Vanessa Laine Bryant, born Vanessa Cornejo Urbieta is an American model and dancer of Mexican descent. She is the wife of the late basketball legend Kobe Bryant. Vanessa was born in Huntington Beach, California on the 5th of May 1982. Her parents divorced in 1985 while Vanessa was still 3 years old. She was single-handedly raised by her Mom, Sophia Urbieta, who was working two jobs at once. Her mother Sophia married Joseph Laine in 1990 whose surname Vanessa took in the year 2000. Vanessa is the second child of her mother and has an older sister named Sophie.
She met Kobe Bryant in 1999, when she was still in high school. He was only 17 years old while Kobe was 20 years old. At this time, Kobe was already a star with one of America’s top Basketball club Los Angeles Lakers.
According to Los Angeles Times, Kobe actually met Vanessa when she was enlisted to feature in the Tha Eastsidaz music videos. The two lovebirds started dating thereafter.
Her relationship with Kobe Bryant while in Senior high caught the attention of Paparazzi, which finally lead to Vanessa completing her high school from home as she couldn’t face the too much attention and publicity from Paparazzi
Vanessa finally got married to Kobe Bryant in April 2001. A marriage with no prenuptial agreement. This move was not taken lightly by Kobe’s parents who were worried because Vanessa was still very young plus what could happen to Kobe’s wealth should the issue of divorce arise. Because of this, Kobe’s parents Joe and Pam Bryant did not attend their wedding.
Though in the year 2003, two years after their marriage; same year that Vanessa had their first child Natalia (January 2003) Kobe was caught up in the web of cheating scandal. A one count charge of sexual assault on a 19 year old hotel worker in Colorado. While Mr. Bryant never denied being guilty of adultery, he maintained that he was innocent of rape. The charge was eventually settled out of court and Kobe apologized to her wife Vanessa with a diamond ring worth 4 million dollars. In an interview in July 26 2003, Vanessa and her late husband Kobe Bryant held a press conference together, where Bryant admitted to cheating. Vanessa, on the other hand, acknowledging her husband’s shortcomings, said that they would handle the issue within their marriage.
In 2004 Vanessa Bryant suffered a miscarriage. An experience that got both her and Kobe heartbroken. Kobe blamed himself for the miscarriage citing too much stress as the cause. In May 1st, 2006, Vanessa had her second child Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant.
One year later, Kobe and Vanessa launched the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation.
This was not the only foundation that they were involved with. She along with her late husband, funded several charitable causes. The Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation (KVBFF) was devoted to improving the lives of the youths and families in need both in the United States of America and across the world.
Vanessa and her late husband were also involved with Make-a-Wish foundation where they granted over 250 wishes of Children who were suffering from a life threatening disease. The National Museum of African American History and Culture also benefited from their large heart when they donated around one million dollars ($1m) to the museum when it opened in 2016.
Vanessa and Kobe Bryant were rocked with another bad media laundry in 2009 when their former housekeeper Maria Jimenez accused Vanessa of harassing, humiliating and verbally abusing her on several occasions. The Bryant’s family didn’t take this lightly and filed a counterclaim. They maintained that Jimenez had violated their confidentiality agreement by discussing their private matter in public. This too, was settled out of court.
In 2009, Vanessa filed for a divorce because of irreconcilable differences according to her. However, the true reason why the lawsuit was filed was unclear. The reality was that this did not last for long as Vanessa called off the divorce. This further represents that their love for each other was stronger that the storms that threatened their union on many occasions. It’s in the air that Vanessa’s friend would advise her to take a walk and take over one hundred million dollars from Kobe but Vanessa did not yield to any of their advice but constantly walked out of her way to resolve her marriage issues with Kobe.
After 10 years of child bearing, In 2016 Vanessa and Kobe welcomed their third child, Bianka Bella. On Thursday, June 20th 2019, Vanessa gave birth to her 4th child Capri. “Our baby girl is here!!!!!!” Vanessa wrote on her Instagram page the next day, June 21.
Unfortunately on the 26th January 2020, Vanessa lost her sweetheart Kobe and daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, going from John Wayne Airport to Camarillo Airport. Nine people who were on board were all killed.
Vanessa filed a lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters, the company that owned the helicopter and employed pilot Ara Zobayan in Los Angeles Superior court. According to Forbes, the lawsuit alleges over two dozen causes of action including wrongful death; Vanessa Bryant alleges that the pilot negligently operated the aircraft, including traveling 180 miles per hour in dangerous weather conditions. It has also been alleged that pilot Zobayan had previously been disciplined for violating visual flight rule minimums. In addition to vicarious liability for its employee’s negligence, this may also subject Island Express Helicopters to potential liability for its own negligence in failing to adequately supervise the pilot given this alleged history of flying in arguably unsafe conditions.
It is understandable that not even a lawsuit or any compensation whatsoever can fill the vacuum created in Vanessa by the death of her husband and young daughter Gianna. These can be noticed in many of her Instagram posts since the death of this two.
“My brain refuses to accept that both Kobe and Gigi are gone. I can’t process both at the same time,”
“It’s like I’m trying to process Kobe being gone, but my body refuses to accept my Gigi will never come back to me.
“It feels wrong.”
“I’ve been reluctant to put my feelings into words. My brain refuses to accept that both Kobe and Gigi are gone. I can’t process both at the same time. It’s like I’m trying to process Kobe being gone but my body refuses to accept my Gigi will never come back to me. It feels wrong. Why should I be able to wake up another day when my baby girl isn’t being able to have that opportunity?! I’m so mad. She had so much life to live. Then I realize I need to be strong and be here for my 3 daughters. Mad I’m not with Kobe and Gigi but thankful I’m here with Natalia, Bianka and Capri. I know what I’m feeling is normal. It’s part of the grieving process. I just wanted to share in case there’s anyone out there that’s experienced a loss like this. God I wish they were here and this nightmare would be over. Praying for all of the victims of this horrible tragedy. Please continue to pray for all”.
It is indeed disheartening that this young lady at this age could become a widow without a sign. To lose a husband and a child in one day! As many people across the world sympathize and pray for her family we hope that she finds the strength to stay strong, both for herself and her young children who may be going through emotional trauma at this time.