Kobe and Vanessa first met on the set of a music video in 1999. Kobe was 20 and Vanessa was 17 at the time.
The loss of a loved one is something we can never get used to. Vanessa Bryant experienced a great loss when her husband, Kobe, and her daughter, Gianna, died in a helicopter crash over two years ago, on January 26, 2020.
On 23 August 2022, Vanessa shared a post on Instagram of her and her husband, marking the late NBA player's 44th birth anniversary.
"Happy birthday, baby! I love you and miss you so much! #44 ❤️," Vanessa wrote in the caption. In the snap, Kobe is seen wearing a baseball hat and a 2009 NBA Championships T-shirt which his team, the Los Angeles Lakers, won, per PEOPLE.
Kobe and Vanessa first met on the set of a music video in 1999. Kobe was 20 and Vanessa was 17 at the time. They got married in 2001 in Dana Point, California. They welcomed their first child, Natalia in 2003 followed by Gianna in 2006.
While grief is something that Vanessa will always live with, in March 2021, Vanessa told PEOPLE that her daughters help her "smile through the pain" and give her strength.
"This pain is unimaginable [but] you just have to get up and push forward. Lying in bed crying isn't going to change the fact that my family will never be the same again. But getting out of bed and pushing forward is going to make the day better for my girls and for me. So that's what I do," she said.
Speaking about "finding the light in the darkness," Vanessa also shared how her late daughter and husband's legacies live on. "The best way to describe it is that Kobe and Gigi motivate me to keep going. They inspire me to try harder and be better every day. Their love is unconditional and they motivate me in so many different ways," she said.
About a month after the unfortunate accident, during a memorial held for Kobe, Gianna, and the seven other victims who lost their lives, Vanessa gave a tribute to her beloved husband and daughter.
Though she began by speaking of her lovely daughter, when it was her turn to talk about her beloved husband, Kobe, she revealed the gift he got her that really spoke to her in their 19 years of marriage, according to CNN. "He was truly the romantic one in our relationship. I looked forward to Valentine's Day and our anniversaries every year. He planned special anniversary trips and a special traditional gift for every year of our marriage. He even handmade my most treasured gifts. He just thought outside the box and was so thoughtful even while working hard to be the best athlete," she said.
"He gave to me the actual notebook and the blue dress Rachel McAdams wore in The Notebook movie. When I asked him why he chose the blue dress, he said because it was the scene when Allie [Rachel McAdams] comes back to Noah [Ryan Gosling]. We had hoped to grow old together like the movie. We really had an amazing love story."
"We loved each other with our whole beings, two perfectly imperfect people raising a beautiful family and our sweet and amazing girls."
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Frank Micelotta