Wife of Papa John's founder files for divorce

Annette Cox claimed her marriage with the unemployed pizza executive is "irretrievably broken," according to court papers filed on Thursday.
John H. Schnatter
John H. Schnatter, Founder, Chairman & CEO of Papa John's International, Inc. rings the NASDAQ Opening Bell at NASDAQ MarketSite on January 31, 2014 in New York City.Rob Kim / Getty Images

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By David K. Li

The wife of Papa John's founder John Schnatter filed for divorce, claiming her marriage with the unemployed pizza executive is "irretrievably broken," according to court papers filed in Kentucky on Thursday.

Schnatter and Annette Cox, 59, had been married since April 11, 1987, and separated on April 1 of this year, the wife's attorney Melanie Straw-Boone wroter in papers filed in Oldham Circuit Court.

Cox called Schnatter a 57-year-old Louisville resident who "is not employed," according to boilerplate, three-page petition.

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"The marriage between petitioner and respondent is irretrievably broken," Straw-Boone wrote.

The couple have two children and share unspecified real estate holdings, the filing said.

Schnatter stepped down as CEO in late 2017 after reports surfaced that he uttered a racial slur during a conference call.

Separate from the divorce case, Schnatter filed a lawsuit Thursday against an advertising firm which was at the center of the racial slur incident.

Schnatter allegedly uttered the slur during a call with advertising firm Laundry Service, which the pizza executive accused of recording him without his consent. The lawsuit claims that Laundry Service leaked excerpts of the conference call, which broke a nondisclosure agreement.

Two weeks ago, Schnatter accused his former company of making substandard pizza. He said his former company has failed in keeping up with its long-time slogan: "Better Ingredients, Better Pizza."

"I've had over 40 pizzas in the last 30 days, and it's not the same pizza," Schnatter told WDRB, a Fox affiliate in Louisville, Kentucky. "It's not the same product. It just doesn't taste as good."