Vanessa Bryant, the widow of NBA star Kobe Bryant, is speaking out against a lawsuit her mother has filed against the family. Her mother, Sofia Laine, believes that she is owed back pay from years of serving as a nanny and personal assistant for the Bryant family.
Laine allegedly felt she was owed “$5 million, a house and a Mercedes SUV” earlier this year, but that amount has grown to her mother trying to “extort a financial windfall” from the family, Vanessa said in a statement.
“My mother is continuing to try and find ways to extort a financial windfall from our family,” Vanessa said. “I have supported her for nearly 20 years, and she was never my or Kobe’s personal assistant, nor was she a nanny. I have always been a stay-at-home mother and my husband and I were our daughter’s full-time care givers.”
Laine is fighting back, claiming in the lawsuit that Vanessa started attending many social events after the death of Kobe, leaving her to babysit the children. Laine said she “believed this was extremely inappropriate and troubling and told Vanessa Bryant that she should be at home mourning the death of Kobe Bryant and their daughter, Gigi, as opposed to going out socially,” and that in retaliation, Vanessa “embarked on a mission to cut [Laine] off physically and financially.”
The Bryants had four daughters, Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, and Capri Bryant. Both Kobe and Gianna died in a January helicopter crash.
Laine made headlines in September when she sat for a television interview with Univision’s El Gordo y La Flaca and claimed that Vanessa had kicked her out of her house and sold her car.
Vanessa disputed these claims and said in a statement, “My husband and daughter passed away unexpectedly and yet my mom has the audacity to do an interview on TV talking negatively about me while shedding tears about a car and home that wasn’t in her name. … She has removed all her diamond jewelry, emptied her apartment that I provide, and put the furniture in storage to appear as though she is without support.”
Kobe Bryant spent his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers and is regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.