There’s drama between Vanessa Bryant and her mama. Sofia Laine claims her daughter forced her out of her California home, accusations that Kobe Bryant’s widow has denied!
“My husband and daughter passed away unexpectedly, and yet my mother had the audacity to do a television interview speaking negatively of me while shedding tears for a car and a house that were not in her name,” Vanessa Bryant said after her mother, Sofia Urbieta Laine, appeared on the Sept. 21 episode of Univision’s El Godra Y La Flaca. During the appearance, Sofia accused her daughter of kicking her out of where she was living in Irvine, California, and forced her to hand over the car she was using.
“he told me, ‘I need you to get out of this house.’ She also told me that she wanted her car, and she wants it now,” Sofia said in Spanish. Vanessa, 38, responded by saying she and the late Kobe Bryant have supported her mother “20 years, and continue to do so, in addition to her monthly alimony. …Now I see what is most important to my mother, and it’s more than painful. I hope that everything that is coming out about our personal relationship ends here.” As this drama unfolds, here’s what you need to know.
1. Sofia divorced Vanessa’s father when she was a child. Sofia Urbieta and Vanessa’s birth father divorced when she was a baby, according to the Daily Press, and he moved to Baja, Mexico. Though Vanessa used her father’s surname – Cornejo – for the first eight years of her life, she was never really close to him.
2. Sofia once worked as a shipping clerk. Sofia worked as a shipping clerk at an electronics firm when she met Stephen Laine, a middle manager who was eight years her junior. At the time, Sofia was a single mother living with two kids – Vanessa, 8, and Sophie, 18 – while living in her sister’s spare room. Sofia and Stephen fell in love and were married in 1990. They stayed together until their divorce in 2002.
3. She faced financial troubles before. While 17-year-old Vanessa was courting Kobe, her mother and father were in dire straits. Four days after Kobe and Vanessa announced their engagement at her 18th birthday party, the Laines filed for bankruptcy. Sofia had been laid off two years earlier, and a chronic back injury had prevented her from finding a new job.
4. She was close to Kobe. Sofia was tight with her son-in-law. She attended Kobe’s last NBA game and was there when the Los Angeles Lakers retired his jersey numbers in 2017. During the Bryants’ last thanksgiving as a family, Sofia was photographed alongside Kobe, Vanessa, and their four daughters.
5. Vanessa claims her mother hasn’t been “present” in her daughters’ lives since Kobe died. It’s unclear what caused the rift between Vanessa and her mother. Kobe’s widow said that Sofia “has not been physically present or emotionally supportive of my daughters or me” since the Los Angeles Lakers star perished alongside their 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, in that deadly helicopter crash.