BY ANDREW MARRA
Palm Beach Post
New Age music superstar Yanni was arrested at his Manalapan home early Friday morning after his girlfriend accused him of slapping and shaking her during a late-night argument.
The international New Age icon spent 12 hours at the Palm Beach County Jail before being released Friday afternoon. He did not have to post bond, but he is barred from contact with his girlfriend and is required to check in daily with court workers.
Police in Manalapan, a wealthy coastal town in central Palm Beach County, were called to the oceanfront home of the 51-year-old musician — whose legal name is John Y. Christopher — late Thursday after his girlfriend called 911 from a locked bathroom, according to a police report.
The girlfriend, Silvia Barthes, 33, told police that Yanni threw her clothes from the closet and ordered her to move out of his house, a $7.7 million property on South Ocean Boulevard.
Barthes, who could not be reached for comment, told police that Yanni grabbed her forearms and shook her, then threw her onto a bed. She said he also slapped her, according to the report.
Yanni admitted they argued but said he only grabbed her arms after she kicked him in the groin, police said. He said he hurt his left middle finger during the confrontation but denied striking her.
When police arrived, they say Barthes’ lip was swollen and bloody. She told an officer she thought she may have struck her own lip while Yanni shook her.
Police arrested Yanni on a charge of domestic battery, a first-degree misdemeanor.
Yanni’s lawyer, Orlando Gonzalez, denied that the musician ever hit or harmed Barthes. He accused Barthes of fabricating the story to damage Yanni’s reputation.
”He absolutely is not guilty and did not strike that woman,” Gonzalez said, adding that “the last thing this man would want to do is hurt his hands.”
Gonzalez said the encounter was witnessed by some of Yanni’s home staff, and that they could dispute Barthes’ account. He declined to provide details.
The state attorney’s office will review the case and determine whether to file any charges against Yanni, an agency spokesman said.
Yanni had been dating Barthes exclusively for 1 ½ years, and she had been living with him in Manalapan since December, according to Barthes’ account to police.
She told police the couple went out to dinner Thursday night, and that Yanni asked her during the meal to move out.
Yanni, a flamboyant Greek-born keyboardist known for his meditative instrumental compositions, has sold millions of New Age albums worldwide. He achieved international fame during the 1990s and has performed concerts at the Acropolis in Greece, the Taj Majal in India and China’s Forbidden City.