Vanessa Bryant took to Instagram this past Sunday and shared lovely photos of her and her late husband Kobe. “Happy Anniversary, baby. I love you. 20 years,” she wrote underneath a photo from their wedding day that displays the couple lip-locked and and in a passionate embrace.
Vanessa Laine was 17 years old when she met her hubby Kobe in 1999, on the set of the music video for Tha Eastsidaz’s “G’d Up.” Bryant was three years her senior and in his third year with the Los Angeles Lakers, who themselves were on the way to winning the first of three consecutive NBA championships.
Despite one very publicized hiccup in the marriage, Kobe had always been open about his love for Vanessa throughout their union. “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,” he said in the Gotham Chopra documentary Kobe Bryant’s Muse. “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… 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.”
Last year, Vanessa posted a clip of an old Kobe interview with MTV News, sharing what made her the one for him. This year, she followed up her marital pics with a snippet of her husband further expressing his admiration for her. “We have a good time together,” Kobe is shown saying of his wife. “I love her tremendously. We’re best friends too. It’s a blessing.”
Pau Gasol, Kobe’s former Lakers teammate, and Pau’s wife Catherine McDonnell also sent Vanessa an impressive arrangement of roses as a show of affection and in celebration of the milestone as well. Vanessa went on IG stories to thank the couple and their daughter Ellie Gianna, who is also Vanessa’s goddaughter. McDonnell later reshared the message of appreciation from Vanessa and captioned the photo, “Happy Anniversary to two incredible soulmates + 20 years of true love. We love you, V+KB.”