Vanessa Bryant wished her late husband, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, a Happy Valentine’s Day on Tuesday with a cute photo and video from their long marriage.
First, Vanessa shared a sweet throwback photo of the couple, writing, “Happy Valentine’s Day Boo-Boo @kobebryant,” with a heart emoji. “Forever & Always.”
Vanessa’s heartfelt tribute also included an Instagram Reel, originally edited by a Kobe fan account, which shows the late NBA star talking about love.
“I think I would describe love as happiness,” Bryant said in the video. He went on to explain, “I think I’d describe it as a beautiful journey.
It has its ups and downs, whether it’s in a marriage, whether it’s in a career. Things are never perfect, but through love, you continue to persevere.”
The voiceover of Kobe’s thoughtful words for his wife was accompanied by a montage of photos and videos of the couple.
Kobe continued in the video: “I think love is a certain determination. A persistence to go through the good times and the bad times with someone or something that you truly love.
“The couple was married for two decades after first meeting on the set of a music video in 1999 when Kobe was 20 and Vanessa was 17. They married on April 18, 2001, in Dana Point, California, and welcomed their first child, Natalia, in 2003, followed by Gianna in 2006.
Following Kobe’s retirement from the NBA after 20 seasons, which he announced via a poem on The Players’ Tribune on Nov. 29, 2015, he and Vanessa welcomed two more daughters: Bianka in 2016 and Capri in 2019.
It’s been three years since the helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, that killed Kobe, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others: John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan. The group was on their way to a youth basketball game.
At the time of his death, Kobe was four years into his retirement from the NBA and had positioned himself at the helm of prominent business interests including his basketball camp,
the Mamba Sports Academy, and his multimedia agency, Granity Studios, which produced the 2018 Academy Award-winning animated short film Dear Basketball and several New York Times best-selling novels.
After winning five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe is still regularly ranked as one of the best basketball players of all time, alongside other greats like Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
Since his death, Vanessa has shared many tributes to her husband and daughter, including an Instagram post in August remembering him on what would have been his 44th birthday. She also spoke at a public memorial for him and Gianna on Feb. 24, 2020, nearly a month after their deaths.
“She had the best laugh,” Vanessa said of Gianna at the celebration of life. “It was infectious, it was pure and genuine. Kobe and Gianna naturally gravitated toward each other. ”
Vanessa paid tribute to her husband’s love of fatherhood, saying, “Kobe was the MVP of girl dads, or MVD. He never left the toilet seat up. He always told the girls how beautiful and smart they are. He taught them how to be brave.”
“We loved each other with our whole beings,” she continued, “two perfectly imperfect people making a beautiful family and raising our sweet and amazing girls.”
Two weeks before the one-year anniversary of the crash, Vanessa opened up on Instagram about dealing with grief.
“One day you’re in the moment laughing and the next day you don’t feel like being alive,” she wrote. “I want to say this for people struggling with grief and heartbreaking loss. Find your reason to live. I know it’s hard.”
“Death is guaranteed but living the rest of the day isn’t,” Vanessa added. “Find your reason.”
Following his death, Vanessa took up leadership of Granity Studios, her late husband’s multi-media company, and relaunched the charitable non-profit Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation in dedication to the father-daughter duo, which helps empower young girls and provide equal opportunities to underserved athletes.
Two years ago, Vanessa also accepted Kobe’s posthumous Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame honor as part of the 2020 class.
“There will never be anyone like Kobe. Kobe was one of a kind. He was special, he was humble off the court but bigger than life,” she said in her 12-minute speech at the event.
“To all of our close friends and family that have been present for my girls and I, thank you,” she added.
“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’re all coming through for his girls.”