Kobe Bryant’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, has been with Kobe since 2002, and the happy couple now have four children together. However, while Kobe frequently appears on television and magazine covers, Vanessa rarely gives interviews. So, what is there to be known about her?
Vanessa Cornejo Ubrieta was born in California and took her stepfather Stephen Laine’s last name. At the time Vanessa was modeling whilst at Marina High School and Kobe Bryant had been in the NBA for about three seasons. The two met on the set of a music video and the two had an instant attraction. After they started dating, Vanessa was so inundated with photographers, that she had to finish her high school senior year at home.
Kobe Bryant confirmed his engagement to Vanessa in 2000. At the time, Vanessa was only 18 years old and Kobe was 23. The young couple was serious about their relationship though and decided to make that life-long commitment. Vanessa even managed to forget about her fear of flying to travel with Kobe to Lower Merion as well as to his jersey retirement ceremony. Now that’s what we call love!
Kobe’s parents were not that pleased with their son’s devotion to Vanessa, worrying that he was marrying a Latina woman, instead of an African-American woman. They didn’t even appear at the couple’s 2001 wedding at Dana Point in California. It was reported that Kobe hadn’t actually spoken to his parents in nearly three years after they attempted to auction off his high school memorabilia without his consent.
Two years after the couple’s union in 2003, Kobe Bryant was accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old hotel employee. Vanessa Bryant stood by her husband’s side, saying that “You’re my backbone. You’re a blessing. You’re a piece of my heart. You’re the air I breathe.” The case was dropped in 2004 after the accuser refused to testify, but the scandal continued to plague Vanessa’s life.
In early 2005, Vanessa suffered a miscarriage due to an ectopic pregnancy. Two years later, Kobe opened up about the loss, and took the blame for his wife’s miscarriage, stating that Vanessa had been experiencing too much stress caused by the sexual assault allegations.
Vanessa Bryant filed for divorce from Kobe in 2011, citing irreconcilable differences. Vanessa Bryant signed the papers on Dec. 1. Kobe Bryant signed his response on Dec. 7. The couple ended up working through their difficulties though, before reconciling in 2013 and calling off divorce proceedings.
After the divorce from Kobe, it was speculated that Vanessa would receive half of Kobe’s $150 million fortune. Many people thought that the divorce had been a long time coming, while Vanessa’s ex-stepfather, called it a well-calculated scheme. “In California … it’s considered a long-term marriage and then she gets paid for life or until she remarries … just like her mother is doing to me.” he said.
Kobe Bryant was one of the highest-paid players in the NBA, and there is no doubt that Vanessa is able to afford anything her heart desires. However, there was only one thing that she wouldn’t spend her money on: a nanny. She wakes up early every morning and shuttles her daughters around town. She said that was the way she was raised, and wanted to raise her children all on her own.
Being a model, businesswoman and wife of Kobe Bryant, Vanessa Laine Bryant is estimated to be worth a whopping $75 million dollars. The numbers take into account her business ventures as well as the statues of her husband.
“Dear Basketball” is an animated short film directed by Glen Keane and starring Kobe Bryant. After 20 years in the NBA, Kobe announced his retirement. The short film won an Annie Award in 2017 and won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. It was a first Oscar for Kobe Bryant, Vanessa Laine Bryant and also a first for a current or former NBA player.