Vanessa Bryant sued the County of Los Angeles over first responders taking photos of the crash site where her late husband Kobe and daughter, Gianna, died and later sharing them in an unauthorized manner. Now, the county is striking back.
The county is asking Bryant and the family members of those who died in the Jan. 26, 2020 helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. to undergo psychiatric evaluations. The exams are intended to determine whether Vanessa and her family suffered “emotional distress” as a result of the photos being taken and shared.
Vanessa sued the county and alleged she suffered “emotional distress” from the photos being taken and shared despite the pictures never being released publicly. The county understands the emotional damage the helicopter crash caused the family members of the deceased. However, they would like Vanessa to prove she suffered severe negative consequences specifically from the photos.
The County of Los Angeles accused Vanessa of making a “money grab” with her lawsuit.
“It’s horrific, the worst imaginable,” attorneys for the county said in a statement released on Monday. “But she sued the County for something that didn’t happen. There’s been no public disclosure of crash site photos, none. So we see this case as a money grab and are doing what’s necessary to defend our client.”
Vanessa has been involved in numerous lawsuits since her late husband’s death. She sued the county over the photos. She filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the helicopter company. She was also involved in a lawsuit with her mother, though that was recently resolved (details here).
Vanessa, 39, was married to Kobe from 2001 until his death. They had four daughters together, though Gianna died in the helicopter crash.
Photo: Mar 10, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Vanessa Bryant , wife of Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (not pictured), attends the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Vanessa Bryant has settled a lawsuit with her mother, ending a situation that had gotten ugly.
Sofia Laine was suing her daughter over what she said was lost wages. She claimed that she was owed money for babysitting services she provided over the years for her grandchildren. She claimed in the suit that Vanessa kicked her out of the house that Kobe allegedly bought for her. She also alleged that Kobe said he would take care of her for the rest of her life.
As of late March, Vanessa was seeking to get the suit dismissed. Instead, she ended up settling for an undisclosed amount, according to TMZ Sports.
The settlement should have taken place long ago. That would have spared both sides from having negative comments and ugly allegations spread through the media. Vanessa herself ended up issuing a scathing response to her mother in September that did not reflect well on either side.
A Nike shoe that was designed to honor Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna has recently somehow leaked, and Vanessa Bryant is extremely upset over the situation.
In an Instagram post on Thursday, Vanessa explained that she designed the shoe in honor of Gianna. She said the sneaker was going to be called the “MAMBACITA” but that she never approved it for sale. Vanessa also said Nike never sent her or her family any pairs of the shoes and asked for help in figuring out how they leaked.
“This is a shoe I worked on in honor of my daughter, Gianna,” Vanessa wrote. “It was going to be called the MAMBACITA shoe as an exclusive black and white colorway on her daddy’s shoes. I picked the colors in honor of her uniform, the number 2 she wore just like her uniform, the inside pattern, Kobe and Gigi on the back in gold instead of Kobe’s signature, the inside shoe details (butterfly, wings, halo), etc. The MAMBACITA shoes are NOT approved for sale.
“I wanted it to be sold to honor my daughter with ALL of the proceeds benefitting @mambamambacitasports foundation but I did not re-sign the Nike contract and decided not to sell these shoes. (The MAMBACITA shoes were not approved to be made in the first place). Nike has NOT sent any of these pairs to me and my girls. I do not know how someone else has their hands on shoes I designed in honor of my daughter, Gigi, and we don’t. I hope these shoes did not get sold. @nike.”
You can see Vanessa’s full post below, which includes a photo of the shoe:
One Instagram user who shared photos of the shoe last month says he does not have a pair in his possession. The user, whose handle is brandon1an, claims the leak came from an authorized Nike dealer.
“I just want to make it clear that I don’t own a pair of those Mambacita Kobes,” the Instagram user wrote, via TMZ. “The pictures I posted are official product pictures from a Nike authorized retailer. Unfortunately for @vanessabryant, Nike clearly sent pairs to this retailer (as well as others) with the intent of selling pairs.”
As Vanessa mentioned, she recently chose not to renew Kobe’s contract with Nike. Kobe had been with Nike for 17 years leading up to his death in January 2020. It was recently claimed that he had been planning to leave Nike to start his own show company prior to his death.
Kobe was famously loyal to Nike during his career, but the relationship between Nike and the Bryant family seems to have deteriorated.
This year’s Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony is sure to feature a wide range of emotions, and Kobe Bryant’s wife Vanessa will experience those first-hand when her late husband is enshrined.
Vanessa Bryant will deliver a speech in honor of Kobe at Saturday’s ceremony, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Inductees typically follow their presenter with a speech, and Vanessa will be assuming that role after Kobe was killed in a tragic helicopter crash last year.
As we previously learned, Michael Jordan will be the presenter when Kobe is inducted into the Hall of Fame. The six-time NBA champion opened up about the honor in an interview this week and shared the last text message exchange he ever had with Kobe.
Vanessa and Jordan both spoke at Kobe’s memorial last year and delivered emotional speeches about the loss of Kobe and his and Vanessa’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna.
Kobe Bryant’s long-standing association with Nike appears to be over.
According to ESPN’s NBA sneaker expert Nick DePaula, Bryant’s wife Vanessa, who controls Kobe’s Trust, decided not to renew her late husband’s contract with Nike. DePaula says the partnership between the Bryants and Nike is “done.” It is unclear if this is temporary or permanent, but for now, there are no plans for any further Bryant-related merchandise releases by the company.
Bryant had been with Nike for 17 years leading up to his death in January 2020. It was recently claimed that Bryant had been planning to leave Nike prior to his passing and start his own shoe company. Perhaps that is what Vanessa plans to do in an effort to comply with her late husband’s wishes.
It’s still surprising to hear about Bryant’s association with Nike ending. He was, after all, famously loyal to the brand during his career.
It has been over a year now since Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna were tragically killed in a helicopter accident, and Kobe’s wife Vanessa acknowledged another difficult milestone over the weekend.
Sunday would have been Kobe’s and Vanessa’s 20th wedding anniversary. Vanessa shared a touching post on Instagram.
Vanessa also shared an emotional video of Kobe gushing about his relationship with her:
Vanessa has posted touching tributes like that in the past. Another example was when she reflected on the anniversary of Kobe having his jersey numbers retired by the Los Angeles Lakers. You can see that post here.
Vanessa also recently got a tattoo to pay tribute to her late daughter Gianna.
Kobe and Vanessa got married in 2001. They have three other daughters — Natalia, Bianka and Capri.
Vanessa Bryant is trying to get a lawsuit her mother Sofia Laine (nee Urbieta) filed against her dismissed.
Sofia Laine filed a lawsuit against the Bryants last year in which she contends she was promised lifetime financial support by late NBA icon Kobe Bryant (details here).
“Kobe Bryant repeatedly promised to take care of plaintiff financially for life in exchange for her services as a nanny and caretaker for the Bryants’ children,” the lawsuit said.
Vanessa Bryant’s legal team filed a 43-page motion in Orange County Superior Court to have the case dismissed. In the motion, they tried to use Sofia’s own past arguments as evidence to get the case dismissed.
In 2004, Sofia had a spousal support case with her ex-husband, Stephen Laine. Sofia argued then that she needed the spousal support because she was not receiving financial support from Vanessa and Kobe. In 2008, Stephen sought to have his payments lowered during the recession. Again, Sofia argued she was not receiving support from Vanessa and Kobe. Her argument worked, and the spousal support was not adjusted.
It’s been well over 10 years since then, so a lot could have changed. But it’s pretty rich that Sofia’s own past arguments to win financial battles in court are now being used against her for the same type of case. Keep in mind that Vanessa explicitly said she and Kobe financially supported Sophia for 20 years.
The drama between Vanessa and Sophia has been ongoing over the last year. Vanessa issued this scathing response to an interview her mom conducted last year.
Vanessa Bryant showed off on social media the tribute tattoo she got recently for her late daughter, Gianna.
Vanessa showed a photo on Instagram Tuesday of the “Mambacita” tattoo she got for Gianna. The tattoo features I heart over the “I” and butterfly design at the end.
Vanessa’s late husband Kobe was nicknamed “Black Mamba.” Gianna, who was an emerging basketball player, was “Mambacita,” which is the version of the nickname for a little girl.
Vanessa also shared that her 18-year-old daughter Natalia received her fourth tattoo, which was a tribute to Kobe as well.
Natalia is the oldest of the four children born to Kobe and Vanessa. She is going through the college admissions process. The other daughters are both young — Bianka is four and Capri is one.
Both Kobe and Gianna died in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020.
Natalia Bryant is in the process of applying to colleges, which has led her mother Vanessa to chronicle the journey on social media.
This week, Vanessa shared that Natalia received an acceptance to Loyola Marymount University. The school is located around 50 miles north of where Natalia lives in Newport Coast, Calif.
Vanessa joked on her Instagram Story that LMU was “too far.”
Natalia has also received an acceptance to the University of Oregon. Vanessa has previously shared the top schools on Natalia’s college list.
Natalia turned 18 in January, which is when she signed with a modeling agency. She is the oldest of the four daughters born to Kobe and Vanessa Bryant. Her younger sister, Gianna, died in a helicopter crash last year that killed all those aboard, including her father.
Vanessa Bryant filed a lawsuit last year over unauthorized photos that were taken at the site where her husband Kobe and daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash. On Monday, a judge ruled in her favor on a key issue related to the case.
Some of the photos in question were taken by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies. Lawyers for the department had filed a motion to keep the deputies’ names under seal, arguing that releasing the names would make the deputies’ addresses and personal information accessible and that hackers could target them. According to Richard Winton of the Los Angeles Times, U.S. District Judge John F. Walter ruled against the Sheriff’s Department on Monday.
Bryant’s attorney Luis Li argued that “transparency promotes accountability,” and Walter agreed. The judge said “the public has a vested interest in assessing the truthfulness of the allegations of official misconduct” when the case involves police officers.
Further, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department has insisted that the photos that were taken at the crash site have been disposed of and/or deleted from electronic devices and no longer exist. Walter said in his ruling that the department’s concern that hackers could locate the photographs if they learned the identities of the deputies is “totally inconsistent with their position that such photographs no longer exist.”
The lawsuit filed by Bryant seeks damages for negligence and invasion of privacy. The suit alleges that deputies and two LA firefighters took and shared photos of the victims of the crash, which took place on Jan. 26, 2020.
You can read more details from the lawsuit here.