Kobe and Vanessa Bryant’s love story is straight from a romance movie. The two met and began a relationship when Vanessa was just 17-years-old and Kobe was a rising star in the NBA. They married less than a year later and were married nearly 20 years before Kobe’s death.
But Kobe’s infamous cheating scandal nearly rocked their union. Luckily, Vanessa gave Kobe a second chance, which Kobe publicly thanked her for on more than one occasion.
A recap of Kobe Bryant’s cheating scandal
While staying in Colorado in 2003, a 19-year-old woman working as a front-desk clerk accompanied Kobe on a tour of the property. She later visited Kobe’s hotel room, where she alleged he raped her.
Kobe denied the allegations, claiming the sex was consensual. He was charged with one count of felony assault and a trial date was set 14 months later. The case was later dropped amid multiple leaks to the press, including the accuser’s name and DNA evidence proving she was intimate with someone else just 15 hours prior to her encounter with Kobe.
The LA Times reports on Kobe’s apology to his accuser a day after the case was dropped.
“First, I want to apologize directly to the young woman involved in this incident. I want to apologize to her for my behavior that night and for the consequences she has suffered in the past year,” he said at the time. “Although this year has been incredibly difficult for me personally, I can only imagine the pain she has had to endure.”
Kobe Bryant on Vanessa Bryant staying with him after his cheating scandal
Fans remember Kobe’s infamous press conference of him admitting to having an affair. A stoic yet supportive Vanessa sat by Kobe’s side as he apologized, explaining he was “ashamed” of his actions and vowing to be a better husband and father moving forward.
As Kobe explained in his 2015 documentary Kobe Bryant’s Muse, Vanessa suffered a miscarriage amid the scandal becoming public. He blamed himself for the stress. Additionally, she was caring for their infant daughter at the time.
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Per Kobe, Vanessa had every right to walk away from the marriage. Instead, she chose to stay and see things through due to her love for him and for the sake of their young family.
“It would have been really easy for her to leave, actually,” Kobe said. “Especially during that time. It would have been much easier to leave. You leave, you take half the money, and you have your daughter…she’s good. But she didn’t do that.”
Kobe and Vanessa Bryant split briefly before reconciling and expanding their family
Following Kobe’s cheating scandal, Vanessa welcomed another daughter, Gianna. The coupled appeared to be doing well but more cheating rumors plagued their relationship. Vanessa filed for divorce in 2011 and even had Kobe sign over the deed to multiple properties during that time.
Thankfully, the couple reconciled and called off the divorce just two years later, with Vanessa announcing such on an Instagram post, writing: “We are pleased to announce that we have reconciled. Our divorce action will be dismissed. We are looking forward to our future together.”
Related: Vanessa Bryant Shares Throwback Video Of Kobe Bryant Explaining Why She Was “The One” On Their 19th Wedding Anniversary
They welcomed two more daughters, Bianka and Capri, amid Kobe’s retirement. They planned to travel and have more family moments during their “second era” together but sadly, Kobe and Gianna died tragically in January 2020.
Vanessa has held the family together and doted on Kobe as a loving husband, telling the audience at Kobe’s memorial, “I was his first girlfriend, his first love, his wife, his best friend, his confidant, and his protector. He was the most amazing husband. Kobe loved me more than I could ever express or put into words.”