Terrence Howard Biography

Terrence Howard Biography

Terrence Dashon Howard is an American multi-talented artist who has dabbled in acting, rapping, singing, songwriting and record production. He landed his first significant roles in the 1995 movies Dead Presidents and Mr Holland’s Opus but gained mainstream recognition through various cinema and television performances between 2004 and 2006. Howard’s outstanding portrayal in Hustle & Flow earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

Howard’s acting career boasts diverse notable roles, including Winnie Mandela, Ray, Lackawanna Blues, Crash, Four Brothers, Big Momma’s House, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, Idlewild, Biker Boyz, August Rush, The Brave One, and Prisoners. Although he initially played James Rhodes in Iron Man and its video game adaptation, he was replaced by Don Cheadle for the sequels and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On television, he starred as the lead character Lucious Lyon in the hit series Empire. In addition to his acting work, Howard released his debut album, Shine Through It, in September 2008.

In September 2019, Howard announced his retirement from acting, citing his exhaustion with the pretence that the craft demands. However, he surprised fans by announcing his return to the big screen, starring in the British sci-fi/thriller film Beneath, set for release in 2021.

Early Life

Born on March 11, 1969, in Chicago, Illinois, Terrence Howard’s parents, Tyrone and Anita (née Williams) Howard, were both biracial with African and Anglo roots. His great-grandmother was the renowned actress Minnie Gentry. Howard grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and faced a challenging childhood marked by physical abuse from his father and witnessing his father stabbing another man in the Santa Line Slaying when he was just two years old. As a result, his father was convicted of manslaughter and spent 11 months in prison, and his parents divorced upon his father’s release. Raised by his great-grandmother, Howard endured hardships before achieving success in his acting career. Sadly, his great-grandmother passed away shortly after his appearance in Iron Man.


Howard began his career in entertainment playing Jackie Jackson in the ABC miniseries The Jacksons: An American Dream. He later landed his breakthrough film role in Mr. Holland’s Opus in 1995 and continued to act in both TV and film, including a role in the short-lived series Sparks in the late 1990s. Howard also appeared in music videos and made an appearance on the TV show Family Matters.

In his film roles, Howard seeks characters that help him learn about himself. In the 2005 film Hustle & Flow, he played a pimp and rapper, performing all of the character’s tracks, including the Academy Award-winning song “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp”. Howard has also produced films and hosted the PBS series Independent Lens.

Howard was originally contracted to play Colonel James Rhodes in the 2008 film Iron Man and was the highest-paid actor in the cast, but he was replaced by Don Cheadle in the sequels. Howard released his debut album, Shine Through It, in 2008 and made his Broadway debut in an all-African-American production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

He played Deputy District Attorney Joe Dekker on Law & Order: Los Angeles in 2010 and portrayed Nelson Mandela in the film Winnie Mandela in 2011. Since 2015, he has starred as Lucious Lyon on the TV series Empire and also appeared in the series Wayward Pines.

In 2015, Howard hosted the Guys Choice Awards and was awarded Most Dangerous Man. He announced his retirement from acting in September 2019 but later announced his role in the 2021 British sci-fi/thriller film Beneath.

Personal Life

Howard resides in Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia. He has been married a total of four times to three different women and has five children and two grandchildren.

Howard’s first marriage was to Lori McCommas in 1989. They had three children together: two daughters named Aubrey and Heaven, and a son named Hunter. Although they divorced in 2003, they remarried in 2005 and subsequently divorced again in 2007. Howard’s first wife was raising their children as Jehovah’s Witnesses, despite being born Jewish. Through his daughter Aubrey, Howard is a grandfather to a granddaughter born in December 2012 and a grandson named Adrian born in February 2015.

Howard’s second marriage was to Michelle Ghent in 2010, but she filed for divorce in February 2011, citing physical abuse. In December 2011, Ghent filed for a restraining order against Howard. Their divorce was finalized in May 2013, but the agreement was overturned in 2015 when it was revealed that Howard had signed it under duress of Ghent threatening to sell nude photos and other personal information.

Howard’s third marriage was to Mira Pak, a model and restaurateur, in late 2013. They had two sons together named Qirin Love (born in 2015) and Hero (born in 2016). Although they divorced in 2015, Howard and Pak got engaged to remarry in December 2018.

Howard claims to have attended Pratt Institute for chemical engineering but did not complete his degree. He still considers himself an engineer and intends to complete the three credits he needs to graduate. However, the veracity of his educational history has not been confirmed. On Jimmy Kimmel Live! in 2013, Howard claimed to have earned a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from South Carolina State University, but he was actually awarded an honorary “Doctorate of Humane Letters” after speaking at the university’s commencement ceremony in 2012. The university does not have the authority to award doctorates in chemical engineering.

In 2010, Howard was made an honorary member of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.

Similar Posts