Vanessa Bryant accuses her mother of extortion in ugly legal battle over family money
Kobe Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, lashed out Thursday in response to a lawsuit filed against her by her mother demanding financial support and claiming the late Laker legend had vowed to take care of her financially for life.
In a statement posted online, Vanessa Bryant accused her mother – Sofia Urbieta Laine – of trying to “extort a financial windfall from our family.” Bryant said she and her husband long supported her, 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.”
The grieving mother and widow, who lost both her 13-year-old daughter and her husband in a plane crash that killed all nine passengers, released a statement via her Instagram Stories, directly refuting her mother’s claims.
“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.”
“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.
“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.”
Laine responded via TMZ saying, “why would she do this to her own mother?” The case is currently pending.