Alex Rodriguez was in tears on January 25 when he learned that his good friend, Kobe Bryant, had died in a helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant. The MLB star came to his fiancée, Jennifer Lopez, crying as he broke the news to her, she said in a press conference ahead of Super Bowl LIV. “I was in the middle of rehearsing and Alex came to me with tears in his eyes,” Jennifer said. “He was devastated, he knew Kobe very well. They entered sports around the same time. I think it’s affecting everyone so much because it’s reminding us how fragile life is and we have to appreciate every single moment and love people while they’re here.” While she said she knew Kobe and his wife, Vanessa Bryant “more in passing,” she was sending her prayers after the loss of her beloved husband and daughter.
“I think about Vanessa as a mom, losing her best friend and partner, and losing her child, and how awful that must be for her right now,” the Super Bowl halftime show performer said. “I wanted to send a message that God guides her through this because she has three babies to take care of. [I’m] just wishing the nightmare will be over but it won’t. It’s life, and we need to spread love and kindness and bring everybody together. I think this happening has a sound around the world that we have to come together and not be at odds all the time.”
Shakira, who is co-headlining the halftime show with Jennifer, had her own memories of Kobe to share at the press conference. “Gerard [Piqué], my partner, called me with the sad news. He was really affected. He knew Kobe, and I did too,” she said of the soccer star. “I can’t imagine the pain his family is going through.” While they didn’t say if there would be a special tribute to Kobe at the Super Bowl, on February 2, Shakira said that “we will all be remembering Kobe on Sunday, and celebrating life.”