Ben Zobrist drops lawsuit against ex-pastor who had affair with wife

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World Series MVP Ben Zobrist dropped a lawsuit against a former Tennessee pastor who is a focal point of the former baseball player’s divorce from his Christian pop singer wife.

Byron Yawn was accused in a lawsuit separate from the Zobrists’ divorce proceedings for alleged “intentional inflection of emotional distress” and defrauding his charity, the Chicago Tribune reported in July. Yawn and Julianna Zobrist had an affair starting in 2019, which led to the divorce.

Ben Zobrist dropped the $6 million lawsuit he filed against Yawn earlier this month, the Chicago Tribune reported. The notice was reportedly filed “without prejudice” meaning Zobrist could refile the lawsuit 

“It’s a step in the right direction,” Yawn’s attorney Christopher Bellamy told the newspaper. “I’m suspicious for their reasons but I’m optimistic that he’ll continue to do the right things.”

In court filings revealed in July, Ben Zobrist identified a retirement party thrown for Yawn as the “genesis” of his split with Julianna Zobrist. Ben Zobrist said his wife spent $30,000 on the party, which was held at their farm.

Before the start of the 2019 season, Ben Zobrist said his wife admitted to having an “emotional affair” with Yawn. He said he was alerted to the affair by Yawn’s wife in May 2019. The MLB player took a leave of absence on May 8 – and at the time it was unknown why.

Julianna Zobrist allegedly told her husband the affair was over but is accused of keeping in contact with the former pastor and even allegedly bought a “burner phone” to talk to him. She admitted to getting the phone in June 2019 and later threw it away. She said getting the new phone and changing cellphone carriers allowed her to get “rid of her phone that contained the nude photos and text messages that she had sent to Yawn.”

Ben Zobrist attended marriage counseling during his absence with the Cubs in 2019 and alleged that his wife “coaxed” him to return to the Cubs to finish out his contract. During the marriage counseling sessions, Julianna Zobrist is accused of keeping the affair going.

The affair was first publicly revealed in June, according to the Journal Star.

Julianna Zobrist is seeking $4 million in the divorce as she claimed her husband allegedly failed to “preserve marital assets” when he took a leave of absence in 2019. She claimed her husband “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.”

According to Spotrac, Zobrist is estimated to have made about $78.3 million during his 13-year baseball career.

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