Kobe Bryant’s widow is addressing her mother’s “disgraceful” lawsuit. According to a public statement issued on Thursday, December 17, Vanessa Bryant believes her mom Sofia Laine is trying to extort her family for a “financial windfall.”
The lawsuit comes nearly a year after the death of Kobe and Gianna Bryant. The NBA star and his 13-year-old daughter were killed in a helicopter crash in January 2020 that also claimed the lives of seven others. In the months following this tragedy, Vanessa Bryant’s 68-year-old mother accused her daughter of having kicked her out of her home and withholding financial support that Kobe “promised” his mother-in-law before his death while appearing on a talk show called El Gordo y La Flaca. While Vanessa dismissed these claims in the past, it appears that her mother is intent on making this even more serious. On Tuesday, December 15, Sofia officially filed a lawsuit against her daughter in California’s Orange County Superior Court, as per PEOPLE. And now, Vanessa is clearing the air publically.
“My mother is continuing to try and find ways to extort a financial windfall from our family,” Vanessa shared in a lengthy statement shared to social media. “I have supported her for nearly 20 years, and she was never my or Kobe’s personal assistant, nor was she a nanny,” she added, referring to a claim in her mother’s lawsuit stating that she worked as an unpaid “longtime personal assistant and nanny” for the Bryant family.”
Vanessa, who also shares daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 4, and Capri Kobe, 18 months, with the late basketball legend, went on to clarify her mother’s role in their family. “I have always been a stay-at-home mother and my husband and I were our daughter’s full-time caregivers,” she explained. “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. 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 noted. “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.”
Vanessa continued, calling her mother’s claims “obviously false” and expressed her multiple attempts to reach a resolution with her in the past—yet after each offer, her mother continued to demand more (including $5 million, a house, and a Mercedes SUV, according to Vanessa).
“She is now trying to get more money than my husband and I ever spent to provide for her while he was alive. She has no regard for how this is affecting my children and me,” Vanessa concluded. “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. This lawsuit is frivolous, disgraceful and unimaginably hurtful. My husband never promised my mother anything and he would be so disappointed in her behavior and lack of empathy.”