on the crystals. I do the main work of soldering them together. They tell the truth from within."

Howard said he left the Pratt Institute in college after arguing with a professor about this very theory. "How can it equal one? If one times one equals one that means that two is of no value because one times itself has no effect. One times one equals two because the square root of four is two, so what's the square root of two? Should be one, but we're told it's two, and that cannot be ... I mean, you can't conform when you know innately that something is wrong."

His 'Iron Man' casting debacle

Howard's reputation may have preceded him when he got a bit too big for his supporting role britches during negotiations for Iron Man 2 (2010), which led to the role being recast to Don Cheadle.

Entertainment Weekly reported that the issue was one of cash: Howard was the first actor signed to Iron Man (2008) and was paid $3.5 million for the movie, which was more than titular star Robert Downey, Jr. When it came time to film Iron Man 2 (2010), a source said that producers weren't thrilled with Howard's performance in the original, leading to re-shoots and cutting of Howard's scenes. Upon learning that the role in Iron Man 2 (2010) would be reduced, producers "drastically reduced" their offer to Howard, giving him a 50 to 80 percent pay cut, which his agents rejected.

Howard later told Rolling Stone that he actually took a $1 million pay cut to get Downey cast in the Marvel hit, something Downey and producers denied — but something Howard took to heart when Iron Man 2 (2010) came around. "I called Robby ... at least 17 times that day and 21 the next and finally left a message saying, 'Look, man, I need the help that I gave you.' Never heard from him," Howard said. "And guess who got the millions I was supposed to get? He got the whole franchise, so I've actually given him $100 million, which ends up being a $100 million loss for me from me trying to look after somebody."

He's difficult to work with

Howard has a poor reputation in the industry that extends beyond the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A former associated told The New York Post, "Once, Terrence found out that some of his scenes from a movie were being cut and he was furious. He marched up to the director and started arguing with him like it was some great injustice."

Howard admitted to Rolling Stone that during filming The Best Man (1999) he was hard to work with, but insists it was for the good of the film. "I was difficult, but only because I would not conform. During The Best Man, they kept saying about this one line, 'This is a joke, so say it as a joke.' I was like, 'Y'all do what you want, but I'm not going to mutilate this moment.' And I said the line like I wanted ... But after that, they spent the next year talking about how difficult I was. Then the movie comes out, I get all these accolades, and now the producers are like, 'Oh, you made the movie,'" he recalled. "But now they've set it up that Terrence is difficult, and so that has followed me."

An insider told The New York Post, "On a big-budget movie ... they don't have time for drama and inflated egos. Terrence is, without question, a very talented actor, but he is very opinionated and can upset people. As he found out, in Hollywood, everyone is replaceable."

His finances are a nightmare

Perhaps as a result of his own fuzzy math and difficulty to work with, Howard told Rolling Stone that he's poor.

"You know, all my checks from Fox are being held for garnishment, because of my ex [Michelle Ghent]. I'm broke as can be," he said. "But my [current] wife [Mira Pak], she did well for herself, so she's covered us. This place, she's renting it. I'm suffering. There's nothing worse than being a broke movie star." He added that soon he and Pak would buy a house "in Winnetka. The suburbs, as soon as they free up my money."