Julianna Zobrist, the wife of former Chicago Cubs star Ben Zobrist, is seeking $4 million as she claimed her husband allegedly failed to “preserve marital assets” when he took a leave of absence from the Major League Baseball team in 2019.
In court documents obtained by the Chicago Tribune on Monday, Julianna Zobrist claimed the 2016 World Series MVP “intentionally and voluntarily stopped working” and went from “the top of his game” to “giving up” which affected the household income.
She is reportedly seeking an even split of marital assets and the large sums claiming the figure is the “amount of money he failed to preserve by abruptly and intentionally failing to satisfy his baseball contract.”
Zobrist and his wife, Julianna, are in the middle of the messy divorce. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
According to Spotrac, Zobrist is estimated to have made about $78.3 million during his 13-year baseball career.
The former MLB player’s attorney, Helen S. Rogers, called the claim “utterly absurd” in a filing to the judge who is set to handle the divorce proceedings. Rogers said that Julianna Zobrist’s alleged affair with former Tennessee pastor Byron Yawn caused the outfielder “extreme mental distress” and added that the singer “coaxed” her husband into returning to the Cubs.
“Rather than accepting blame for having torn her husband’s heart out by having an affair with their pastor, she expected him to be able to totally focus in an elite athletic job that required (100%) of his physical and mental energy,” Rogers wrote in the filing, via the Chicago Tribune. “It is Mrs. Zobrist, by having the extramarital affair and confessing same to her husband, and not disclosing the true extent of her affair, that caused him such extreme mental distress and difficulty that resulted in an inability to finish his long and very successful career in the way that he had hoped for and planned for.”
Divorce proceedings are set to take place on Aug. 9.
Zobrist played for the Cubs from 2016 to 2019. (Getty Images)
The alleged affair was revealed in June, according to the Journal Star.
Ben Zobrist claimed his wife and Yawn had the affair while Yawn was their pastor at Community Bible Church in Nashville. According to the paper, Yawn served as the couple’s pre- and post-marital counselor and that he and Julianna started talking more in 2018 and then had a sexual relationship in 2019.
Yawn’s wife, Robin, reportedly found pre-paid phones that the two were using to contact each other and she alerted the former MLB player of the alleged affair, initially believing they were in an emotional relationship. Julianna Zobrist would later admit to having the sexual relationship in June 2020 via their divorce proceedings.
Yawn is also accused of having Zobrist sign autographs, get tickets for baseball games, host events at his home and send personal messages to newly baptized members of the church, the paper reported. The suit also claimed that Yawn received $3,500 monthly checks from a non-profit Zobrist founded for two months after he was fired as executive director in March 2019.
Ben Zobrist is also suing Yawn for $6 million in a separate case for alleged “intentional inflection of emotional distress” and defrauding his charity, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Ben Zobrist in May 2019 filed for legal separation from Julianna, alleging she “has been guilty of inappropriate marital conduct,” according to the Tennessean. He filed for separation in Tennessee, while Julianna filed for divorce in Illinois, according to the Chicago-Sun Times.
Zobrist at that time took a leave of absence from baseball. He rejoined the Cubs in September 2019 and would later retire at the conclusion of the 2019 season.
Julianna Zobrist, a Christian pop singer, has sung the national anthem at several Cubs games in the past and performed “God Bless America” before a 2016 World Series game at Wrigley Field.