Former Chicago Cubs star Ben Zobrist is currently embroiled in some ugly divorce proceedings with his wife, Julianna. Zobrist alleges Julianna had an affair with their pastor, Byron Yawn, who also is accused of defrauding Zobrist’s charity. Zobrist is seeking $6 million in damages in a lawsuit filed in Tennessee last week, according to Nick Vlahos of the Peoria Journal Star.
Ben and Julianna Zobrist got married in 2005 and have three kids, and they met Yawn about 16 years ago. The lawsuit alleges Yawn began talking daily with Julianna in August 2018 and they began having a sexual relationship in the spring of 2019 that lasted for a year. Yawn’s wife, Robin, reportedly discovered prepaid phones used to hide the relationship in May 2019 and told Ben, but it wasn’t known at that time that the relationship was sexual in nature.
That wasn’t discovered until June 2020 after the Zobrists entered marital counseling. Julianna evidently admitted to the relationship after lying about it. The former Cubs utility man officially filed for divorce in May 2019, with Julianna filing a counter-complaint in March 2020.
As his marriage was falling apart and before he knew about what was going on, Zobrist had actually been confiding in Yawn about his problems. Yawn apparently even told him to give Julianna some space, a sinister move given what was happening behind Ben’s back.
Yawn also managed to slither himself into a leadership position with a not-for-profit Zobrist founded. Yawn allegedly defrauded the charity after getting fired, and his now-former church also got numerous contributions ($10,000 monthly) from Zobrist over time. The former Cubs star even gave the Yawn family between $10-15,000 to fund a pastoral trip.
Ben Zobrist retired after the 2019 season to wrap up a 14-year MLB career. During that 2019 season, Zobrist left the Cubs in order to deal with his marital issues. He won two World Series in his career and won World Series MVP with the Cubs in 2016.