Vanessa Bryant is firing back after her mother filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against her.
Sofia Laine, Bryant’s mother, is seeking $5 million in financial support from her, alleging she worked as an “unpaid and longtime personal assistant and nanny” for the Bryant family. In the suit, according to People, Laine claims prior to Kobe Bryant’s death on January 26, the soon-to-be Basketball Hall of Famer “promised to take care of” her “for the rest of her life.”
Vanessa Bryant calls the lawsuit “frivolous, disgraceful and unimaginably hurtful.”
Per court docs, “Unfortunately, Kobe Bryant’s promises did not see the light of day as he is now deceased, and Vanessa Bryant took each and every step she could to void and cancel all of Kobe Bryant’s promises made to [Laine]. Vanessa Bryant did not intend to honor any of the Bryants’ representations, agreements, and promises at any stage.”
Vanessa sees the move as an extortion attempt, telling People her mother is “continuing to try and fin ways to extort a financial windfall from our family.”
She continued, “I have supported her for nearly 20 years, and she was never my or Kobe’s personal assistant, nor was she a nanny. I have always been a stay-at-home mother and my husband and I were our daughters’ full-time caregivers.”
“For nearly two decades, we arranged for my mother to live in our nearby properties, at no cost to her because she had claimed that she didn’t have any money to buy her own home after her divorce,” Bryant told People in her statement. “My husband and I felt it was best for her not to live in our home. She watched our girls from time to time, just like most grandparents do. She did not take care of business issues or expenses.”
“She was a grandmother who was supported by me and her son-in-law at my request,” Bryant claimed. “She now wants to back-charge me $96 per hour for supposedly working 12 hours a day for 18 years for watching her grandchildren. In reality, she only occasionally babysat my older girls when they were toddlers. As of 10 years ago, our kids were full-time students and athletes and I didn’t have another child until 2016. Her claims are obviously false but I still tried, repeatedly, to work things out with my mother.”
Bryant is a mother of four girls, 17-year-old Natalia, 4-year-old Bianka and 18-month-old Capri Kobe. Her second daughter, Gianna perished in the helicopter crash which resulted in the death of Kobe and seven others.
In her continued statement to People, Vanessa called the interview her mother gave to Univision in September “beyond hurtful.” Laine alleged Bryant kicked her out of a family home and made her return a car. Bryant says she was still providing financial support for Laine at the time.
“Contrary to what she’s saying, I haven’t left my children’s side since the accident except to visit the cemetery to make arrangements.”
“Earlier this year, I was looking for a new home for her and, a week later, she went on television and gave an interview disparaging our family and making false accusations while living rent-free in a gated apartment complex in Newport Coast,” Bryant alleged. “Even after that betrayal, I was willing to provide my mother with monthly support for the rest of her life and that wasn’t good enough.”
“She instead contacted me through intermediaries (contrary to what she claims, my phone number hasn’t changed) and demanded $5 million, a house and a Mercedes SUV,” Bryant claimed. “Because I did not give in to her hurtful threats and monetary requests, she has spiraled out of control and is making false and absurd claims.”
Bryant said Laine is “now trying to get more money than my husband and I ever spent to provide for her while he was alive.” She added, “She has no regard for how this is affecting my children and me. She wants to live off of my daughters and me for the rest of her life while continuing to collect monthly alimony from her ex-husband since 2004. My husband and I have never discouraged or kept her from providing for herself.”
“My husband never promised my mother anything,” Bryant said. “And he would be so disappointed in her behavior and lack of empathy.”