$5-Million Lawsuit? Why Vanessa Bryant’s Mom Is Suing Her
Kobe Bryant’s widow Vanessa Bryant and her mom Sofia Laine have not been on good terms since his death in a helicopter crash earlier this year.
A new court document obtained by People magazine confirms that Laine is suing Bryant for financial support, claiming she worked without any pay as a “longtime personal assistant and nanny” for the famous family.
According to the papers, Sofia claims that Kobe had “promised” to care for her “for the rest of her life.”
“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,” Laine claimed.
In response to the allegations, Vanessa accuses her mother of “continuing to try and find ways to extort a financial windfall from our family.”
In a statement to People magazine, the mother of four said, “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."
Vanessa also lost her daughter Gianna, 13, in the crash, which killed nine.
“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," Vanessa continued. "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."
Vanessa claimed, “She was a grandmother who was supported by me and her son-in-law at my request. 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 argued, "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."
Referencing Sofia’s recent sit-down interview with Univision, Vanessa said, “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. 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."
Vanessa accused Sofia of using intermediaries to “demand $5 million, a house and a Mercedes SUV.” She went on, “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."
Calling Laine’s lawsuit “frivolous, disgraceful and unimaginably hurtful,” Vanessa said, “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."
Vanessa emphasized, “My husband never promised my mother anything and he would be so disappointed in her behavior and lack of empathy."
During the sit-down interview in September, Sofia accused Vanessa of forcing her to move out of the Irvine home in which she had been living and also requesting that Sofia return a car.
Laine told reporter Dave Valadez in Spanish, “She told me, 'I need you to get out of this house.' She also told me that she wanted her car and she wants it now.”
It is unclear what led to Vanessa and Sofia's falling out, and when it happened.
At the time, Vanessa said in a statement to the show, “My husband and daughter passed away unexpectedly, and yet my mother had the audacity to do a television interview speaking negatively of me while shedding tears for a car and a house that were not in her name.”
Vanessa continued, “She has removed all her diamond jewelry, emptied the apartment I provided, and put away the furniture to make it look like she doesn't have my support. My husband and I have supported her financially for the past 20 years, and continue to do so, in addition to her monthly alimony.”
According to Vanessa, her mom was not “physically present or emotionally supportive of my daughters or me” since Kobe and Gianna's tragic deaths.