THE estranged wife of Chicago Cubs star Ben Zobrist is demanding $4million in compensation for his decision to take a leave of absence from the team after she had an affair with the couple's pastor.
Julianna Zobrist, a Christian electronic pop singer, will argue in next month's divorce trial that Ben is "guilty of failing to preserve marital assets" because he took a leave of absence to work on their marital issues.
It comes after Ben, 40, filed a lawsuit in May demanding $6million from Nashville pastor Byron Yawn, who he alleges had an ongoing affair with Julianna.
According to documents from the suit, obtained by The Peoria Journal Star, Julianna began talking to the Community Bible Church pastor in 2018, and the relationship became sexual two years later.
She allegedly used burner phones to communicate with Yawn, who at one point served as the Zobrists' marriage counselor.
After learning of the affair in June of 2020, Ben Zobrist took a leave of absence to address their marital issues.
The MLB star sat out Cubs games for four months and lost $8million in salary, half of which Julianna is now demanding for herself, along with half of the pair's total assets.
Her suit argues that because of the leave, Ben “essentially went from the top of his game to basically giving up, which caused a massive loss in income.”
In pretrial documents obtained by the Chicago Tribune, Julianna's attorney states: "In 2019, he[Ben] 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."
Ben's attorney issued a response, branding the demand as "utterly absurd."
"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," the response states.
"'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."
Ben is pushing for a 60-40 split of assets, claiming that Julianna overspent their estate by “at least $691,602.86."
Julianna also alleges in the pretrial documents that she was forced to "manage [her] husband's behavior" because of his struggles with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
She argues that she supported Ben throughout his "often-rigorous baseball schedule, many of the games lasting late at night, with all three children in tow."
Ben fires back that Julianna overspent budgets by hundreds of thousands, and paid more than $188,000 of the couple's funds on clothing alone.
In the baseball player's separate lawsuit against Yawn, he claims the pastor also defrauded his charity, Patriot Forward.
The suit states that Yawn "“usurped the ministerial-counselor role, violated and betrayed the confidence entrusted to him by the plaintiff, breached his fiduciary duty owed to the plaintiff and deceitfully used his access as counselor to engage in an inappropriate sexual relationship with the plaintiff’s wife.”
Both Yawn and Julianna have admitted to the affair, and that the two lied about the nature of their relationship.
Yawn responded, "At the end of the day, a woman has the right to choose who she wants to be with.
"We’re in the middle of litigation, so I can’t really comment further at this point, but that’s what it boils down to."
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