Terrance Howard and Michelle Ghent
Terrence Howard's ex-wife [R] allegedly threatened to kill him and his family during an argument in Costa Rica.

Empire star Terrence Howard was pressured into giving his ex-wife a generous spousal support deal after she blackmailed him with nude pictures and smutty videos, it has emerged.

According to TMZ, the 46-year-old actor is preparing to make a formal legal claim, alleging that he was at the mercy of Michelle Ghent, after she threatened to ruin his career.

The site reports that the illicit images show Howard in comprising positions, including one taken in the shower.

Howard and Ghent divorced in May 2013 after just a year of marriage and have been locked in bitter legal battles ever since. The father-of-three has since remarried model/restaurateur Mira Pak.

Despite not having any children together, Ghent currently gets $5,800 (£3925.26) per month in spousal support and says that under the terms of their divorce she is entitled to 21% of anything the star made over $62,500 in the first three months of 2015.

Howard's lawyer Brian Kramer claims that Ghent was only ever entitled to half-a-year's worth of spousal support, since the marriage lasted just 12 months, but used the nude images in her possession to leverage five years' worth of support. He is expected to use that as evidence of blackmail and extortion in the case.

Although neither the Iron Man star nor Ghent has commented on the blackmail claims, this is not the first time their turbulent romance has made headlines.

During their feud Ghent got a temporary restraining order against him, claiming he had been physically abusive throughout their marriage. Howard fiercely denied the allegations and countered with his own court documents arguing he never threatened his partner.

TMZ also previously reported that court documents revealed that Howard had accused Ghent of threatening to kill him and his family, before pulling out pepper spray and attacking him, his kids and his son-in-law.