Ever since the passing of Kobe and Gianna Bryant, more people than ever have been interested in knowing more about the widow of the late basketball legend.
Vanessa Bryant has preferred to live most of her life out of the public eye, but the handling of the information about her husband and daughter’s deaths has propelled her back into the public eye.
While it is no secret that her late husband left her and their remaining children a hefty inheritance, no amount of money will resolve the devastating grief that Vanessa Bryant and her daughters will endure for their entire lives.
What Is Vanessa Bryant’s Net Worth?
Vanessa Bryant has a net worth of $600 million, with the vast majority of that money coming from her late husband’s professional basketball career.
While Bryant worked as a model when she was in high school, she has spent the majority of her time parenting their four daughters.
Before marrying the basketball legend, her name was Vanessa Laine, the last name taken from her stepfather.
She was born on May 5th of 1982 in Los Angeles, where she was raised.
During Vanessa’s early career as a music video model, she appeared in many popular rappers’ music videos, including rappers like Snoop Dogg and Krazy Bones.
It was during this time when she was hired to work on one of Kobe Bryant’s music videos.
The young basketball star couldn’t keep his eyes off of Vanessa Laine and would talk to her every single opportunity he had.
He would even make excuses just to talk to her a little longer.
It didn’t take long for the young couple to fall completely in love with one another, and they were engaged six months after they met.
The pair were incredibly young when they began dating, with Vanessa Bryant only being a senior in high school at the time.
Their relationship caused such a commotion at school that Vanessa Bryant had to finish her high school education through homeschooling.
Two years after their marriage, they welcomed their first daughter to the world, Natalia Bryant.
The Bryants knew that they wanted their children to have as normal of a childhood as possible and chose to raise the child and future children by themselves.
Vanessa Bryant was proud of the family that she had built, which made the death of her husband and daughter even more painful, only to find out through the news.
Her Time As A Music Video Model
Vanessa Cornejo Urbieta was raised by her single mother after her father left them and moved to Mexico.
This forced them to move in with Vanessa’s aunt while her mother supported them as a shipping clerk.
Her mother’s dedication to keeping them alive and well is what inspired Vanessa to do the best that she could in every aspect of her life.
Her mother is the one who taught her the importance of being dedicated to your family and how strong you have to be as a mother, especially a single mother.
When Vanessa was eight years old, her mother married her stepfather, Stephen Laine.
Although she had gone by the name Vanessa Cornejo Urbieta, she took her stepfather’s last name after the marriage.
Before her senior year of high school, Vanessa attended a concert at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater and was approached by a man with a video camera.
He claimed that he was looking for models for upcoming music videos and Laine gave her name and number to the man.
She ended up being called for a photoshoot soon after the concert and was accompanied by her mother, who always made sure to attend every job with Vanessa.
She got several gigs as a music video model with less well-known rappers before landing gigs with Snoop Dogg, Da Eastsidaz, and Krazy Bones.
During her career, her parents became even more protective of her and did not allow her to date while she was in high school.
However, this rule was broken when she met Kobe Bryant.
How Black Mamba And Queen Mamba Came To Be
Vanessa and Kobe met on the set of his music video set, where Vanessa Laine had been cast as a music video model.
Anyone in the room when they met has said that it was love at first sight, and Kobe Bryant could not keep his focus off of his future wife.
Kobe Bryant had already made massive strides in the National Basketball Association, earning himself the nickname Black Mamba.
It was 1999 when the couple met on set, making Kobe 21 years old at the time and Vanessa only 17.
Before the shoot for the music video ended, Kobe Bryant asked Vanessa Laine out on their first date.
For their first date, they went to Disneyland, where bodyguards had to trail them the entire time.
Vanessa was still attending Marina High School when the couple’s relationship became public knowledge.
She kept a cool head about the situation, only really being protective about the photos that she’d bring to school to show her friends.
One of her former classmates claims that one of Vanessa’s favorite pictures of Kobe was one where he was playing with her puppies at home.
While Vanessa was glad to show all the photos, she didn’t want people touching them out of fear they’d get smudged or ruined.
Kobe Bryant wasn’t afraid to let the whole school know that the couple was dating.
He would send roses to her school and pick her up in his Mercedes.
The media outlets that would swarm the school became too much for the school to handle, so they had to ask Vanessa Laine to finish her senior year from home.
At her 18th birthday party, only six months after they met, Kobe Bryant proposed to Vanessa Laine.
Marrying Kobe Bryant
Despite the financial gap between them, Kobe Bryant wanted nothing to do with any prenuptial agreement when it came to marrying Vanessa.
She had told her stepfather that Kobe Bryant said that he loved her too much to ever consider divorcing her at any point.
As true as their love may have been, the whole family wasn’t excited about their relationship or their marriage.
His parents and sister disapproved of their marriage so greatly that they didn’t even attend the wedding.
Kobe Bryant’s family was not happy with how Vanessa Bryant was and the fact that she wasn’t African American, like the rest of the family.
However, this didn’t stop the lovebirds from getting married in April of 2001 at Saint Edward the Confessor Catholic Church.
The ceremony was extremely intimate, with only 12 people attending.
Kobe Bryant and his family suffered an intense emotional rift after their treatment of his wife, wedding, and marriage.
While Kobe Bryant’s father acknowledges the damage that has come to their relationship, he claims that he and Vanessa Bryant are “cool”, despite him feeling “uncomfortable” over her race and “uneasy” about his son’s selfless devotion to his wife.
Joe Bryant told the Orlando Sentinel that he and his wife were simply backing away from Kobe Bryant’s life and that “Twenty years from now when his own child grows up, he’ll understand what I’m doing.”
Considering what would happen less than 20 years later, situations like the Bryants’ are examples of why you shouldn’t let other people’s expectations for your life stop you from enjoying and treasuring it.
The family was able to come together again for the birth of his first daughter.
They announced their pregnancy in September of 2002, which was met with public elation.
How Becoming A Mother Changed Her Life
Natalia Diamante Bryant was born on January 19th, 2003.
Their eldest daughter’s name comes from Vanessa Bryant’s love of diamonds and the strength and beauty that they represent.
Although most of the children that the Bryant kids would grow up around would be raised by nannies hired by parents too busy working to raise their own children, Vanessa and Kobe Bryant knew that they wanted to be more involved in their children’s lives and make family more of a priority.
Three years after Natalia was born, Vanessa gave birth to Gianna Maria Onore Bryant in May.
Gianna Bryant was often deemed to be the most like her father, a fierce basketball player adopting the nickname Mambacita in reference to her parents’ nicknames.
She was extremely vocal about her aspirations to join the Women’s National Basketball Association and was being trained by her father until they both passed away.
After some relationship struggles in 2011, their second youngest daughter was born in December of 2016.
Bianka Bella Bryant was given the nickname BB by her father and was only in preschool when her father and older sister passed away.
The youngest of the Bryant daughters is Capri Bryant, who was born on June 20th in 2019.
Both Kobe and Vanessa were excited to have another daughter.
Although many people told the Bryants that they needed to have a son to carry on Kobe’s legacy, Kobe Bryant was a proud father of daughters and knew that his daughters would have no problem carrying on his legacy on their own.
In one of her rare interviews while her husband and daughter were still with her, Vanessa explained how motherhood has taught her to be patient and understanding.
She wants to be as solid a foundation for her daughters as her mother was for her.
Standing Beside Kobe Through Accusation
In 2003, Kobe Bryant was accused of raping a 19-year-old fan.
Kobe Bryant claimed that he believed what was happening was consensual, but this also meant that he was admitting to adultery.
While the case was never fully brought to trial, it was settled as a civil lawsuit in 2005.
This cost the Bryants $2.5 million in civil juries alone.
Kobe Bryant was ashamed of what he had done and how he had tainted the relationship that he had with his wife.
Vanessa Bryant was spotted wearing a $4 million dollar ring after the news of her husband’s infidelity broke out.
This was an incredibly stressful time for Vanessa Bryant, but she chose to stand by her husband whom she believed was not a rapist, even if he was adulterous.
The amount of backlash and heartbreak she felt put a heavy strain on her body.
In the same year the sexual assault lawsuit was closing, Vanessa Bryant suffered a miscarriage caused by an ectopic pregnancy.
However, Kobe Bryant felt that he was the one to blame because of the stress his pregnant wife had to endure.
Things seemed to get better after Gianna Bryant was born, but the miscarriage would not be the last time Vanessa would lose a child.
Her Philanthropic Efforts
Inspired by her mother and her own childhood, Vanessa Bryant co-launched the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Foundation.
This foundation’s goal is to give children life-changing opportunities to inspire them to dream further and work harder towards those dreams.
The foundation gives out countless scholarships to minority students to help give them the boost they need to succeed.
They also once held multiple sports summer camps, even offering a soccer program in Orange County.
Kobe Bryant used to coach and mentor some of the basketball teams, including Gianna Bryant’s team in the Kobe Bryant Basketball Foundation.
As a couple, Vanessa and Kobe Bryant were founding donors to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and donated at least $1 million.
After the accident, Vanessa Bryant’s first statement to the public was that she and the Mamba Sports Foundation had set up a fund to support the other families that had been affected by the same helicopter crash that killed her daughter and husband.
The Death Of Kobe And Gianna Bryant
On the way to Gianna Bryant’s basketball game with a few other members of the team and their parents, the helicopter crashed and killed every passenger in the aircraft from blunt force trauma.
When first responders got to the crash site, every passenger was left unrecognizable, including Kobe Bryant who had to be identified by his fingerprints and tattoos.
As a woman who was dedicated to her husband and children, Vanessa was left in shambles at the news of the death of her husband and daughter.
What made the situation even worse was how Vanessa Bryant found out about the crash.
Rather than having an official or authority figure come and tell the widow about the fate of her husband and daughter, Vanessa Bryant found out through social media after photos of their crash had been distributed over social media.
Bryant’s family assistant had informed Vanessa Bryant about the crash, but they had been told that there were five survivors.
In hopes that her husband and daughter were among the potential survivors, she kept calling her husband.
Instead of seeing a call back from her husband, social media posts captioned “#RIPKobe” began appearing on her phone.
She begged the police department to not release photos if they couldn’t find her husband and child alive and waited for hours for an update from the police department.
However, 10 first responders decided to take personal pictures on their phones and distribute them through AirDrop and text messages.
The new widow was devastated by the fact that people were willing to post lifeless photos of her loved ones when they were supposed to be the ones helping.
Due to the handling of her husband and daughter’s deaths, Vanessa Bryant has been spending more time in the public eye.
Preserving Their Memory
Since the crash, Vanessa Bryant has been leading a lawsuit against the first responders who spread the images of the deaths of her husband and daughter around social media.
She is not concerned about any money, but her goal is to make an example out of those who take advantage of helpless and lifeless people.
Vanessa Bryant has been very vocal about how painful the experience has been and continues to be to this day.
Luckily, many old friends and fans of the late basketball star have done their best to ensure that Vanessa Bryant and her daughters are able to grieve as necessary and potentially heal.