Home / News / Local / Former Royals player Ben Zobrist sues pastor over affair with wife

Former Royals player Ben Zobrist sues pastor over affair with wife

Ben Zobrist, who helped lead the Kansas City Royals to the 2015 World Series championship, is suing his former pastor for allegedly having an affair with his wife.

Zobrist says that his wife, pop singer Julianna Zobrist, had an affair with the couple’s former Tennessee pastor, who also served as their marriage counselor. He is suing the former minister for damages, claiming he defrauded his charitable foundation.

The lawsuit revealed that Pastor Bryon Yawn had an affair with Julianna Zobrist while pastor at Community Bible Church in Nashville. The suit claims that Yawn and Julianna Zobrist began talking over the phone every day in 2018, which later developed into a sexual relationship in the spring of 2019.

READ: Ben Zobrist on faith

Zobrist reportedly seeks $6 million in damages from Yawn, who served as the couple’s pre-and-post-marital counselor and provided counsel regarding anxiety and depression.

The former minister, now the CEO of a Nashville-area business-consulting firm Forrest Crain & Co, also is accused of defrauding Zobrist’s Patriot Forward organization, a nonprofit that helps professional athletes navigate mental health issues. Yawn used to work for the foundation as executive director.

While an elder at Community Bible Church in Nashville, Yawn met the couple. According to the church’s senior pastor, Ryan Haskin, Yawn is no longer associated with the church.

The scandal was first discovered by Yawn’s wife, who found prepaid phones used by her husband and Julianna Zobrist to communicate secretively. She alerted the former MLB player of what she believed only to be an emotional affair between his wife and her husband. However, divorce proceedings in June 2020 exposed that Julianna and Yawn had a sexual relationship that began in 2019.

While his marriage was falling apart, Zobrist took a leave of absence from baseball and later retired at the conclusion of the 2019 season. During that time, the 40-year-old player confided in Yawn and sought marital counseling from him. The lawsuit alleges that Yawn took advantage of personal and private information that Zobrist shared with him about fissures in the marriage while acting in a pastoral role.

The Zobrists were married in 2005 and have three children. The couple first met when Julianna was 16 through Julianna’s sister’s husband, who was a teammate of Zobrist’s when he attended Olivet Nazarene University.