At the time of Kobe Bryant’s tragic death in 2020, he and wife Vanessa Bryant were happily married with four beautiful children. The couple’s near 20-year marriage was not always smooth sailing, however, and the pair nearly divorced in 2011.

Bryant met 18-year-old Vanessa Laine while she was still in high school and he was starting his NBA career. According to the Los Angeles Times, the two crossed paths when they both had connections in the music industry. At the time, Bryant was an aspiring rapper, and it was on the set of one of his music videos that he met Laine — it was love at first sight. The former NBA player recalled their introduction in the 2015 documentary “Kobe Bryant’s Muse,” saying, “It was a two-day video shoot, and I was always looking for her. Like, I wanted to know where she was. … She wrote her phone number down… I called her the very next day, and we talked for hours.” Bryant and Laine married in April 2001, and went on to have four daughters: Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, and Capri.

The couple’s relationship survived Bryant’s 2003 sexual assault case, but by 2011, their relationship was in jeopardy. Vanessa filed for divorce that year, citing irreconcilable differences as the cause, per the Los Angeles Times. By 2013, however, the pair reconciled, with Vanessa announcing on Instagram (via NBC Sports), “Our divorce action will be dismissed. We are looking forward to our future together.”


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