Singer Brandy has opened up about how the death of her former beau Kobe Bryant “shook her faith”. The 41-year-old said the NBA legend’s tragic death in a helicopter crash on January 26 was something she would never comprehend. “I just cannot understand it. I don’t understand it. I’ll never understand it to this day,” she told Entertainment Tonight via Zoom on May 8. “That moment really shook my faith. It just stopped me dead in my tracks.” Back in 1996, the pair famously attended Kobe’s Lower Merion Township High School prom together at the Bellevue Hotel in Philadelphia. The two then-17 year olds were dressed to the nines for the occasion, with Kobe in a dapper tuxedo and Brandy in a gorgeous champagne-colored gown by Moschino.
Brandy also posted a tribute to Kobe and his 13-year-old Gianna on Jan. 31, after the father-daughter duo both tragically lost their lives. “Never will I understand,” the R&B singer captioned the Instagram image. “My condolences to @vanessabryant, the entire family, and all in pain during this tragic time. Love #Mamba #Mambacita,” she continued, referencing Kobe’s wife Vanessa Bryant, 37, their daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 8 mos., along with the rest of the Bryant clan. In the painting-like photo, a smiling Kobe sweetly embraces his daughter who lovingly leans into her dad.
The former couple met casually at a Nike All-Star Basketball game, where Kobe was immediately smitten. At the time, Brandy had released her debut 1994 album and was starring on UPN’s Moesha. “He asked me to go to the prom with him, and since he was a nice guy…I asked my mom, and she said yes,” Brandy revealed to New York Daily News at the time. “I said I don’t know this guy. I had no idea who he was,” Brandy’s mom Sonja Norwood said in another 1996 interview with the Philadelphia Daily News. “And then Brandy said, ‘He’s a basketball player.’…I liked that he had involved parents and he was doing well academically…He seemed to be a pretty good kid. He was levelheaded and grounded. And I said OK,” she admitted.
Brandy and Kobe crossed paths several times that year, walking the red carpet for Arnold Schwarznegger‘s movie Eraser just two weeks before he was drafted into the NBA! Kobe also guest-starred in Brandy and Ray J’s popular sitcom Moesha, which was his acting debut.