Howard, 50, did not share why he chose to quit and did not elaborate on what career he plans to pursue instead.
Howard made the surprising declaration on the "Empire" set with "Extra" correspondent Miss USA Cheslie Kryst.
"I'm done pretending." Howard didn't elaborate on what he plans to do after acting, telling Extra that he's not focusing on philanthropy, adding, "I'm just focusing on bringing the truth to the world".
The show will not be returning to TV after season 6.
So what will the actor, known for starring in some of Black Hollywood's most iconic films, miss most about Empire?
"I love the cast members", he said. "I will miss them a great deal, and the crew", he said.
The federal government are reportedly looking into possible financial crimes committed by Terrence, Mira Pak - who he divorced in 2015 but got engaged to again in December 2018 - and her company Universal Bridges Inc.
The news of his supposed retirement coincides with Howard's recent legal troubles, as his finances are reportedly being investigated by the federal government over unpaid taxes.
The Blast reported in April that Howard was hit with a tax lien for $143,538.61 by the State of California Franchise Tax Board. They appeared to have reconciled by September, walking the Emmys red carpet arm in arm that year.