Vanessa Bryant asks judge to dismiss mother’s financial support lawsuit
After Kobe's death, mother and daughter have become estranged due to Sofia Laine's financial demands
Vanessa Bryant has been through a lot over the past year and now she’s asking a judge to throw out her estranged mother’s lawsuit demanding a lifetime of financial support.
Originally, Bryant’s mother, Sofia Laine, filed a lawsuit against the estate of her deceased husband, Kobe Bryant, claiming the Los Angeles Lakers All-Star promised to support her financially for the rest of her life.
But in new documents obtained by TMZ, Bryant points to a legal dispute between her mother against Sofia’s ex-husband, Stephan Laine in 2004 and 2008 over spousal support. In response to the suit, Laine claimed he should not have to pay her because she was being supported by her daughter Vanessa and son-in-law Kobe.
At the time Sofia’s rebuttal clarified that her daughter and son-in-law were under no legal obligation to support her, noting that whatever they gifted her was only out of the kindness of their hearts.
When Stephen Laine cited tabloid stories claiming Bryant had purchased a $1M home for her mother and therefore him providing spousal support was unnecessary, Sofia once again shot down the claims, saying the stories were “absolutely false.”
“I would never permit Vanessa to do such a thing,” she told the court at the time. “I have not and do not (nor should I be required to) rely on Vanessa for my support.”
As a result of these previous declarations, Bryant’s legal team is now arguing via a 43-page dismissal motion filed in Orange County Superior Court, that Sofia’s Dec. 15 breach of contract suit filed against her daughter and Kobe’s estate is “factually, legally and morally deficient.”
“Over ten years ago, in divorce proceedings in this court, Sofia’s ex-husband, Stephen Laine, attempted to reduce his spousal support payments on the ground that [she] was living in a multi-million dollar home and was being financially supported by the Bryants,” states the demurrer from Bryant’s lawyers that surfaced Monday.
“Sofia denied these claims and repeatedly stated that she was not promised financial support and was not receiving any such support from the Bryants.”
“Neither of my daughters has any obligation whatsoever, to financially support me. They each have their own lives, children and responsibilities,” Sofia said in one court declaration cited in the filing.
And after she submitted her sworn statements, she prevailed and was awarded spousal support from Laine. To add insult to injury, four years later when Laine petitioned the court to modify his support payments due to the 2008 recession, Urbieta once again denied ever receiving support from the Bryants.
“I do not live with (Kobe and Vanessa) now, nor do I permanently reside in a home owned by Vanessa and Kobe as Stephen contends,” she reported testified, and was allowed to remain on spousal support.
Bryant’s lawyers point out that these previous court records are a direct contradiction to Sofia’s recent filing against her daughter in which she claims she “entered into an oral contract” with her son-in-law for support prior to the tragic helicopter crash that killed him, daughter Gianna and 7 other passengers.
“Kobe Bryant repeatedly promised to take care of plaintiff financially for life in exchange for her services as a nanny and caretaker for the Bryants’ children,” her filing said.
“Unfortunately, Kobe Bryant’s promises did not see the light of day as he is now deceased,” her lawsuit alleged. “And Vanessa Bryant took each and every step she could to void and cancel all of Kobe Bryant’s promises.”
Vanessa Bryant has vehemently denied her mother’s claims and says she is saddened by her actions. She said in a statement last year when the lawsuit first surfaced:
“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,” she said in an Instagram post.
“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 financially supported her over the past 20 years, and I continue to do so, in addition to her monthly alimony.”
“Contrary to previous reports, she has not been physically present or emotionally supportive of my daughters and me after my husband and daughter passed away. Now I see what is most important to my mother and it’s more than painful. I hope that everything that is coming out about our personal relationship ends here.”
Laine claims that she was the unpaid caretaker of the Bryants’ four daughters for years, a claim Vanessa has refuted.
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