As if the death of Kobe Bryant wasn’t heartbreaking enough, one of his four daughters was also killed in the helicopter crash that claimed his life. As the authorities figure out what happened, look back at the Bryant family in happier times.
Kobe Bryant, 41, was killed in a helicopter crash during the morning hours of Sunday, Jan. 26. The legendary basketball player was confirmed among the nine confirmed dead, and shortly after, it was confirmed his daughter Gianna Maria Onore — aka GiGi – was also aboard the aircraft. Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter were reportedly on their way to the Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks for basketball practice when the crash occurred, according to CNN. The outlet also reports that three other people died in the wreck, while TMZ reports that Kobe’s wife (and Gigi’s mother) Vanessa Bryant was not among those on board.
Vanessa and Kobe tied the knot in 2001, two years after meeting in 1999. His first child, Natalie Diamante, 17, was born in 2003. Gigi arrived in 2006, and Bianca Bella, 3, was born in 2016. Most recently, the couple welcomed a fourth daughter, Capri, in June 2019. “So thankful for our newest baby blessing, Capri Kobe Bryant,” Vanessa captioned the birth announcement, while Kobe added, “We are beyond excited that our baby girl ‘Koko’ has arrived #BryantBunch #4princesses #blessed.”
Though they loved each of their four girls with all their hearts, a source close to the couple told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY that they would love to welcome a bouncing baby boy into the family. “Kobe and Vanessa would absolutely love to have a son but are completely blessed that they have healthy, beautiful daughters. They will try again. They aren’t done with their family and look to grow it regardless of the fifth child is a son or daughter. Plus one thing to throw out there, Kobe thinks that five is a charm. He has five championships, so he has joked to friends and Vanessa it will be a boy the fifth time around!”
Vanessa and Kobe’s marriage endured numerous trials and challenges before his tragic death. Their marriage was put underneath a microscope after he was accused of sexual assault in 2003. Though Vanessa stood by his side during the ordeal (prosecutors dropped the criminal charges against Kobe after his accused refused to testify. She sued him in civil court and settled privately in 2005), she filed for divorce in December 2011, citing irreconcilable differences.
Two years later, on Jan. 11, 2013, the couple announced they had worked through their issues. “I am happy to say that Vanessa and I are moving on with our lives together as a family,” he posted on Facebook, per ESPN. “When the show ends, and the music stops, the journey is made beautiful by having that someone to share it with. Thank you all for your support and prayers! Much luv, Mamba out.”