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Terrence Howard's Wife Gets Restraining Order Following Abuse Claims

Actor's estranged spouse says he hit her so hard she chipped her tooth

Terrence Howard's estranged wife Michelle Howard has received a temporary restraining order after claiming a pattern of physical abuse and menacing behavior on the part of the "Hustle & Flow" star.

Under the order, which has been obtained by TheWrap, the actor, 42, must stay at least 100 yards from his wife, her residence, her car and her workplace. The order will stay in effect until a Jan. 17 hearing on the matter.

In a declaration accompanying her request for the order, Michelle Howard — who wed the actor on Jan. 20, 2010 and filed for divorce a year later — says that the "August Rush" star "became verbally and physically abusive toward me" shortly after their wedding.

Just seven days after the wedding, she says, Howard punched her across the face and neck during an argument about a second cell phone that he'd allegedly kept secret from her.

During another blow-up in July 2010, Michelle Howard says, the actor grabbed her by the neck and threw her across the room, then threatened to toss her off of a hotel balcony.

During yet another incident, she claims, he hit her so hard in the face that her tooth chipped.

The alleged pattern of threats and harassment continued up to Dec. 1, when Howard allegedly sent her a text message saying, "Satan is taunting me and there is no rest for my mind. So I beg you not to exercise the right that you have, divorce me and do what you wish but do not crush my families [sic] already threatened livelihood. I can't promise how I will respond."

In his own declaration, Howard says that he's never threatened Michelle, and that the Dec. 1 text was not sent as a threat. To the contrary, he says, despite having agreed to only communicate through their lawyers in September, Michelle has made numerous phone calls, text messages and emails, and threatened to release personal material to third parties unless he agreed to pay her.

Howard, who came to singer Chris Brown's defense after he was arrested for assaulting then-girlfriend Rihanna, was himself arrested for domestic violence in 2001, after allegedly punching his estranged wife Lori McCommas in the face.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.