At first, Vanessa made her Instagram private once news hit that Bryant died in a helicopter crash along with their 13-year-old Gianna and seven others. Now, Vanessa’s page is back to being public and her profile picture is a touching photo of a younger Gianna wrapped around her father’s neck, gazing into his eyes.
Vanessa disabled her comments sections, but many photos she posted before the incident remain on her page for her 1.6 million followers.
Vanessa has managed to keep a relatively private life despite her high-profile basketball player husband. She’s rarely done interviews and most of her attention was geared towards her family. She could often be spotted on the sidelines of a game with her daughters, cheering Kobe on.
Vanessa and Kobe began their romance in the summer of 1999 when she was cast to appear in videos for Snoop Dogg‘s hip-hop trio Tha Eastsidaz and others, according to the Los Angeles Times. At the time, Vanessa was a teenager finishing her years in high school. Kobe was in the early years of his 20’s and he was just starting to build a name for himself with the Los Angeles Lakers. The baller was looking to start a rap career aside from being a NBA player and he began to build his circle in music. He met Vanessa on set and soon he was courting her with huge bouquets of roses, and rides from her high school in his Mercedes Benz.
The two announced their engagement at Vanessa’s 18th birthday party and soon after, they married and she transition into the role of an NBA wife, showing up to games and rolling with Kobe to events.
They had their first child, Natalia, in January 2003. This same year, Vanessa continued to support Kobe even throughout his rape allegation case, which was eventually dismissed in 2004 and settled in civil court in 2005, according to CNN. The next year, Kobe and Vanessa welcomed their second daughter Gianna, who’s burgeoning basketball career tragically ended in the helicopter crash.
Kobe and Vanessa still went strong despite a divorce filing in 2011 by Vanessa, who cited “irreconcilable difference.” The divorce was eventually called off in 2013. “We are pleased to announce that we have reconciled,” she said in a social media post. “Our divorce action will be dismissed. We are looking forward to our future together.” This future welcomed two more daughters – Bianka who was born in 2016 and Capri in 2019.
In light of Kobe and Gianna’s death, one People magazine source said that Vanessa is “devastated” and “can hardly keep it together.” They continued, “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 Vanessa “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.”