Many spouses are extremely mindful of confidentiality and privacy during divorce. All kinds of problematic details may arise during the average litigated divorce, and it makes sense to keep these details under wraps if at all possible. This is true not only with celebrities, business leaders, and other public figures but also with average Americans. The obvious solution is to pursue mediation or collaborative law – processes with “built-in” confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements. What happens if spouses violate these agreements? Could the embarrassing details of a divorce affect a spouse’s income?

Zac Brown Sues Estranged Wife for Social Media Post

In May of 2024, country singer Zac Brown sued his estranged wife, Kelly Yazdi, for a social media post she made, claiming that she violated a confidentiality agreement during their pending divorce. The social media post in question accused the singer of “narcissistic abuse.” This is exactly the type of thing that can affect a celebrity’s career.

While the potential effect on his income is clear, Brown is not suing his estranged wife for defamation. Instead, he simply filed a petition for a restraining order – which was promptly granted by a family court in Georgia. In explaining his decision, the singer did not mention any financial losses. Instead, he claimed that the petition was necessary to protect his family from online harassment. However, he did mention the need to “maintain personal and business affairs in confidence.” This could be a reference to the financial impact of her apparent accusations of abuse. 

A restraining order is only the first step in enforcing a confidentiality agreement during a divorce. The next step may involve monetary penalties. It is likely that both parties agreed on the amount of these penalties when they signed the NDA. Seeing as both are celebrities (Kelly is an actress), these penalties could be quite high. 

Johnny Depp’s Infamous Defamation Lawsuit

Accusations of abuse are relatively common for celebrities going through divorce. Perhaps the most infamous recent example involved Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. After Heard accused her former husband of misconduct in an op-ed, Depp decided to file a defamation lawsuit. Although the lawsuit in the UK was unsuccessful, he won a victory in a US court. 

Part of his argument involved claims that he had missed out on acting roles due to the accusations made by his former wife. He argued that he had been fired from a Harry Potter movie, and that he was finding it difficult to land acting roles. 

How Can a Spouse Prove Lost Income Due to Divorce?

There is no real requirement to prove financial losses caused by unsanctioned revelations during a divorce. However, this course of legal action may only be available to celebrities and public figures. For the average American, a social media post may not affect their income – even if it involves accusations of abuse. 

However, these accusations can be deceptively impactful in the modern era – even for those with relatively low incomes. Employers are now more likely than ever to research a candidate’s social media history during the hiring process. If an angry ex-spouse “tags” the applicant in a post describing abuse, this may arise after a standard Google search. Small business owners may also struggle with lost customers or boycotts due to a public, defamatory divorce.