Terrence Howard's ex-wife has filed legal documents against him for physical assault.

Michelle Ghent alleges 'The Butler' star - whom she split from in May 2013 after three years of marriage - punched her in the face, grabbed her by the neck and threw her against the wall, following an argument in Costa Rica where they were holidaying with family last week.

According to TMZ.com Michelle says after Terrence hit her before getting two four-six inch curved knives from the bedside table.

Michelle, who was highly distressed, panicked and pepper sprayed him, at which point she claims Terrence knocked her down and kicked her repeatedly in the head.

Consequently, she has a black eye and claims to have suffered contusions and swelling.

During the altercation the Hollywood action star also reportedly threatened to kill her, while reportedly referring to a warning he had given her on a trip to Bora Bora.

Michelle was granted a temporary protection order preventing Terrence from coming within 100 yards of her, in court in Los Angeles on Tuesday (06.08.13).

Terrence is also not allowed to make contact with Michelle in any way. His own request for a restraining order was not granted.