It’s hard to believe it’s been one year since Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, were tragically killed in a helicopter crash in Southern California on January 26. On the one-year anniversary of his death, were celebrating some of Kobe’s happiest family moments to honor his legacy. The late Oscar-winner has shared many sweet public moments with his wife, Vanessa Bryant and their daughters over the years — whether it was on the red carpet, at his games or other Hollywood events. One of the Bryant family’s more recent photos together was at the LA premiere of Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time in 2018.
If there’s one thing Kobe Bean Bryant prided himself with, it was his family. Aside from his prowess on the basketball court, he was the ultimate family man. Following Kobe’s death, fellow athlete Derek Jeter remembered his friend as someone “who just loved being a dad,” in an article he penned for The Players’ Tribune. “All I ever needed to know about Kobe Bryant was this: that throughout our friendship, the most meaningful conversations we had — they were always about family,” Jeter began the essay. “When I think of Kobe, I really just end up thinking about those special few personal conversations that we were lucky enough to share together, each time one of us had a new baby daughter.”
Jeter continued, “Here was this guy who was beyond gifted as an athlete, who was obsessed with being a champion, who was known as an absolute assassin with a ball in his hands. And in the moments I got to spend with him? He didn’t really talk about any of that. He cared much more about being a husband to Vanessa and a dad to his girls. He loved his family — he was his family,” he declared, noting, “That’s what was important. And that’s the Kobe I’ll remember.”
In the days leading up to the one-year anniversary of Kobe and Gianna’s deaths, Vanessa took to Instagram to share details about her experience with grief. “Let me be real — grief is a messed up cluster of emotions,” she wrote in a note on Instagram Stories on January 15. “One day, you’re in the moment laughing and the next day you don’t feel like being alive. I want to say this for people struggling with grief and heartbreaking loss. Find your reason to live,” she urged, admitting, “I know it’s hard. I look at my daughters and I try to push through that feeling for them. Death is guaranteed but living the rest of the day isn’t. Find your reason.”
Vanessa and Kobe tied the knot in 2001 — two years after meeting on the set of a music video in 1999. Their first child, Natalia, now 18, was born in 2003. Gianna arrived in 2006, and Bianka, 4, was born in 2016. Most recently, the couple welcomed a fourth daughter, Capri in June of 2019.
The couple’s marriage has faced its fair share of ups and downs through the years. In 2011, Vanessa filed for divorce after looming rumors that Kobe was cheating. They ultimately worked through their issues and in 2013, announced their recompilation. This year, Kobe would’ve turned 43 in August, and Gigi would’ve celebrated her 15th birthday in May.