*TMZ is reporting that racism is at the root of Terrence Howard’s messy divorce, and that the actor says his estranged wife hates black people and would often call him names like, “monkey” and “n**ger.”

As previously reported, both sides in the divorce are accusing the other of extreme violence and other hateful conduct.

Now, according to TMZ, Howard has filed a new declaration in L.A. County Superior Court claiming Michelle inexplicably turned from a “loving, gentle” person … into a monster … who once threatened to have him killed by some violent Russians.

In the docs, Howard notes Michelle is not black — and claims that when she would get upset, she would scream things like, “[I] never wanted to marry a n***er in the first place” and “[I] definitely didn’t want to be the stepmother of some n***er kids.”

As TMZ first reported, Howard claims Michelle is trying to extort him over private recordings she allegedly stole from his personal computer. In the new docs, Howard alleges his wife threatened to have him “clipped” if he went to police.

Howard says his wife once bragged, “I have a lot of Russian friends who would do it as a favor.”

Howard also claims Michelle has jealousy issues, and twice attacked him with a bottle after accusing Howard of talking with other women. Howard claims he never struck back.

Terrence has asked the court to issue a restraining order against Michelle. A hearing is set for Jan. 17.