Vanessa Bryant responds to her mother’s ‘hurtful’ $5M lawsuit

Kobe Bryant's wife is now dealing with a legal challenge from her mother, Sofia Laine, who is seeking money she says she was promised

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This week, Vanessa Bryant is responding to a stunning $5M lawsuit filed against her by her estranged mother Sofia Laine.

Read More: Vanessa Bryant speaks on Kobe, Gianna for TIME’s 2020 Person of the Year In Memoriam

Vanessa’s relationship with her mother has long been strained, but now the grieving widow is being hit with the allegations that her late husband, Kobe Bryant, “promised to take care of [Sofia] for the rest of her life,” before he passed away. Lane, 68, claims that Vanessa, 38, has not honored that vow after he and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna tragically died in a helicopter crash in January.

Univision correspondent David Valadez posted the first page of Laine’s lawsuit, which shows her claims that she was never paid by Vanessa and her late husband for her services as a “personal assistant and nanny to their four children.”

Vanessa responded to the allegations, calling them hurtful and erroneous.

“My mother is continuing to try and find ways to extort a financial windfall from our family. I have supported her for nearly twenty years, and she was never my or Kobe’s personal assistant, nor was she a nanny,” she explained in a statement to People. “I have always been a stay-at-home mother and my husband and I were our daughter’s 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. “

Vanessa Bryant with daughters Capri and Bianka and singer Ciara

“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 clarified. “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.”

Vanessa continued: “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 ten years ago, our kids were full-time students and athletes and I didn’t have another child until 2016.”

Along with Gianna, Vanessa and Kobe shared daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, four, and Capri Kobe, 18 months. As reported by theGrio, in September, Laine told Univision that Vanessa told her she needed to move out of her home and that she had to return a car gifted by her daughter and her son-in-law.

Vanessa Bryant
Kobe Bryant and Vanessa Laine Bryant attend Tribeca Shorts: Animated Shorts curated by Whoopi Goldberg during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at SVA Theatre on April 22, 2017, in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

“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 said in her statement to People, noting, “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.  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.”

Vanessa says that in addition to the support she and her late husband provided, that her mother has been receiving alimony from her former husband, Stephen Laine, since 2004.

“My husband and I have never discouraged or kept her from providing for herself,” she concluded. “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.”

Read More: Vanessa Bryant on mother’s interview: ‘It is beyond hurtful’

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