Judge rejects Zac Brown’s restraining order against estranged wife Kelly Yadzi

But he is open to holding a hearing on the issues regarding Yadzi’s public comments about Brown
The Zac Brown Band entertained a large Truist Park crowd on Friday, June 17, 2022, on their Out in the Middle tour. (Photo: Robb Cohen for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Robb Cohen for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Robb Cohen for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Zac Brown Band entertained a large Truist Park crowd on Friday, June 17, 2022, on their Out in the Middle tour. (Photo: Robb Cohen for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

A federal judge on Friday rejected Atlanta country star Zac Brown’s restraining order against his estranged wife in which he wanted social media posts that violated confidentiality agreements and defamed him removed.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Billy Ray wrote that he “denies the motion for restraining order on the basis that the court has serious reservations as to whether [Brown] will prevail on the merits.”

But Ray said a hearing for a “related motion for interlocutory injunction” in which he wants to stop her from commenting further will be scheduled “when the parties are ready to proceed on it.”

Brown filed for the temporary restraining order on May 17.

He and Kelly Yazdi dated for 20 months, then were married for four more months before the couple jointly announced they were divorcing this past December.

Yazdi has posted multiple social media posts describing a damaged relationship without naming names. “Projections. Gaslighting. Threatening. Stonewalling. Those are the ingredients of narcissistic abuse,” she wrote in an Instagram post earlier this month.

In his court filing, Brown said Yazdi had broken confidentiality agreements she had signed as a former employee of his company, Zac Brown Collective. He asked her to stop “making any defamatory, false, untrue or otherwise damaging statements regarding [Zac Brown Collective] and its affiliates, Mr. Brown and his family, and the Zac Brown Band and any of its members or their family members.”

In Yazdi’s response, her lawyers wrote, “Ms. Yazdi’s poetic expressions regarding broken hearts and broken relationships present no ‘emergency’ the court must drop its important work to tend to urgently, much less pose any threat – of irreparable harm or otherwise – to Brown’s self-described ‘international celebrity status’ or the remarkable and continuing success of the Zac Brown Collective, Inc.”

“This court should not permit itself to be used so transparently to trample First Amendment rights,” the filing continued. “Nothing in Ms. Yazdi’s employment agreements preclude her from talking about her private life and marriage with Brown.” The filing said Yazdi released no “confidential information” from her employment with him.

The filing called “the gag order sought by Brown is particularly hypocritical here, as it comes only after he used his massive celebrity platform to publicly humiliate and defame Ms. Yazdi by first unilaterally announcing their divorce to a tabloid (TMZ), while pressuring Ms. Yazdi to issue a joint statement requesting ‘privacy’ regarding that divorce.”

She also said the Zac Brown Band released a music video featuring video from their November 2023 wedding “in which Ms. Yazdi’s image was intentionally replaced with a model resembling her and depicted drinking heavily and popping pills.” (They married in August but held a party with friends and family in November.)

She asked him to take down the video, but he did not.

Yadzi’s attorney R. Jason D’Cruz who wrote her filing did not respond to an email Sunday for comment about the judge’s ruling.

A spokeswoman for Brown chose not to address any specific issues from Yazdi’s filing. Instead, she released a statement: “Ms. Yazdi and her legal team purposely dropped an extensive document of made-for-the-press allegations the night before the morning of the hearing. It is a collection of falsehoods and fabrications in an a calculated attempt to mislead and gain more media attention. We firmly intend to dismantle these fairy tales with our evidence, which will speak for itself in the upcoming hearing. Brown’s goal remains to restore the privacy he and Ms. Yazdi had originally agreed to.”

Temporary restraining orders are only used until a more permanent injunction can be put in place and are typically given in emergency situations to prevent immediate harm, according to Randall Kessler, an Atlanta divorce attorney not involved in the Brown case but who has handled many celebrity divorces.

But Brown’s efforts to restrict Yazdi’s ability to speak about him isn’t easy to accomplish, Kessler added.

“One of the problems that we always face in situations like this when our celebrity clients seek a restraining order is that there is a high bar to surpass to get the judge to grant such an order,” Kessler said. “And if we don’t win, then the other person feels empowered. It is difficult, but most of our clients in similar situations restrain themselves so they do not to engage and give the person more oxygen to speak. Courts are often reluctant to restrain speech.”