Kobe and Vanessa Bryant

Destined to be

Love at first sight: see the moment when Kobe Bryant first saw his wife of almost 20-years Vanessa

Vanessa was Kobe’s first girlfriend and best friend

Kobe and Vanessa Bryant have a love and bond that is unbreakable. The couple, who met when Kobe was 20-years-old and Vanessa 17-years-old, met on the set of a music video that the former NBA star was making. And by all accounts, it was love at first sight. Kobe and Vanessa went on to have a relationship that lasted almost 20 years and bore fruit to four beautiful girls — Natalia, 17, Gianna, 13, Bianka, three and eight-month-old Capri. Kobe, who was a self-proclaimed #GirlDad, was a family man and a hopeless romantic and shared in countless interviews just how deep his love ran for the mamá of his four girls.

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Kobe and Vanessa met in 1999 at a time when he was pursuing a music career (although his music was never released). He took part in the video for G’d Up by the group Tha Eastsidaz, which is where he met Vanessa. The 17-year-old dancer was still in school at the time, but because of her skills, was chosen to be part of the video.

Kobe and Vanessa Bryant©@vanessabryant
Vanessa and Kobe Bryant felt a connection the moment the first met

In an interview, Kobe remembers the first time he saw the woman who would become his wife and mother to his four children. “When we were done filming, I would go to my trailer and I would always ask myself where she was,” explained the former L.A. Lakers players recalling the first time he saw Vanessa.

Kobe and Vanessa Bryant family©@vanessabryant
Kobe and Vanessa went on to have four daughters: Natalia, 17, Gianna, 13, Bianka, three and eight-month-old Capri

I would leave my trailer and only want to talk to her in between takes,” explained Kobe with a giant smile. “She wrote down her telephone number, at that time people had to write down their numbers,” the father-of-four continued. He was happy that he was able to get the number of the girl that had caught his eye, something of an achievement for him.

Vanessa’s sad goodbye

On Monday, February 24, Vanessa along with thousands of others, paid tribute to the Black Mamba and his Mambacita at a memorial celebration at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Everyone from Christina Aguilera to Alicia Keys to Beyoncé were there to celebrate the life of the great basketball player. Vanessa, hurting from the loss of her husband and daughter, took to the stage to give an emotional speech honoring her 13-year-old daughter Gianna and her twin soul Kobe.

Kobe Bryant's wife Vanessa Bryant©GettyImages
Vanessa paid tribute to her late husband and daughter in a moving speech during the memorial celebration that took place at the Staples Center

She began, “I was his first girlfriend, his first love, his wife, his best friend, his confidante and his protector. He was the most amazing husband. Kobe loved me more than I could ever express or put into words.”

“He would do anything for me. I have no idea how I deserved a man that loved and wanted me more than Kobe. He was charismatic, a gentleman...We really had an amazing love story. We loved each other with our whole beings, two perfectly imperfect people making a beautiful family and raising our sweet and amazing girls,” continued the mother-of-four.

Vanessa ended her moving speech by sharing, “God knew they couldn't be on this Earth without each other. He had to bring them home to have them together...May you both rest in peace, have fun in heaven until we meet again one day. We love you both and miss you forever and always. Mommy.”