The unfortunate passing of Kobe Bryant and their daughter, Gigi, at the end of January 2020, has brought an increased focus on his wife, Vanessa Bryant. Since Kobe passed, she and the rest of the Bryant family have been the subject of concern from friends, fans, and media outlets.
Expectedly, as it has been for Kobe’s die-hard fans, the loss has been especially life-changing for Vanessa, financially and emotionally. She is having to contend with life as a single mother, and as well, manage the late basketball icon’s finances, which has seen significant changes since his death.
She Is Getting A Lot of Help With Her Children
Vanessa Laine Bryant became Kobe’s wife in 2001. The two met while she was a high school student, and within 6 months, after they began dating, he proposed to her. They later tied the knot against the will of Bryant’s parents at St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church California.
She was 17 when their relationship began, and they were together for almost two decades. During this time, the couple faced every major milestone together, especially on the domestic front. The birth of their four children – Natalia Diamante Bryant (born on January 19, 2003), Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant (born on May 1, 2006), and Bianka Bella Bryant (born on December 5, 2016).
They also dealt with a miscarriage in 2005 and an infidelity/sexual assault allegation in 2011. So, having gone through so much together, it was understandable that Kobe left a massive void after his death. Thankfully, Vanessa has had a lot of help from friends and family picking up the pieces. But none more so publicly than Pau Gasol, Kobe’s former teammate.
Considered Kobe’s favorite teammate of all time, Pau Gasol had a close relationship with Kobe on and off the court. Their friendship extended beyond the court, and he was a close family friend of the Bryant family. Since Kobe Bryant passed, he has been supportive of his wife; for instance, in April 2020, he and his wife sent flowers in honor of Vanessa and Kobe’s anniversary.
Pau Gasol spending time with Kobe's daughters is so heartwarming.
(via vanessabryant/Instagram) pic.twitter.com/bzuOjx0vjQ
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 7, 2020
On May 2, 2020, Pau and his wife sent Vanessa cake for what would have been Gigi’s 14th birthday. Known as Uncle Pau in the Bryant household, he has been spending time with her daughters, providing support, and being a father figure to the family.
Kobe Bryant’s Wife Has Gotten Significantly Richer
Kobe Bryant, before his death, was one of the richest basketball players in the world. He earned $680 million in career earnings, with more than $320 million coming from his playing salary alone. An additional $350 million came from endorsement deals with top brands like Nike, Sony, Mercedes-Benz, Nintendo, and McDonald’s.
He expanded on his astronomical income with businesses like the venture capital fund, Bryant Stibel, co-founded with Jeff Stibel. All of this gave the Lakers icon a net worth of $600 million at the time of his death.
Following Kobe Bryant’s passing, all of it will be going to his wife, Vanessa. The couple, contrary to marriage trends among most high-profile couples, chose not to sign a prenup. As a result, she is the primary inheritor of the late basketballer’s wealth, bringing her wealth to an estimated $600 million too.
Vanessa Filed a Lawsuit Against Island Express Helicopters
In June 2020, Kobe Bryant’s wife took further steps as custodian of Kobe’s estate to sue Island Express Helicopters, for the wrongful death of her husband. As part of the suit, she established herself as the ‘successor in interest,’ giving her the right to sue the company for Kobe and their daughter.
Vanessa, in the suit, claims the pilot and the company had a duty to make better choices given who was inside the helicopter. She is seeking multiple kinds of damages, including economic and punitive damages. Vanessa is, however, not asking for a specific amount, but she did claim the death of her husband has cost the family hundreds of millions of dollars in future earnings.
If she wins the lawsuit, Vanessa and the rest of the Bryant family are likely to be awarded several million dollars in damages, expanding her net worth.
Kobe Bryant’s Wife Continues To Honor His Legacy
One amazing thing Vanessa Bryant has been doing since her husband passed away is honoring his legacy at every opportunity. She was present during the memorial of the late basketball icon in February 2020, which saw celebrities, athletes, and fans gather to celebrate the passing of the legend.
More than just being present at organized events in honor of her last husband, she has okayed the publishing of his first young adult book, Geese Are Never Swans. The book was created by Kobe and written by the psychologist, Eva Clark. Vanessa announced the release of the book on July 21, 2020. The book focuses on Gus, a young male swimmer who dreams of making it to the Olympics. He hopes to accomplish what his late brother, Danny, couldn’t after he committed suicide following his inability to make the national team.
The book is targeted at young people, especially young athletes, on the importance of mental health and how sports can help them overcome major life setbacks. The subject of mental health is one that is particularly critical to Vanessa, who has had to make some strong decisions since her husband passed.
Aside from the book, she has used his memory to speak against racial injustice in the United States. She shared a photo of Kobe in a black ‘I Can’t Breathe’ T-shirt in May 2020 in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. She reminded the world of her late husband’s commitment to racial equality and fair justice and the brevity and unpredictability of life. Kobe wore the shit in 2014 in support of Eric Garner.
She Blocked Her Husband and Daughter’s Fan Accounts on Instagram
One of the disappointing things about loss is how it turns moments and memories that were once a source of joy into fountains of pain. Kobe Bryant’s wife joined the long list of people with this experience when she decided to block her husband and daughter’s fan accounts on Instagram.
While Vanessa is one of the biggest supporters of their legacy, especially her daughter’s, constant exposure to the moments and memories was making it difficult for the family to heal. She released a statement in June stating she and the rest of the family would be blocking said accounts, to aid their healing process. In addition to blocking the fan pages, she has also set her Instagram page to private.