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Vanessa Bryant is addressing her mother’s “unimaginably hurtful” lawsuit.
In a strongly worded statement on Thursday, Bryant said her mom, Sofia Laine, is trying to “extort a financial windfall from our family” nearly a year after the death of Kobe and Gianna Bryant. Bryant lost her husband and 13-year-old daughter in the January helicopter crash that also claimed the lives of seven others.
Laine, 68, is suing Bryant, 38, for financial support, claiming she worked unpaid as a “longtime personal assistant and nanny” for the family, according to documents obtained by People. Laine claims in the lawsuit that before Kobe’s death, he “promised to take care of” her “for the rest of her life.”
Bryant refuted her mom’s allegations on 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,” Bryant began. “I have always been a stay-at-home mother and my husband and I were our daughters’ full-time caregivers.”
Bryant also shared daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 4, and Capri Kobe, 18 months, with the NBA legend.
“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,” Bryant stated.
“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,” she continued. “Her claims are obviously false but I still tried, repeatedly, to work things out with my mother. 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.”
Bryant referenced the Univision interview Laine gave in September where she claimed she was kicked out of her home.
“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,” Bryant said.
“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,” Bryant alleged. “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.”
Bryant concluded, “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. 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.”
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