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Ben Zobrist and Julianna only had 'chaste dates' until they got married in 2005 as they were pastors' children

During the early 2000s, Ben and Julianna Zobrist's relationship blossomed through Instant Messenger where the two discussed common interests
UPDATED JUN 23, 2021
Ben Zobrist with Julianna Zobrist (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ben Zobrist with Julianna Zobrist (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Former Major League Baseball star Ben Zobrist made headlines recently after he accused his wife Julianna of having an affair with pastor as Byron Yawn. The revelation came after the couple, who met two decades ago, filed for divorce. 

According to a lawsuit filed by Ben against the pastor, Yawn and Julianna began talking in 2018 through burner phones and the sexual relationship between the two began a year later. Zobrist, who had taken a break from the Cubs to solve his marital problems, lost $8 million in income and therefore, he is now seeking damages for the same from the pastor. However, Ben and Julianna's relationship was not always rocky as they had a pretty romantic start and even laid down some important ground rules in their marriage to make the union work. 


How much money did Ben Zobrist's pastor steal? A look at Bryon Yawn's $15k trips and $36k salary

Byron Yawn manipulated Ben Zobrist into giving Julianna Zobrist space while having affair with her

How did Ben and Julianna meet?


Ben and Julianna met for the first time through the latter's sister's husband, who was Ben's teammate at Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois. Julianna was 16 at the time. “There were no sparks the first time,” Julianna told Parade magazine.

Since both of their fathers were pastors, they held off dating till Julianna enrolled at Belmont University for further studies. During her sophomore year, Julianna heard from Ben on a particularly bad day. “I threw out my back in dance class and broke up with this guy I was hanging out with,” she said. “That same day, Ben emailed me to ask how I was. He was always interested in my life and my heart.” She said that she started praying about him from that day.  “I prayed that God would either put this guy in my life or shut that door,” she said. 

During the early 2000s, their relationship blossomed through Instant Messenger. "There were chaste dates and long phone conversations about God, family and baseball," according to the Tampa Bay Times. They ended up getting married in 2005. 


In 2014, the pair published their first joint book titled, ''Double Play: Faith and Family First' which seemed to suggest that the pair's bond was unbreakable. Julianna said that that the couple decided that if they were going to make a name for themselves in the world of baseball, they are better doing it together. They said that they were also aware that the divorce rate in the baseball industry was as high as 84 percent and as a result, they made it a point not to stay apart from each other more than six days. 

The 6-day rule

In an October 2018 interview with the Chicago Tribune, Julianna said that she and her husband had a rule where they never spend more than six days apart, no matter what their schedules were. The pair sat down prior to the start of each baseball season to discuss their plans.

"We have to schedule it. We have a six-day rule, where we try to not spend any longer than six days apart. That’s sort of the foundation that we try to arrange our schedules out of," she said. "Every spring we sit down, and we have about a six-hour meeting with my team and his." Julianna is also a well-known Christian singer and as a result, stays busy too, just like her husband. 


Julianna added, “It really comes down to priorities, perspective, and passion. We prioritize our family first and foremost. And we both are always spurring one other on to be the best at what we are passionate about. There’s a lot of mutual respect. The mutual understanding of what the other person wants. It wasn’t flirting and physical attraction that made me decide to date him. Of course, we were attracted to each other but it was more than that. It was a lot of prayer and heavy leaning on my heart. I loved the way that he was so thoughtful. Our conversations were always purposeful. I felt safe with him. It was that way from the beginning. Of course, because we were long distance, our first real date was totally awkward. We had to learn how to actually be in the same place.”

However, in a subsequent statement, Julianna said that their initial vow not to stay away from each other more than six days was a logistical nightmare and ultimately not effective in keeping their relationship alive. 

Ben and Julianna's kids


Ben and his estranged wife have three children, one of whom was born five days after Ben's Royals won the 2015 World Series. They are Blaise Royal Zobrist, Kruse Allegra Zobrist, Zion Benjamin Zobrist. The kids travelled with their parents, often attending Ben's matches and staying up late. 

“I travel constantly, but I’m still trying to get used to it,” Ben told Parade magazine. “But the kids see our life as an adventure, which they get from their mom. She always treats it as an adventure, and they’ve caught it from her. They adapt so well to all these scenarios we put them in, and it’s benefited our whole family.”