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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Kaleigh Werner

Vanessa Bryant recalls her first meeting with late husband Kobe Bryant

AFP via Getty Images

Vanessa Bryant has reflected on her first introduction to her late husband, and basketball legend, Kobe Bryant.

In a poignant post published on the 41-year-old’s Instagram on Monday, Vanessa honoured the 24th anniversary of the day she met the former professional athlete. The year was 1999, and the pair had bumped into each other on the set of Kobe’s music video. Vanessa was 17 years old, while Kobe was 21 years old. At the time, the star had been pursuing a career in music, focusing on the arts before eventually becoming one of the greatest NBA players.

“24 years ago…. Day One,” Vanessa wrote in her caption, alongside a photo of her in a pink fishnet tank top hugging Kobe, who was wearing a grey quarter-zip. “#1999 11/27/99.”

Though the mother of four daughters, Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, and Capri, didn’t offer any behind-the-scenes details from the encounter, the Los Angeles Lakers icon had reflected on the moment in his 2015 documentary, Kobe Bryant’s Muse.

“It was a two-day video shoot, and I was always looking for her. Like, I wanted to know where she was,” he said. “I would finish a take and then go to my trailer, but I’d wonder where she is the entire time and then come out of the trailer and just want to talk to her some more in between takes and stuff like that.

“And she wrote her phone number down at the time when you had to still write phone numbers down, and I called her the very next day. We talked for hours.”

Throughout the years, the happy couple continued to celebrate their initial encounter with heartfelt messages.

Kobe and Vanessa were married in 2001, hosting their nuptials in Dana Point, California. It didn’t take long before the loving duo knew they were each other’s forever partner, as they were engaged six months after their romance began.

Speaking on the strength of their marriage in January 2020, just days before his death, Kobe proclaimed it was their “commitment” and “competitiveness of ‘We’re going to succeed’” which drove them.

“We’ve seen couples that have been, like, 85 years old and you look and you’re like: ‘Oh man, such an old, sweet couple,’ and I’d go talk to them because I wanna know …” he said on the YouTube series, Showtime Basketball’s All the Smoke.“One time a guy goes: ‘Yeah it’s great, but she just kicked me out of the bed last night, I was sleeping on the couch last two nights.’”

Shortly after what would be his final interview, Kobe was tragically killed in a helicopter crash. His daughter Gianna and seven others were among those who perished in the accident.

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