Vanessa Bryant is reportedly calling a new fraud lawsuit filed by her mom “unimaginably hurtful” and says her late husband Kobe Bryant would be “so disappointed.”
The widow of the Lakers legend was sued by her mom, Sofia Laine, in a 48-page complaint filed Tuesday in Orange County Superior Court.
In the paperwork, Laine, 68, claims she deserves compensation after working for years as an unpaid personal assistant and nanny for her daughter and Kobe before the NBA superstar died in a helicopter crash in January.
She claims Kobe “promised” to take care of her for life, and she counted on that vow.
“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,” the lawsuit alleges.
In a statement to People.com, Vanessa said her mother is trying to “extort a financial windfall from our family.”
“I have supported her for nearly 20 years, and she was never my or Kobe’s personal assistant, nor was she a nanny,” Vanessa, 38, said.
The widow said she’s always been a stay-at-home mom, acting as full-time caregiver for her daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 4, Capri, 18 months and Gianna, the 13-year-old basketball prodigy who died alongside Kobe, 41, in the devastating crash.
“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 said the 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 said.
Vanessa claimed the support was provided at her request, not her husband’s.
“(Laine) 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,” 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,” Vanessa continued. “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 said her mother instead “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,” she said, calling the lawsuit “disgraceful and unimaginably hurtful.”
“My husband never promised my mother anything,” Vanessa said, “and he would be so disappointed in her behavior and lack of empathy.”