For fans, Kobe Bryant is a champion, hall of fame athlete and all-around GOAT. But for Vanessa Bryant, the NBA player is simply a husband and girl dad. On Aug. 23, sports enthusiasts paid tribute to the former Los Angeles Laker on what would have been his 43rd birthday. At the same time, others couldn’t help but wonder how Kobe’s family is coping nearly 22 months after the basketball star and his daughter Gianna lost their lives in a helicopter crash along with seven other individuals.
According to a source, Vanessa is still healing while focusing on her three other children. “She is not dating anybody and likely won’t for a long time. Kobe was her one and only,” an insider exclusively shared with E! News. “For now, to protect her mental health and well-being, she’s just been trying to lay low as much as she can.” According to our source, Vanessa gets invited to tons of celebrity events, but usually opts out because “she just wants to stay low key for now.”
Another source added, “Vanessa’s main focus is always the girls.” That mindset can be seen on her Instagram page as she tries to create happy memories with Natalia, 18, Bianka, 4 and Capri, 2. Whether enjoying trips to the Disneyland Resort or private getaways to Mexico with loyal friends like Ciara and Lala Anthony, Vanessa tries to live life to the fullest.
Some days, however, are easier than others. On Aug. 19, Vanessa helped Natalia start a new chapter of her life at the University of Southern California. “Today was rough. (This was before the tears came down),” she shared on Instagram. “I love you @nataliabryant BE EPIC and FIGHT ON.” Throughout her grieving process, Vanessa has honored her husband and his legacy by continuing the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation.
She also celebrates his incredible life at special events such as when he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2020. “There will never be anyone like Kobe. Kobe was one-of-a-kind,” Vanessa shared in May. “He was special. He was humble. Off the court. But bigger than life.” She added, “To all of our close friends and family that have been present for my girls and I, thank you.
That list is long and it takes a village, but know that your kindness and love does not go unappreciated. I know that Kobe is thankful that you are all coming through for his girls. We love you all and are forever grateful for you.” To celebrate his birthday, Vanessa shared a throwback photo with a heartfelt message. “Happy birthday, Papi,” Vanessa wrote on Instagram. “Te Amo por siempre. Amor Eterno. 43.”