Vanessa Bryant accuses mom of extorting money from her family
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Vanessa Bryant has claimed her mother is trying to "extort a windfall" from her family.
The 38-year-old beauty - who has daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, four, and Capri, 18 months, with late husband Kobe Bryant - has slammed Sofia Laine after she launched a lawsuit against her on Tuesday, in which she alleged she had worked unpaid as a "longtime personal assistant and nanny" for her daughter and claimed her late son-in-law had "promised to take care of" her for the "rest of her life" but Vanessa had "took each and every step" to cut her financial aid.
Vanessa hit back, insisting she and Kobe - who died in a helicopter crash in January alongside several others, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna - had never employed her mother, but she "occasionally babysat" when her kids were younger, as many grandparents do.
She said in a statement: "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."
Vanessa insisted she had continued to offer financial support to her mother, even after she "betrayed" her in an interview, but her mom insisted her offer "wasn't good enough", prompting the "disgraceful" lawsuit.
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.
"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 discourage 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 behaviour and lack of empathy.”