A year after Kobe Bryant’s death, his wife Vanessa’s being sued by her mother over unpaid babysitting debt
In a statement Vanessa Bryant has accused her mother – Sofia Laine – of trying to “extort a financial windfall from our family”
It is almost a year since the tragic deaths of Kobe and Gianna Bryant. Vanessa lost her husband and 13-year-old daughter in a helicopter crash last January that also claimed the lives of seven others.
But now, in an ugly illustration of how family and finances don’t always mix, her own mother is suing her for over $5 million for financial support.
USA today obtained documents that show that Laine, who is 68, says she worked unpaid as a “longtime personal assistant and nanny” for the family. She also claims that before Kobe’s death, he “promised to take care of” her “for the rest of her life.”
Vanessa Bryant has strongly refuted her mother’s allegations on social media, pointing out that she and her husband long supported her mother, allowing her to live in their properties free of charge.
“She was a grandmother who was supported by me and her son-in-law at my request,” Bryant said. “She now wants to back charge me $96 per hour for supposedly working 12 hours a day for 18 years for watching her grandchildren.”
There has been an outpouring of support for the widow, with many followers calling out her mother’s behaviour as “disgusting” while others say she is “cashing in on Kobe’s death”.
In the full statement online, Vanessa writes;
“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.”
“Earlier this year” continued Vanessa’s statement. “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.
But perhaps the saddest aspect of this is that Laine is accusing her daughter of inappropriate behaviour after the death of her husband and young daughter.
In the complaint, first obtained by People magazine, Laine suggested that Vanessa’s actions occurred because Laine “did not condone” Vanessa Bryant attending social events in the evening and leaving her three children with Laine, according to the lawsuit.
Laine “believed this was extremely inappropriate and troubling and told Vanessa Bryant that she should be home mourning the death of Kobe Bryant and their daughter, Gigi, as opposed to going out social,” the lawsuit says.
“Vanessa was agitated by the advice (Laine) gave her. In relation, Vanessa Bryant embarked on a mission to cut (Laine) off physically and financially.”
Image via People.com