Meet Vanessa Laine Bryant, wife of NBA all-star Kobe Bryant. In November 1999, 21 year old Kobe met 17 year old Vanessa Laine while she was working as a background dancer on the Tha Eastsidaz music video “G’d Up”. Kobe was in the same building working on his debut musical album, which was never released.
Peep the video below of Vanessa as a background dancer in the video G’d Up .
After meeting in the same studio, the two began dating and became engaged just six months later in May 2000, while Vanessa was still a senior at Marina High School in Huntington Beach, California. To avoid media scrutiny, she finished high school through independent study.
Vanessa and Kobe married on April 18, 2001 in Dana Point, California. Neither Kobe’s parents, his two sisters, longtime advisor and agent Arn Tellem, nor his Los Angeles Laker teammates attended. Bryant’s parents were opposed to the marriage for a number of reasons. Reportedly Kobe’s parents had problems with him marrying so young, especially to a woman who was not African-American. This disagreement resulted in an estrangement period of over two years, which ended when Kobe had his first daughter.
The couple’s first child, a daughter named Natalia Diamante Bryant, was born on January 19, 2003. The birth of Natalia influenced Bryant to reconcile his differences with his parents. Vanessa Bryant suffered a miscarriage due to an ectopic pregnancy in the spring of 2005. Their second daughter, Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, was born on May 1, 2006. Gianna was born six minutes ahead of former teammate Shaquille O’Neal’s daughter Me’arah Sanaa, who was born in Florida.
Vanessa Cornejo Urbieta Laine Bryant, born May 5, 1982, is of Mexican and Irish descent. Both of her parents are of Mexican descent. Vanessa was born in Huntington Beach, California. Vanessa’s parents divorced when she was just a baby, after which her father had moved to Baja, Mexico. Vanessa’s mother remarried in 1990 to Stephen Laine. In high school Vanessa legally changed her family name to Laine even though Stephen never adopted her.
Kobe Bryant’s S*xual Assault Case:
In the summer of 2003, the sheriff’s office of Eagle, Colorado arrested Bryant in connection with an investigation of a s*xual assault complaint filed by 19-year old hotel employee Katelyn Faber. Bryant had checked into The Lodge and Spa at Cordillera hotel in Eagle, Colorado in advance of undergoing knee surgery nearby. Faber accused Bryant of raping her in his hotel room the night before Bryant was to have the procedure.
Kobe admitted to the s*xual encounter with his accuser Katelyn Faber, but denied her s*xual assault allegation.
Peep the video below of Kobe speaking publicly about the accusation with Vanessa standing by his side.
The accusation tarnished Kobe’s reputation, as the public’s perception of Bryant plummeted, and his endorsement contracts with McDonald’s and Nutella were terminated. Sales for Bryant’s replica jersey fell significantly.
However, in September 2004 the assault case was dropped by prosecutors after Faber refused to testify in the trial. Afterward, Bryant agreed to apologize to Faber for the incident. Katelyn Faber filed a separate civil lawsuit against Bryant, which the two sides settled with the specific terms of the settlement being undisclosed to the public.