Vanessa Bryant was just 37 years old when she tragically lost her husband, Kobe Bryant, and their 13-year-old daughter, Gia, in a fatal helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020.
UPDATE (1/29/20 9pm ET): Vanessa Bryant has spoken out for the first time since losing husband Kobe and daughter Gigi in the tragic Jan. 26 helicopter crash. She shared a lengthy Instagram post on Jan. 29, mourning her “adoring husband Hobe — the amazing father of our children,” and “my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter. You can read her full statement by clicking here.
Kobe Bryant’s wife, Vanessa Bryant‘s, heart likely shattered into a million pieces on Jan. 26, when she learned that her husband, who is and will always be known as one of the greatest NBA players of all time, as well as their 13-year-old daughter, Gia, died in a helicopter crash. Kobe, who was only 41 at the time of his death, was reportedly traveling with four other people, including his daughter, Gia, at the time of the crash, according to TMZ. There were no survivors. Fortunately, Vanessa wasn’t one of the people on the helicopter, but she will likely forever be heartbroken over this horrific tragedy. Want to know more about her? See five facts below.
1. Despite her husband’s fame, Vanessa leads a rather private life. She has 1.9 million followers on Instagram, but her account is private. She was born Vanessa Cornejo Urbieta on May 5, 1982.
2. Kobe and Vanessa got married in 2001. The NBA player once confessed that he met his wife in 1999. He was 21 years old at the time, and she was 17. According to E! True Hollywood Story, Kobe proposed to her six months after they met, and they did not sign a prenuptial agreement.
Sources: Kobe Bryant was on his way to a travel basketball game with his daughter Gianna when the helicopter crashed. Those aboard the helicopter also included another player and parent.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 26, 2020
3. Their marriage also survived a sexual assault lawsuit. Kobe was accused of raping a 19-year-old hotel worker in 2004. However, he said that the sexual encounter was consensual, and apologized for cheating on his wife. Sexual assault charges were filed against the basketball player in September 2004, but the case was dropped three weeks after it was filed because the woman didn’t want to proceed.
4. Vanessa filed for divorce from Kobe in 2011. She cited “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for the split, but in 2013, the couple announced that they had called off their divorce, and they remained married up until his death.
5. She and Kobe Bryant have four children together and all four are girls. Natalia Diamante was born in January 2003, Gianna Maria-Onore, who was in the helicopter with Kobe and died, was born in May 2006, Bianka Bella was born in Dec. 2016, and Capri Kobe was born in June 2019. At the time of his retirement in 2015, she released a statement saying, “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”. Now, following the tragedy, it has become a heartbreaking message.