Vanessa Bryant Talks "Love at First Sight" With Kobe Bryant

Vanessa Bryant shared how she instantly fell in love with Kobe Bryant, who died with their daughter Gianna Bryant, in a helicopter crash in January.

By Kaitlin Reilly Nov 28, 2020 10:53 PMTags
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Vanessa Bryant honored the origin story of her and late husband Kobe Bryant's love story on her private Instagram. 

On a photo of her and Kobe at Disneyland, the former model wrote, "Love at first sight 11/27/99 #21."

The date marked 21 years since Vanessa and Kobe met, though unlike the photo Vanessa selected, the two did not meet at the theme park. The couple, who married in 2001, met at a recording studio, where the NBA legend was pursuing his passion outside of basketball: a never-released hip-hop album. Vanessa was working as a backup dancer in a music video for Tha Eastsidaz' "G'd Up."

Kobe died in a helicopter crash on January 26, at age 41, along with his and Vanessa's 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people. 

Vanessa, who turned her Instagram to request-only earlier this year, shared her heartbreak in a tribute to Kobe and Gianna in August.

"I'm mad I didn't go first. I always wanted to go first so that I selfishly didn't have to feel this heartache," the 38-year-old wrote on Instagram. "You were supposed to miss me. Gigi was supposed to be here with her sisters. It should've been me."

Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant's Public Memorial: Stars Attend Celebration of Life

At Kobe and Gianna's public memorial, Vanessa spoke about her romantic life with Kobe. 

Donato Sardella/Getty Images for EIF

"He gifted 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 it was because of the scene when Ali comes back to Noah. We had hopes to grow old together, like the movie. We really had an amazing love story," she shared with the audience at the Staples Center. "We loved each other with our whole beings, two perfectly imperfect people making a beautiful family and raising our sweet and amazing girls."


She added that weeks before Kobe died, he sent her a text about how he "wanted to spend time together, just the two of us without our kids because I'm his best friend first."

"We never got the chance to do it," she explained. "We were busy taking care of our girls and just doing our regular everyday responsibilities, but I'm thankful I have that recent text. It means so much to me. Kobe wanted us to renew our vows."