New details have emerged from court files in former Chicago Cubs star Ben Zobrist’s sordid divorce saga, including how his Christian singer wife allegedly celebrated her predecessor lover with a $30,000 retirement party.
The 40-year-old Major League Baseball player, who has since retired, alleged in a lawsuit filed in May that his wife, Julianna, had a year-long affair with their married Nashville pastor Bryon Yawn, who was on a given the couple marriage counseling.
Ben and Julianna each filed for divorce in 2019 after 14 years of marriage. More than two years later, the former couple remains divorced as their case, which has been complicated by multimillion-dollar claims and lawsuits, continues to make its way through the courts.
The Zobrists’ divorce is scheduled to go to court in August.
Court documents allege that Julianna Zobrist, wife of Chicago Cubs star Ben Zobrist (pictured together, left), spent $30,000 in December 2018 on a retirement party for her predecessor, lover Byron Yawn (right)
Julianna, a mother of three Christian singers, admitted in court records that she bought a burner phone to communicate with Yawn
In court files obtained by the Chicago Tribune on Monday, Ben Zobrist claimed the “genesis” of his marriage’s unraveling was the retirement party his wife, a Christian singer, hosted in December 2018 for Yawn, who was stepping down from his role as an elder of Community Bible Church in Nashville.
“The one night party cost nearly $30,000 and was held at the Zobrist ranch,” the documents said.
Julianna reportedly paid the lavish soiree from the “farm bill” that her husband usually failed to check.
During the celebration, Julianna and Pastor Yawn both got drunk and were described in the files as “dancing” on each other in a provocative way that Ben Zobrist found deeply embarrassing, especially in front of their closest church friends.”
The father of three baseball players personally reprimanded his wife for her behavior, which Julianna reportedly “took offense.”
Before the party, Ben stated in court documents that his wife had told him she had “new thoughts and opinions that diverged from some of their religious background and family beliefs.”
In her own lawsuit, Julianna said she was “starting to question some of her religious beliefs” and reached out to Yawn to “seek solace in his support.” As time went on, their relationship became romantic.
In a statement, Julianna testified that her relationship with the married pastor “crossed the line” in September 2018.
Julianna is said to have told Ben in 2018 that she had “new thoughts” about their religious beliefs. The couple was pictured together in 2016
Julianna, a mother of three Christian singers, admitted in court records that she bought a burner phone to communicate with Yawn. She promised Ben she would stop talking to the pastor while they were in therapy
Ben and Julianna filed for legal separation and divorce in May 2019 respectively, but then decided to try marriage counseling.
Ben said goodbye to the Cubs after learning of Julianna’s affair with Yawn from the then-wife of the vicar, Robin.
During that time, Ben claimed his wife continued to communicate with Yawn with a burning phone “despite her promises to the contrary.”
Julianna admitted to buying a disposable phone in June 2019 to keep in touch with the pastor and then throwing the device away.
Julianna is now demanding that Ben pay her $4 million as part of their divorce settlement, alleging he gave up his career and lost his contract after her affair with Yawn.
Ben and Julianna both filed for divorce in May 2019 after 14 years of marriage
Julianna demands in preliminary court documents obtained by the Chicago Tribune, that Zobrist was “guilty of not preserving marital property” when he left the team.
As a result of his leave of absence, Zobrist played just two months of the 2019 season, earning a pro rata $4.5 million from his $12 million contract, according to court records.
Julianna accused the 2016 World Series MVP of “essentially giving up” and missing out on revenue when he “deliberately and voluntarily” retired.
She wants a 50-50 split of their marital assets and the additional $4 million, which she says is “the amount of money he has been unable to keep by abruptly and deliberately breaching his baseball contract.”
Zobrist’s lawyer labeled the claim “utterly absurd” and accused Julianna of trying to shift blame after admitting she was having an affair with their predecessor.
“Rather than accepting the blame for having torn her husband’s heart through an affair with their predecessor, she expected that he would be able to focus entirely on an elite athletic job that made (100%) of his physical and mental energy,” says the lawyer. said in the statement.
“It is Mrs. Zobrist, in having the extramarital affair and confessing it to her husband, and failing to reveal the true extent of her affair, who caused him such extreme mental distress and difficulties that resulted in the inability to and a very successful career. in the way he had hoped and planned.’
Juliana, who shares three children with her husband, claims Zobrist was ‘guilty of not preserving marital property’ when he left the team in May 2019 amid their marital woes
Zobrist, who wants a 60-40 split of their assets, has accused his wife of overspending $690,000 on the spousal estate.
In the divorce proceedings, Zobrist asks for joint custody of their three children. However, Julianna is behind full custody.
Aside from the divorce proceedings, Zobrist filed a $6 million lawsuit against Yawn in June for emotional distress and allegedly defrauding his charity.
Zobrist claimed in that lawsuit that he initially believed his wife and Yawn were just having an emotional relationship, but found out in June 2020 that they were having an affair.
The $6 million is the income that Zobrist missed out on while on leave.
The lawsuit alleges that the Zobrists, who married in 2005 and have three children, met Yawn more than 16 years ago through the Community Bible Church, where he was a pastor.
The pastor gave the Zobrists pre- and post-marital counseling, the lawsuit says. He also gave Zobrist advice on anxiety and depression.
Yawn and Julianna started talking regularly in 2018 and are said to have had the affair in the spring of 2019. They allegedly used prepaid cell phones to keep it a secret.
At the time, Zobrist confided to Yawn that his marriage was crumbling.
The baseball star told his pastor that Julianna had consulted a divorce attorney, according to the lawsuit.
At the time, Zobrist confided to Yawn that his marriage was crumbling in a series of texts included in the lawsuit. The baseball star told his pastor that Julianna had consulted a divorce attorney according to the lawsuit rechtszaak
In a text message to Yawn about the breakdown of his marriage, Zobrist wrote: “She used the words emotional, verbal and spiritual abuse. I was shocked. I can’t be 2,000 miles away from her and kids while she’s thinking that about me. I’ve owned every bit of my sin, but I won’t own the abuse corner.”
Yawn replied, ‘I’m sure it’s like being knocked off your feet and in the head. But I can’t imagine what it feels like right now. Your (sic) a husband and a father first. That’s who you are.’
He also urged Zobrist to give his wife space, the suit said.
During this time, the lawsuit alleges that Yawn also landed a leadership position at Patriot Forward, a nonprofit organization Zobrist founded to help athletes with mental health.
Yawn was fired in March 2019 but continued to fraudulently receive a salary of $3,500 a month until May, the lawsuit alleges.
It is not clear how he was able to receive the salary even after his resignation.
Yawn’s relationship with Julianna reportedly came to light after the vicar’s wife, Robin Yawn, discovered the prepaid phones the couple had been using in May 2019.
She told Zobrist that she believed her husband had an emotional relationship with Julianna.
Zobrist said goodbye to the Cubs and filed for divorce, according to the lawsuit.
The baseball star only discovered in June 2020 – following court documents filed during the divorce proceedings – that his wife had allegedly had a sexual relationship with Yawn.
Zobrist returned to the Cubs in September 2019, but retired at the end of the season.
Yawn is no longer affiliated with the Church and is now CEO of the Nashville business consulting firm Forrest Crain & Co.