1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Rays

Former Rays favorites Ben and Julianna Zobrist file separately for divorce

Ben Zobrist files in Tennessee, contends his wife “has been guilty of inappropriate marital conduct,” according to
World Series MVP Ben Zobrist celebrates with his wife, Julianna, after the Chicago Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field in Cleveland. [Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]
World Series MVP Ben Zobrist celebrates with his wife, Julianna, after the Chicago Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field in Cleveland. [Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]
Published May 15, 2019
Updated May 15, 2019

Ben and Julianna Zobrist were just starting their marriage, their family and their dual careers when he first joined the Rays in 2006.

Now, after considerable fame and fortune together — Ben on the baseball field, Julianna as a Christian singer, inspirational speaker and author of several books — and three kids, they have each filed for divorce in separate states.

Ben filed for legal separation Monday in Williamson County, Tenn., where the couple keeps an offseason home in a Nashville suburb, the Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday, while Julianna filed in Cook County, Ill., also on Monday.

Ben Zobrist, 37, has been on leave from the Cubs for a week for what the team said was a “family matter.’’

Ben Zobrist’s filing contends that his wife “has been guilty of inappropriate marital conduct which render further cohabitation impossible,” reported, though the article did not elaborate.

“Husband is unsure if the marriage can be salvaged,” the filing says, according to the Tennessean.

Related: RELATED: From Times files: How the swinger and the singer mix talent and devotion

In her filing, Julianna Zobrist, 34, did not provide a reason for seeking the divorce. Per the Tribune, she hired Berger Schatz attorney Karen Krehbiel, who represented Chicago billionaire hedge fund CEO Kenneth Griffin in his 2014 divorce.

The Zobrists, both children of preachers, were married Dec. 17, 2005, in Iowa City, Iowa, her hometown. They have three children, Zion, Kruse and Blaise.

They made a point during their time with the Rays never to go more than six days without seeing each other, as Julianna would travel on her own with the kids to road trips. She also made a number of appearances on the field singing the national anthem before games.

Ben Zobrist was traded to the Rays as a minor-leaguer in a July 2006 trade for Aubrey Huff and, under manager Joe Maddon, developed into an All-Star and the mold for the multipositional super utility player that has become an integral part of MLB rosters. During the time with the Rays, the Zobrists became somewhat fan favorites.

Zobrist played nine years for the Rays, then was traded in January 2015 to Oakland. He has since played for the Royals and Cubs, winning a World Series with each and reuniting with Maddon in Chicago.

Contact Marc Topkin at Follow @TBTimes_Rays.


  1. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and Tampa Mayor Jane Castor answer questions during a meeting of the Tampa Tiger Bay Club Friday.
  2. Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Brendan McKay (49) is seen in the dugout during the fifth inning against Toronto Blue Jays on Sept. 07, 2019, at Tropicana Field.
  3. Tampa Bay Rays Japanese slugger Yoshi Tsutsugo in the  batting cage during batting practice on the Rays first full-squad workout at the Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Rd, on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020 in Port Charlotte.
  4. Hey kids, these are called ticket stubs. There was a time when you actually had to carry these around with you to get into ballgames and concerts. They're not as efficient as mobile apps, but they do have a certain sentimental value.
  5. Finishing at, or near, the bottom of MLB in attendance isn't even the biggest problem for the Rays. It's the huge gap between where the Rays are in attendance compared to the average team. Tampa Bay is roughly 92 percent below just an average MLB crowd. [Times files (2017)]
  6. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher D.J. Snelten during the start of spring training in Port Charlotte, Florida on Thursday, February 13, 2020.
  7. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell signs autographs for fans during spring baseball practice Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020 in Port Charlotte, Fla.
  8. Tampa-based sports agent B.B. Abbott, left, successfully climbs Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for pediatric cancer charities. He is pictured with friends Dustin Bertram, middle, and Pete Hendricks, who made the climb with him.
  9. Houston Astros outfielder Myles Straw points to the baseball he signed for Noah Jackson, 9, during FanFest at Minute Maid Park on Jan. 18, 2020, in Houston.
  10. Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Joey Wendle (18) looks from the dugout after losing 6-1 to the Houston Astros after winning Game 5 of the American League Division Series Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019 in Houston.
  11. Tampa Bay Rays fans welcome players during introductions just prior the Rays game against the Houston Astros for Game 3 of the American League Division Series Monday, Oct. 7, 2019 in St. Petersburg.
  12. He was the best player on some pretty bad Tampa Bay teams from 2001-06 before being dealt to Houston in the Ben Zobrist trade, but in his book "Baseball Junkie," Aubrey Huff has admitted he was not a particularly likable character.