Kobe Bryant was a basketball legend, joining the Los Angeles Lakers right out of high school at just 18 years old. Kobe, or the black mamba, as he was lovingly nicknamed would go on to have an incredible career, nabbing five NBA championships with the Lakers and becoming an MVP for the team. But off the court, Kobe was a husband to Vanessa Bryant and father of four girls. The NBA legend and his daughter, Gianna, 13, perished in a helicopter crash on Sunday in Calabasas, Calif.
Kobe was married to Vanessa (Laine) Bryant in April 2001 at a church in Dana Point, California. The Los Angeles Lakers standout popped the question to Vanessa, then a high school senior, and announced the news at her 18th birthday party. While their marriage at such a young age surprised many, the duo remained steadfast.
Vanessa was a regular at Kobe’s games, and she gave birth to their first daughter, Natalia Diamante, in January 2003. Vanessa stood by her husband’s side throughout tumultuous times, and the pair would go on to have another child, Gianna in 2006.
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However, their difficult road had not ended yet. In 2013, the couple announced they were planning to divorce, releasing a joint statement at the time and telling the press that they planned to share custody of their two girls.
The two later reconciled and called off their divorce, and went on to welcome two more girls. They welcomed Bianka Bella in 2016 and Capri Kobe in 2019. Kobe also continued his incredible basketball career, sharing about his family in multiple interviews.
In 2016, Kobe retired from the NBA. At the time of his retirement, his wife, Vanessa shared that she was excited to see where their family life would take them. “I’m so excited to see what God has in store for us as a family now that one chapter is closing and new ones are opening,” she wrote in a brief statement.
Kobe went on to pursue other ventures, including writing a book and founding the Black Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, to help kids up their sports game. For the past two years, he coached his 13-year-old daughter Gianna’s AAU team there, as well.
And over the past year, he openly talked about how much he was enjoying his time at home, surrounded by his four daughters and wife.
“I love having girls, they are awesome,” Kobe told Jimmy Kimmel in 2019.“I love my girls…”
In November 2019, Kobe told Kelly Clarkson on The Kelly Clarkson Show that raising his girls has been a fun challenge.
“I just leave the remote where it is, I’m not fighting that battle,” Kobe joked at the time of battling for TV time with his girls. He also joked that he sings “Moana” when he changes his baby girl’s diapers in order to keep her from crying.
Kobe and his daughter, will be sincerely missed. Our thoughts go out to the entire Bryant family.
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