Composite image of Zac Brown as a Miami Heat game and Kelly Yazdi in an Instagram post
(Paras Griffin / Getty / Kelly Yazdi / Instagram)

Kelly Yazdi Claps Back After Ex-Husband Zac Brown Sues Her Over a Personal Poem

Kelly Yazdi has responded to her ex-husband, Zac Brown, declaring she will not be silenced in response to a lawsuit he filed against her for posting a personal poem on social media.

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Yazdi is an actor and model best known for appearing in Hawaii Five-O and The Martial Arts Kid. She is also the founder of Ride Wild, a community formed to support adventurous women and raise awareness for women in motorsports. The actress also worked for a time for the Zac Brown Collective record label. She married Brown in August of 2023 after a year-long engagement. Four months later, Yazdi and the country singer released a joint statement to confirm they were getting a divorce.

The divorce initially appeared amicable until two months ago, when Brown released the music video for his “Beautiful Drug” remix with Avicii. Brown was accused of bizarrely utilizing footage from his and Yazdi’s wedding celebration in the video. Additionally, the actress in the video bears a striking resemblance to Yazdi and is seen taking drugs. Many commenters, including Yazdi’s sister, Laura, accused Brown of using the video to promote a false narrative about his ex-wife. “Had I known that footage would be used to promote drug usage and drinking alcohol I never would have agreed to be in the footage,” Laura wrote. “Secondly, this woman looks exactly like your wife. Is this an attempt to tarnish her reputation?”

Yazdi remained silent on the video, but several weeks ago, she posted a poem to her Instagram page.

Why Zac Brown is suing Kelly Yazdi over a poem

Yazdi paired her poem, titled “the rebirth,” with a short video of her taking a swim. The poignant poem is about a woman struggling to break free from narcissistic abuse. It begins with prose about a woman who was once a “wildflower” and “wild horse” who “roamed free.” However, she made the mistake of trusting her partner and moving away from her home, “not realizing the hands she trusted would plant her in a pot.” Her partner, due to his own “unhealed trauma,” felt the need to “tame” her. The woman was controlled by her partner, who forced her to stop modeling and controlled what she posted on social media. Yazdi writes that the abuse “nearly destroyed her,” but she made it through the storm and is now remembering “who she was before all of this.”

The poem earned many likes and comments from women with similar experiences, who found the words inspirational and praised Yazdi for raising awareness of abuse through her art. Although Brown was not named in the post, he responded to the post by filing a lawsuit against Yazdi, demanding that the poem be taken down. In the suit, Brown claims the post violated some kind of “confidentiality agreement” Yazdi signed. Brown is seeking a restraining order that would force Yazdi to remove the post and refrain from “making any defamatory, false, untrue, or otherwise damaging statements.”

However, Yazdi is refusing to be silenced by Brown. She responded to his lawsuit with a lengthy statement on Instagram, writing, “No one — not even Zac Brown with all of his money, power, celebrity, and lawyers – may silence my right to freely express myself through art.” She went on to point out that his lawsuit is “meritless” because her decision to speak about matters in her “personal life” does not constitute her leaking confidential information about the Zac Brown Collective, as it seems the agreement in question was between Yazdi and the record label.

Additionally, Yazdi spoke out for the first time about the “Beautiful Drug” video, talking about how ironic it is that Brown is suing her after he released “a music video that deliberately mocked our wedding party” and included “a false and defamatory caricature” of her. Yazdi explained that she had remained silent on the video in an effort to keep their divorce out of the public eye. Then, Brown dragged their divorce proceedings into the public by portraying “himself as a victim” and trying to suppress her art with a lawsuit. She concluded, “It will not work, and I will not be silenced by him no matter how ridiculous his tactics. Like Zac, I have lawyers too, and I will tell my truth in court — where he has unnecessarily dragged me.”

Whatever the outcome, Yazdi’s legal battle is incredibly relevant, as women are increasingly being silenced and prohibited from identifying as survivors of abuse.

The case is reminiscent of the Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard case, in which Depp managed to successfully sue Heard for defamation for writing an op-ed in which she identified as a survivor of abuse. The essay did not name him, and a UK court ruled Heard’s allegations were true, but that didn’t stop Depp from proceeding with his suit in the U.S. Since his victory, the fear of such retaliatory measures against women speaking their truth has grown, with individuals like Andrew and Tristan Tate, Marilyn Manson, and now Brown borrowing a page from Depp’s book and suing women who accuse them of abuse or so much as identify as survivors.

Yazdi’s case is especially concerning, as she is being told she can’t so much as write poetry or make art about her experiences. So many of the most powerful works of art that have inspired others, such as Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey, are born directly from women’s real-life experiences with abuse and healing. These art forms raise awareness for abuse survivors and make others feel less alone. Yet, the ways in which women can express themselves and speak their truth are growing increasingly limited as even writing a poem inspired by one’s experiences now raises the possibility of defamation suits and restraining orders.

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.