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In His Own Words: When Kobe Bryant Knew He Wanted to Date Wife Vanessa

Years before his shocking death, the late Kobe Bryant opened up on the first time he met wife Vanessa Bryant.

In his 2015 documentary “Kobe Bryant’s Muse,” the Lakers legend reflected on their first meeting on the set of a music video in 1999. He said, “For those that don’t know, yes, I had a budding music career as a rapper. It didn’t last long, but I did make a video. On the video set is where I first met Vanessa.”

Vanessa was one of the girls cast in his music video. He said, “It was a two-day video shoot, and I was always looking for her, like, I wanted to know where she was. I would finish a take and go to my trailer but I would wonder where she was the entire time. Then I would come out of the trailer and just wanted to talk to her some more, in-between takes and stuff like that.”

Before they wrapped production on the video, which was never released, Kobe asked for Vanessa’s number, and they eventually started dating.

He gushed, “She was just beautiful. We literally did everything together. Everything together. And I thought I was a big dork because I loved Disneyland. I loved the Disney movies and things like that, but I never really had a chance to go to the park much. She was a big Disney fan, too, and we used to hang out as Disneyland, we used to go to Magic Mountain. She became my best friend.”

Bryant also explained why he never got close to anyone before Vanessa came into the picture. He said, “For me, it was very different to have somebody that I was so close to, because I had been so used to growing up in isolation, really. Moving around from place to place, making new friends all the time, so I never really opened up to anybody because I knew I was just going to inevitably move."

Kobe would pop the question to Vanessa after six months together. They tied the knot in April 2001. He revealed, “But now, being in Los Angeles and feeling like I’m going to be a Laker for the rest of my life, I just met this beautiful woman that I just see the world the same way with. We’d wake up and do what kids do. I’d take her to the batting cage, go hit some balls, we’d play miniature golf, go to the movies, go out to eat. It was just a beautiful time, man.”

Kobe and Vanessa welcomed their first child, Natalia, in 2003. Three years later, Vanessa gave birth to their second daughter, Gianna, who also lost her life with Kobe in a helicopter crash a week ago.

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 two of their 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."