Not only did Vanessa Bryant lose her "soulmate" Kobe Bryant, she is also mourning the death of their daughter Gianna, 13, after both perished, along with seven others, in a helicopter crash Sunday morning.
A source close to the Bryants told People magazine, “It’s an extremely difficult and devastating time for Vanessa and the whole family.”
Another insider added, “She can hardly keep it together. She can’t finish a sentence without crying. But she is working very hard to pull it together for the other girls. She now has to be the strong one.”
The second source emphasized, “Of course, you can never be prepared for this. Despite their ups and downs, [Vanessa and Kobe] were soulmates. She thought of him as her partner for life.”
Vanessa has not spoken publicly about Kobe and Gianna’s deaths.
Kobe and Vanessa tied the knot in 2001 after meeting on a music video set in 1999. Last year, he celebrated their first meeting, writing on Instagram, “On this day 20 years ago I met my best friend, my Queen @vanessabryant I decided to take her on a date to Disneyland tonight to celebrate old school style (pre 4princesses) I love you my mamacita per sempre.”
While Kobe was known for flying in helicopters, the couple reportedly made a pact that took into consideration the possibility of an accident. A family friend revealed to People, “He and Vanessa had a deal that they would never fly on a helicopter together.”
In 2018, Kobe explained his reason for using helicopters as a mode of transportation, telling Alex Rodriguez, “Traffic started getting really, really bad. And I was sitting in traffic and I wound up missing, like, a school play, because I was sitting in traffic… I had to figure out a way where I could still train and focus on the craft, but still not compromise family time.”
He went on, "So that’s when I looked into helicopters, to be able to get down and back in 15 minutes, and that’s when it started… You have, like, road trips and times where you don’t see your kids… So every chance I get to see them, to spend time with them, even if it’s 20 minutes in the car..."
Over the past few years, “Extra” caught up with Vanessa and Kobe, who enjoyed date nights at star-studded events like the Oscars and the Tribeca Film Festival.
Joined by Vanessa and their two daughters Natalia and Gianna at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2017, Kobe shared of his family, “We get to spend a lot of time together, do a lot of fun things."