Since his death in January 2020, Kobe Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant’s relationship with her mom, Sofia Laine, has been hanging by a thread.
Months after losing the family patriarch, Kobe Bryant, and his daughter, Gigi, to a fatal helicopter crash, the Bryants are making the headlines again. This time, it involves an ensuing family conflict, which is fast-becoming a bogus legal feud.
Vanessa Bryant and her mom, Sofia Laine, have been at loggerheads over financial support. The rift between the two women led the older woman to file a lawsuit against her daughter, demanding a settlement of $5 million among other luxuries.
Since the news hit the media, several outlets have tried to dig out information about the Bryant family conflict, leading up to the December 2020 lawsuit. Here is a brief overview.
A GLIMPSE INSIDE THEIR RIFT
The rift between Laine and her daughter has prevailed for months. However, the frenzy became public in September, after Vanessa Bryant’s mom called her out for being unscrupulous during an interview with reporter Dave Valadez.
Sofia Laine accused the younger woman of forcing her to leave her Irvine home, owned by the Bryants. She also claimed Vanessa asked her to return a car, which also belonged to the family.
Although neither of the women is willing to discuss the origin of the fallout, Kobe’s widow gave a pointer at the duration of the rift. She revealed that Laine had neither been physically nor emotionally present for her and the kids since her husband’s passing.
Vanessa also rebuked her mom for betraying the family by speaking ill of them in the interview despite their support. She went on to label her mom’s claims as false, saying she never stopped supporting financially in addition to her monthly alimony.
On Tuesday, December 15, 2020, the conflict between Vanessa Bryant and her mother escalated into a legal feud. Sofia Laine filed a lawsuit against her daughter, demanding back payment for her eighteen years in service of the Bryants.
Laine claimed she served as a personal assistant and a nanny to the family for a long time, attracting unpaid wages of $96.15 an hour. In return, she claimed the late NBA star promised to be her caregiver for the rest of her life.
The suit alleged that Kobe’s untimely death made him fall short of fulfilling his promise to her. Rather than uphold her late husband’s commitments, Laine accused Vanessa of taking every step to void and cancel them.
As per court documents obtained, the NBA legend’s widow sold her mom’s house and Mercedes Benz. It also stated that Vanessa canceled Laine’s health insurance, leaving the elderly woman alone in an apartment to wallow in the loss of her son-in-law and granddaughter.
Sofia Laine is demanding a settlement of $5 million, a Mercedes SUV, and a house from her daughter.
VANESSA’S REACTION TO THE SUIT
Following the lawsuit filed against her by her mother, Kobe Bryant’s wife stepped forward to deny Laine’s claims, tagging them as false and absurd. The 38-year-old divulged that her mom only intended to extort “a financial windfall” from the family, hence her malicious claims.
Vanessa also denied Laine’s claims of Kobe’s promises to her, saying her late husband would be disappointed by Laine’s behavior. According to the 38-year-old, she has supported her mom financially for over twenty years. She also assured the elderly woman of monthly support for the rest of her life.
Yet, her mom spiraled out of control andwanted more, leading to her frivolous demands. Kobe’s widow described the lawsuit as frivolous, disgraceful, and unimaginably hurtful.
SOFIA LAINE FIRES BACK
Laine released a follow-up statement, saying her daughter’s extortion claims were hurtful since she only wanted what she worked for. She insisted on her earlier claims that Vanessa voided their initial agreement. The 68-year-old concluded with a firm reassurance of her transparency, saying she had nothing to hide.
HOW VANESSA HAS BEEN COPING WITH HER LOSS
Kobe Bryant’s death marked the end of the peace and tranquility in the family. The former basketball player was one of eight people who met their end on Sunday, January 26, in a helicopter crash in Southern California. His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, also died in the fatal crash.
Since losing her husband and daughter on the same day, Vanessa, as well as Kobe Bryant’s surviving kids Natalia, Bianka, and Capri, have strived to cope with the loss. The matriarch never shies away from discussing her grief openly on social media. She also addresses it during interviews, an approach that has greatly aided her healing process.
Additionally, with moral support from great friends like La La Anthony, Vanessa Bryant managed to regain a level of normalcy in her life.
Little wonder the 39-year-old actress, Anthony refers to Kobe’s widow as the strongest woman she knew.