It hasn’t been a year since basketball star Kobe Bryant died on Jan. 26, 2020 in a helicopter crash with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others. But already there are family battles over his money and it’s not involving his immediate family, but his wife’s mother.
Vanessa Bryant is being sued by her own mother, Sofia Laine, for money she says she’s owed for babysitting Kobe and Vanessa’s kids, among other things. In addition to Gianna, Kobe and Vanessa also shared daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 4, and Capri Kobe, 18 months old.
Bryant has called her mother’s lawsuit “unimaginably hurtful”, Yahoo reported.
Twitter exploded with reaction to the lawsuit.
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“Just give her what she wants and end the relationship. They can afford it. It’s sad though. Money won’t make her mum happy,” one person said
Another tweeted, “I hate that Vanessa has had to endure such a horrific loss but what kind of woman supports her husband cutting his family off financially while caring for hers? She has a billion dollars for goodness sakes and I’m sure Kobe’s parents have not seen a dime.”
Others on social media brought up Vanessa Bryant’s reportedly strained relationship with Kobe’s parents.
“Vanessa was extremely disrespectful to Kobe’s parents. She participated in keeping her children away from them. What we’re witnessing is karma,” posted one tweeter.
Another wrote, “I think Vanessa may have problem. Of course I don’t have first hand knowledge of the situation. Vanessa also had beef with Kobe’s parents.”
Her mom is trying to “extort a financial windfall from our family,” Vanessa Bryant said in a statement on Thursday.
Laine, 68, is suing Vanessa Bryant, 38, for financial support. In the 48-page lawsuit, Laine claims she worked unpaid as a “longtime personal assistant and nanny” for the family, according to documents obtained by People. She also says that before Kobe’s death, he “promised to take care of” her “for the rest of her life.”
“I have supported her for nearly 20 years, and she was never my or Kobe’s personal assistant, nor was she a nanny,” Vanessa Bryant posted on social media. “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.
“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.”
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According to Bryant, she and Kobe financially support Laine and provided her with housing.
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.”
Some comments on social media expressed compassion for both parties in the lawsuit.
“Family can push your buttons like no one else can but I think they’re both still grieving and attacking each other is only a distraction to hide their hurt. I pray both of them will seek the help they need,” @coachbarbaraj tweeted.