Vanessa Bryant responds to a "frivolous, disgraceful and unimaginably hurtful" lawsuit from her very own mother Sofia Laine.
According to legal documents obtained by People, Sofia filed a lawsuit Tuesday in California against her daughter, alleging she worked without wages as a "longtime personal assistant and nanny" for the family. While seeking financial support, Sofia alleges that Vanessa’s late husband Kobe Bryant had “promised to take care of” her “for the rest of her life.”
"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 made to [Laine],” the suit alleges. “Vanessa Bryant did not intend to honor any of the Bryants' representations, agreements and promises at any stage."
In a statement obtained by People on Thursday, Vanessa — who also lost 13-year-old daughter Gianna in the January 26 helicopter crash — denies wrongdoing, and alleges her mother is "continuing to try and find ways 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 said. "I have always been a stay-at-home mother and my husband and I were our daughters' full-time caregivers."
Vanessa also explained that she and Kobe arranged for Sofia to live at one of their properties “at no cost” because “[Sofia] 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,” she added.
"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. Her claims are obviously false but I still tried, repeatedly, to work things out with my mother."
In her statement, Vanessa references Sofia’s September interview with Univision in which Sofia claimed that Vanessa forced her out of a family home and made her return a car she used. (At the time, Vanessa released a statement saying the car and home “wasn’t in her name” and that she continued to support her mother despite the “hurtful” interview.)
"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 said in her new statement. "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."
Vanessa alleges that Sofia then “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 adds that Sofia is "now trying to get more money than my husband and I ever spent to provide for her while he was alive."
"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,” Vanessa said, adding, "My husband never promised my mother anything and he would be so disappointed in her behavior and lack of empathy."
Vanessa and Kobe are also the parents of daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 4, and Capri Kobe, 18 months.