In divorce documents, Ben Zobrist says Julianna 'coaxed' him into returning to the Chicago Cubs, while she requests $4M of the $8M he forfeited while on leave

Phil Thompson, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Baseball

— Ben Zobrist’s filing adds, “The Court will find that Mrs. Zobrist is a spoiled, self-centered person who does not understand the meaning of a dollar.” (Julianna recently said on social media that she won’t resort to the kind of “ugly accusations” Ben has made during divorce proceedings.)

The Zobrists once were something akin to a celebrity couple in the Christian community and even to mainstream audiences to an extent. They were featured in Parade magazine in 2017, and Julianna was a guest on “Megyn Kelly Today” in September 2018.

Each the child of a minister, Ben and Julianna Zobrist were introduced because one of Ben’s teammates at Olivet Nazarene University was married to Julianna’s older sister. The Zobrists married on Dec. 17, 2005, in Iowa City, Iowa.

Ben Zobrist worked his way up from the minor leagues to play for the Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland Athletics, Kansas City Royals and Cubs. He won back-to-back World Series championships with the Royals (2015) and Cubs (2016), and he was named the 2016 World Series MVP.

Julianna Zobrist carved out a career as a self-help author, motivational speaker and singer. She sang the national anthem at some Cubs games, and Ben used a couple of her songs as walk-up music at Wrigley Field, including her cover of Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets” and her single “Alive,” which hit No. 48 on Billboard’s Christian digital songs chart in November 2015, according to

The Zobrists famously kept a “six-day rule” with which they made sure no more than six days passed without spending time together as a family. That sometimes meant shadowing Ben’s travel schedule with baseball. They bought a house in Chicago so the family would have a home base during the Cubs season.


However, Julianna Zobrist maintains that “as the marriage progressed, (she) began to experience (Ben)’s perfectionist tendencies which would often feel overbearing and controlling.”

Both parties agree things began to change substantially in 2018.

Ben Zobrist says in his brief that Julianna told him she had “new thoughts and opinions that differed from some of their religious background and family beliefs.” Julianna says her in own memorandum that she “began questioning some of her religious beliefs.”

“Wife reached out to her pastor, Byron Yawn, and found solace in his support,” she continued. “The parties had a friendship with Mr. Yawn and his family. Wife’s friendship and connection with Mr. Yawn grew over a period of time and changed into a romantic relationship.


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