Was Ben Zobrist suicidal? Julianna Zobrist reveals 'mental health issues' of husband
Baseball player Ben Zobrist, back in May, alleged that Byron Yawn, a pastor, had an affair with his wife Julianna Zobrist. The athlete filed a $6 million lawsuit against Yawn, claiming that the pastor manipulated him and created distance between him and Julianna under the guise of counseling their marriage. Now, Julianna says the former Chicago Cubs player was “guilty of failing to preserve marital assets” when he took a leave of absence from the team in May 2019.
She will reportedly ask a judge to award her an additional $4 million when those assets are divided during the divorce trial. In 2019, Ben Zobrist, who retired from a 14-season MLB career in March 2020, had a contract with the Chicago Cubs for $12 million, “but since he only played for 2 months, his salary was prorated and he only earned ($4.5 million) of the ($12 million) he could have earned,” according to the memorandum filed on July 14 in Williamson County, Tennessee, by Julianna’s attorney, Marlene Eskind Moses of the Nashville-based MTR Family Law.
Was Ben Zobrist suicidal?
In the aforementioned memo, Julianna alleged that Ben struggled with “mental health issues” that included manic tendencies, depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide. She also claimed that she helped “manage husband’s behavior” so it wouldn’t adversely affect his baseball career. As per the Chicago Tribune, which accessed court documents, however, Ben accused Julianna of orchestrating a “scheme” to persuade Ben to put their divorce proceedings on hold and return to baseball so his earnings would continue to fill the marital coffers.
Julianna in the memo said she continued to “emotionally support” Ben and his “often-rigorous baseball schedule, many of the games lasting late at night, with all three children in tow.” She also alleged that Ben “intentionally and voluntarily stopped working” and “essentially went from the top of his game to basically giving up, which caused a massive loss in income.” Julianna is also seeking primary custody of the children and child support, while Ben advocates for a 50-50 parental plan. Ben “has no real desire to coparent due to his anger towards her,” Julianna said in her filing.
Ben’s lawyers have countered these claims. “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 percent) of his physical and mental energy,” Ben Zobrist’s attorney Helen S Rogers of Nashville-based Rogers, Shea and Spanos wrote in a memorandum. “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.”
Julianna has also countersued Ben for inappropriate marital conduct, though it’s not clear what this entails. Ben has denied the allegation. Ben’s filing also says, “The Court will find that Mrs Zobrist is a spoiled, self-centered person who does not understand the meaning of a dollar.”
Ben and Julianna got married in 2005. This was around the same time they allegedly met Yawn, a former pastor and an elder at Community Bible Church in Nashville. In fact, Yawn allegedly performed pre-marital counseling for the couple in 2005. Ben’s lawsuit against Yawn alleged that in 2007, and again in 2016-2017, Ben Zobrist entered into counseling with Yawn “with respect to certain struggles he was encountering with anxiety and depression.” It also stated that Ben and Julianna “regularly sought the advice and counsel of” Yawn as their pastor and counselor in how to “strengthen their marriage relationship” in 2013.
Ben Zobrist, who was scheduled to return to playing professional baseball in the summer of 2019, was unable to do so due to the fact that Robin Yawn, the pastor’s wife, had informed him that Julianna and Yawn communicated using “burner phones”. Ben allegedly decided to turn his focus entirely on repairing his marital relationship. The lawsuit alleged that as consequence, Ben Zobrist forfeited four months of his 2019 season of his professional baseball contract resulting in approximately eight million dollars of lost income.