Meet Kobe Bryant’s Wife, Vanessa Bryant

kobe bryant wife vanessa bryant

Who is Vanessa Bryant? For some people, that name may not ring a bell; however, when you put the title of Kobe Bryant’s wife in front of her name, things start to become clear. The problem is she is more than a wife to a basketball superstar. 

Vanessa Bryant is a daughter, a mom, and an inspiration to her family and those who meet her. Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at the private life of Vanessa Bryant:  

Vanessa Bryant’s Early Years 

Vanessa was raised by a single mother. Her parents divorced when she was a toddler, so for a good portion of her life, she was raised in a single-parent household. Vanessa’s mom Sofia supported her by working as a shipping clerk. She often had to work long, tireless hours, but Sofia’s dedication to her work impacted Vanessa. 

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Before meeting Kobe, Vanessa was a model and appeared in numerous music videos. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Later in life, Vanessa mentioned that her mother’s work ethic made her want to be a person of good character and compassion. Adding that her mother’s actions helped her become the person that she is today. 

Her Modeling Career 

Not many people know this, but Vanessa Bryant originally didn’t want to be a model; in fact, she stumbled into her modeling career by accident. At first, Vanessa wanted to become an actress or a makeup artist. 

However, after leaving a hip-hop concert in August 1999, a man approached her and her friends and asked them if they were interested in being in a music video. Vanessa gave him her name and number but didn’t think much of it. 

She was called in to shoot several days later. Her success in the music video led to several other jobs, including appearing in music videos for artists like Snoop Dogg and Krazy Bone. Who would have guessed that her unexpected career would soon lead to the man of her dreams! 

How Did Vanessa and Kobe Meet? 

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Former NBA star Kobe Bryant poses with his wife Vanessa (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)

In shooting Snoop Dogg’s “Tha Eastsidaz” music video, Vanessa, only 17 at the time, caught the eye of 20-year-old Kobe Bryant. In talking to People, he recalled being charmed by the young model so much that he couldn’t stop looking for her around set. 

They would talk here and there. However, he wanted to talk to her more than just between takes, so eventually, he asked for her number. 

Falling In Love 

Once Vanessa and Kobe started talking, they had hour-long conversations bonding over their many common interests and core values. Quickly they became best friends, and soon they were inseparable. They were frequently spotted hanging out at Disneyland, getting late-night dinners, and of course on the red carpet. 

However, Vanessa didn’t fell for Kobe just for his fame; instead, she fell for him because of how much they had in common. In fact, they both saw the world the same way and wanted the same things for themselves and for their family. In other words, they were the perfect match for each other. 

Highs and Lows of Becoming Kobe Bryant’s Wife

Kobe popped the question to Vanessa when she was only 18, and of course, she said yes! Their engagement stunned the town so much that her high school classmates remember Kobe sending her so many flowers that it seemed to fill the school office. Due to his antics, Vanessa had to finish her last year of high school at home, but she didn’t mind. 

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Vanessa speaks at the funeral after Kobe and her 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

She was happy to be starting the rest of her life with her soulmate. The wedding itself was everything they wanted. 

Although, not everyone liked the idea of them getting married. Vanessa’s stepfather believed Kobe was too old for his 18-year-old daughter. He didn’t approve that at the time she was only 17 when they met.  

However, Kobe’s family had a tough time accepting the marriage. They believed he should have married a black woman rather than a woman of Latin heritage.

In fact, his parents didn’t even attend the wedding ceremony. Throughout their marriage, their dislike of Vanessa continued. While it would slowly mend from time to time, they would keep their distance from Vanessa at events and parties. 


Ever heard the phrase, motherhood changes a person? Well, it certainly changed Vanessa. After she gave birth in 2003 to her daughter Natalia, she happily became a stay-at-home mom.   

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Vanessa Bryant poses for photo with the family before husband Kobe’s game. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

While the family could easily afford a nanny thanks to Kobe’s very successful career, Vanessa wanted to raise her four kids without any help. Not only didn’t they hire a nanny, but she and Kobe made it important to raise their kids to be humble while highlighting the need for charity work and emphasizing giving back.  

To her, it is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have. In fact, in each interview she’s given, she adds that motherhood has taught her qualities about herself she didn’t know she had. 

Later Marriage Struggles  

However, marriage hasn’t always been easy for the couple. Pregnant with her second child, Vanessa suffered a miscarriage in 2005. Understandably, the Bryant’s were devastated. 

Kobe blamed himself for the loss, saying it was his fault due to the stress she went through over his infidelity scandal. Although the miscarriage was no one fault, he still held a lot of guilt for how his past actions may have affected his wife. 

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The couple has gone through some difficult times, like when the Los Angeles Lakers star was charged with sexual assault in 2003. (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

Then just six years later, Vanessa filed for divorce. Rumors speculated it was over his wild infidelity. However, no one has spoken publicly on the topic. It looked like they were headed towards spitz-Ville, but then in 2013, they called off their divorce. The couple apparently rekindled their love and seemed stronger than ever. 

More Than Kobe Bryant’s Wife

The public tends to look at Vanessa Bryant simply as Kobe Bryant’s wife, but she’s much more than that. She’s a strong and hardworking mother who’s had to endure the struggles of love and time. From rumors of infidelity to the loss of their second child, she’s had to balance life in the limelight with her love for Kobe. 

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