Vanessa Bryant, wife of basketball great Kobe Bryant, who was killed in the tragic helicopter crash last Sunday, along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna turned off all of her social media accounts. She explained that her tragic loss has been devastating to her. Yesterday she made her first public statement since the crash. She wrote, “We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe – the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna – a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.”
Vanessa Reportedly Was On Her Way To Meet Kobe and Gianna
It has been reported that Kobe and Vanessa made a vow that they would never fly together in the helicopter they owned. They were obviously thinking of their children. So, last Sunday, before the crash occurred, Vanessa and her children were headed to meet Kobe and Gianna, at the Mamba Academy, to watch their daughter play basketball. One can only wonder how she learned of her husband’s death. The news flashed on many computers shortly after the crash announcing that Kobe and Gianna had been killed. It seemed like at least one-half hour before CNN announced that a helicopter had crashed in the Los Angeles area. A few minutes later, in their breaking news, the TV station announced that Kobe, Gianna, and three other passengers (the number killed was changed to nine later in the day), as well as the pilot had been killed. It is curious how this information was obtained so rapidly, particularly by TMZ. Then if Vanessa and her daughters were in their car how did they learn about the deaths?
A Memorial Service, Funeral
The mayor of Los Angeles has announced the city would like to help with some type of memorial service. He has talked about holding it at the Rose Bowl, the Staple Center, or other venues. One facility he mentioned holds 91,000 people – he is obviously planning for a huge attendance. Other groups, such as the Lakers, Kobe’s former basketball team, want to do something special for their former teammate. All of this, it seems, must be putting a great deal of pressure on the widow. Everyone is surely considering these options out of love and respect but consideration for Vanessa and her daughters also needs to be considered.
Their Life Together
Vanessa grew up in California. She has one sister who is ten years her senior. Vanessa has nearly 20 years of memories to look back on. She met Kobe when she was a senior in high school. She was 17. She was already a model. She was working as a background dancer for the video for “G’d Up” by Snoop Dogg’s rap group The Eastsidaz. There she met her future husband. He was also in the building working on an album. They dated and later announced their engagement at her 18th birthday party. The two married in 2001. Kobe’s parents did not approve of the marriage as they thought the bride was too young to be married to their son. They were also concerned about the lack of a prenuptial agreement as Kobe had already played in the NBA for three years. He had won a championship and was already well-off financially.
Kobe and Vanessa then moved to Newport Coast to be closer to her parents. This created additional strain between Kobe and his parents. The Los Angeles Times, during an interview, said Kobe’s parents also had a difficult time with the fact Kobe was marrying a Latina woman instead of an African-American woman. Kobe had some issues with his parents and, just recently, he and his father were making amends. Through the years Vanessa and Kobe had four daughters: Natalia, Gianna, Bianka and Capri.
Love Kept Them Together
They had a strong bond. They also had their struggles in life. In 2003 Kobe was accused of raping a 19-year-old hotel employee. The case was later dismissed and Vanessa stood by his side. Two years later Vanessa suffered a miscarriage due to an ectopic pregnacy. Kobe accepted the blame for their loss saying it was due to so much stress. In 2011 Vanessa filed for divorce. Two years later Vanessa announced that the divorce had been called off. Through their ups and downs they always had a deep love that secured their marriage.
Vanessa And Her Daughters Will Face Their Future Without A Kobe
Vanessa said she is not sure what life holds beyond today. She explained that it is impossible to imagine life without them. She said she and the girls wake up each day and keep pushing as they know Kobe and Gigi are shining on them and lighting the way. She said, “I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever.” She said she will be forever grateful that Kobe and Gigi attended mass together on Sunday, before boarding the helicopter. And, together, they took their last communion together.