Her side of the story. Vanessa Bryant‘s mother, Sofia Laine, is speaking out after being accused of extortion in the wake of Kobe Bryant‘s death.
Laine, 68, filed a lawsuit against her daughter, 38, on Tuesday, December 15, suing for financial support. Documents filed to a California court claimed that Laine was an unpaid “longtime personal assistant and nanny” to the family and that the late NBA athlete “promised to take care of” her “for the rest of her life.”
Vanessa later denied that her mother ever held a position as her nanny or assistant. She also alleged in a statement to Us Weekly that Laine “has spiraled out of control” and is “continuing to try and find ways to extort a financial windfall from our family.”
On Friday, December 18, Laine responded to her daughter’s allegations in a lengthy statement to Us, admitting that “airing our family grievances in the public” is “hurtful” — but that she “did not have a choice” after Vanessa’s claims made headlines.
“All I wanted is what I worked for. Vanessa, despite everything that I have been promised and done for her and the family, has attempted to sever all ties and renege on all obligations and agreements,” Laine wrote. “Why would she do this to her own mother? I am so disappointed, hurt, and wronged to the point that I had no choice but to file a lawsuit. I am nearly 70 years old, my health is deteriorating, and my own daughter is doing this to me?”
Laine provided for Vanessa and her sister, Sophie Laine, as a single mother and claimed that “Kobe respected me for the way I raised Vanessa.” The former Los Angeles Lakers player died in January at the age of 41 in a helicopter crash that killed eight other people, including 13-year-old daughter Gianna. Vanessa and the basketball player also shared daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 4, and Capri, 17 months.
Despite Vanessa’s previous denial, Laine asserted in her statement that her daughter “knows very well” that she was “the family nanny for two decades.” The legal drama has left her feeling “disappointed” and “heartbroken,” but Laine declared that claims of extortion “cannot be further from the truth.”
“It is unfortunate that Vanessa is making such false statements, especially in the public. I understand she is trying to preserve her reputation, but it does not excuse her behavior. … She knows the truth and she knows I was their nanny. She knows very well that she failed to pay me what I was owed,” Laine continued.
Vanessa alleged that her mother was attempting to “back-charge” the equivalent of a $96 hourly wage “for supposedly working 12 hours a day for 18 years for watching her grandchildren” and also “demanded $5 million, a house and a Mercedes SUV” from her. Now, Laine is claiming that Vanessa was the one who determined her wage.
“When Vanessa moved me out of my home and into an apartment, she completed a rental application in my name, without my knowledge, and wrote that I was being paid $200,000 annually, which equates to a $96.00 per hour wage,” her statement continued. “I hope that my daughter changes course and will do what is right and give me what was promised to me. I also hope that Vanessa will stop preventing me from seeing and spending time with my grandchildren. She is using my grandchildren to punish me for exercising my rights. Although I had no choice [but] to sue Vanessa, after this is all said and done, hopefully we can go back to having an amicable mother-daughter relationship. In the end, the truth will prevail.”
Us has reached out to Vanessa Bryant’s rep for comment but has yet to receive a response.
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