Sofia Laine is suing her daughter. The mother of Kobe Bryant‘s widow, Vanessa Bryant, officially filed the paper work to sue her daughter for financial support after claiming that, prior to his tragic death in January, Kobe “promised to take care” of his mother-in-law. Among the claims in the official documents, which HollywoodLife obtained, Sofia claims that she was unpaid as a “longtime personal assistant and nanny” for Vanessa and her family.
The lawsuit comes roughly three months after Sofia alleged that Vanessa kicked her mother out of the house. “She told me, ‘I need you to get out of this house,’” Sofia alleged in a September 21 interview with Univision’s Dave Valdez on El Gordo y la Flaca. “She also told me that she wanted her car and she wants it now.”
The relationship between the mother and daughter has clearly become more fraught. After Sofia filed her lawsuit, Vanessa responded, saying in an excerpt of her statement to HollywoodLife, “My mother is continuing to try and find ways to extort a financial windfall from our family. I have supported her for nearly twenty years, and she was never my or Kobe’s personal assistant, nor was she a nanny.
“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.” You can read Vanessa’s full statement below. Learn more about Vanessa Bryant’s mother, Sofia Laine.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.
See Vanessa Bryant’s full statement to HollywoodLife in response to Sofia Laine’s lawsuit below:
“My mother is continuing to try and find ways to extort a financial windfall from our family. I have supported her for nearly twenty years, and she was never my or Kobe’s personal assistant, nor was she a nanny. I have always been a stay-at-home mother and my husband and I were our daughter’s full-time care givers. 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. 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 ten years ago, our kids were full time students and athletes and I didn’t have another child until 2016. 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, 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. 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. 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. 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.”