UPDATED: 3:32 p.m. EDT, Jan. 29 —
Kobe Bryant‘s wife, Vanessa Bryant, made her Instagram page public on Wednesday. She also changed her main photo, memorializing her husband and 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who were tragically killed along with seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasa on Sunday, Jan. 26.
UPDATED: 2:23 p.m. EDT —
In a new report from the Daily Mail, sources have revealed that Vanessa Bryant is trying to be strong in the midst of the recent loss of her husband, Kobe Bryant, and their 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. “It’s an extremely difficult and devastating time for Vanessa and the whole family,’ a source told People magazine about the widow.
Another insider shared that Vanessa is “devastated” and “can hardly keep it together. She can’t finish a sentence without crying. But she is working very hard to pull it together for the other girls. She now has to be the strong one.”
The insider added that the NBA legend’s wife “is surrounded by people who love her and love Kobe. She has a good support system. She is relying on her faith. She is not alone. But she will be grieving this for a very long time.”
The world is currently wading through a series of emotions following the tragic loss of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who tragically died on Sunday in a helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. Social media has been immortalizing the five-time NBA champion and his daughter with tributes, reflective personal accounts, murals and more, but the person who is perhaps most affected by this tragedy is his wife, Vanessa Bryant, who recently made her Instagram private presumably to maintain solitude from the public.
While living a highly publicized life by being married to one of the NBA’s most skilled and transcending talents, Vanessa has managed to maintain an air of mystery aside from the known facts of her being a wife and mother. She granted very little interviews, as said in a 2016 report from the Los Angeles Times and prioritized her family as she was often seen on the sidelines cheering her husband with their daughters in tow.
“The focus on family has always been a priority. Vanessa is a stay-at-home mom and after Kobe stopped playing basketball, the main focus has been about raising their daughters,” the source said recently told People magazine.
As to be assumed with many celebrities, fans are eager to know about the lives of whom they admire and idolize. The same rings true for Vanessa Bryant, who amassed 1.4 million followers on Instagram. However, the snapshots and videos she provides are solely at her discretion.
Vanessa and Kobe’s romance dates back to the summer of 1999 when she was recruited to appear in videos for Snoop Dogg’s hip-hop trio Tha Eastsidaz and others, according to the Los Angeles Times. Then, Vanessa was a teenager concluding her high school years. Kobe had just entered his 20’s and was getting his start with the Los Angeles Lakers. He apparently was looking to launch a rap career aside from being a professional basketball player and began to immerse himself in music industry circles. There, he met Vanessa and according to a former classmate, she began bringing photos of Kobe to school, although some folks were non-believers. Vanessa would receive massive bouquets of roses, while Kobe also picked her up from school in his Mercedes Benz.
They announced their engagement at Vanessa’s 18th birthday party, and shortly after they wed, she masterly transitioned into the role of an NBA wife, attending games and accompanying her husband at events, the LA Times reports.
The couple welcomed their first child, a daughter named Natalia, in Jan. 2003.
With the highs of their marriage came lows, but Vanessa stood beside Kobe even throughout his 2003 rape allegation case, which was later dismissed in 2004 and settled civilly in 2005, according to CNN.
The following year, Kobe and Vanessa welcomed their daughter Gianna, whose burgeoning basketball career was cut short in the helicopter crash.
The couple preserved through another rough patch in 2013 after Vanessa filed for divorce citing “irreconcilable differences” two years prior.
At that time, she spoke of her and her husband getting on the other side of their marital issues via social media. “We are pleased to announce that we have reconciled,” she said. “Our divorce action will be dismissed. We are looking forward to our future together.”
That future included two more daughters – Bianka who was born in 2016 and Capri in 2019.
While Kobe’s legacy is cherished and well-respected, the hope would be that Vanessa’s privacy is as well.