Vanessa Bryant is accusing her mother of extortion.
The allegations come as Kobe Bryant's widow faces a lawsuit filed by Sofia Laine, 68, who claims she worked as an unpaid personal assistant and nanny for her daughter and late husband for years. In a statement to People, Vanessa said her mother has "spiraled out of control" and is trying to "extort a financial windfall" from her family.
"I have supported her for nearly 20 years, and she was never my or Kobe's personal assistant, nor was she a nanny," she said. "I have always been a stay-at-home mother and my husband and I were our daughters' full-time caregivers."
In her filing, Laine stated that, before Kobe's death on Jan. 26 at age 41, he "promised to take care of" his mother-in-law "for the rest of her life," but the promise of help died with him in the helicopter crash that also killed his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
"Unfortunately, Kobe Bryant's promises did not see the light of day as he is now deceased, and Vanessa Bryant took each and every step she could to void and cancel all of Kobe Bryant's promises made to [Laine]," the filing obtained by People read. "Vanessa Bryant did not intend to honor any of the Bryants' representations, agreements and promises at any stage."
Vanessa dismissed the allegations.
"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," she said. "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."
Now Laine is reportedly back-charging her daughter $96 per hour for reportedly 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," she said of Natalia, 17, Gianna, Bianka, 4, and Capri, 18 months. "As of 10 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."
Vanessa further stated that her mother was "beyond hurtful" after she said she was kicked out of the home that they had both been living in. Laine aired the family drama in September in an interview on the "El Gordo y La Flaca" show, stating in Spanish that Vanessa told her she needed to get out of the house, according to Page Six.
"She also told me that she wanted her car and she wants it now."
Vanessa explained that she had been looking for a new home for her mother but days later Laine gave an interview "disparaging our family and making false accusations while living rent-free in a gated apartment complex in Newport Coast." Despite the "betrayal," Vanessa said she was still willing to provide monthly support to her mother but "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," Vanessa alleged. "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."
Vanessa said Laine was "now trying to get more money than my husband and I ever spent to provide for her while he was alive." She noted that her mother has "no regard for how this is affecting my children and me."
"My husband never promised my mother anything," Vanessa added, "and he would be so disappointed in her behavior and lack of empathy."
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