R&B star Brandy had a close relationship with former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, and is still in mourning, five months after his tragic death. The helicopter crash that took his life and the lives of eight others in January "shook her faith," Brandy, who was famously Bryant's high school prom date in 1996, said in a new interview with Entertainment Tonight.
"It's unbelievable. I can't believe it, and honestly I would have to say that shook my faith," Brandy, whose full name is Brandy Norwood, told ET while self-quarantining at her home during the coronavirus pandemic. "That moment really shook my faith. It just stopped me dead in my tracks. I just cannot understand it. I don't understand it. I'll never understand it till this day."
On Jan. 26, Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant were on their way to the Mamba Sports Academy with seven other passengers at the time of the crash. All eight passengers and the pilot, Ara Zobayan, died when the helicopter crashed into the hills in Calabasas, California. Following his death, Brandy shared a message on Instagram to Bryant's widow, Vanessa Bryant, writing, "Never will I understand. My condolences to [Vanessa], and all families who are in pain during this tragic time."
In 1996, Bryant, who was a few weeks away from being drafted to the NBA right out of high school, asked Brandy to be his date to the Lower Merion Township High School prom at the Bellevue Hotel in Philadelphia. Brandy was the bigger star, as she was already on the sitcom Moesha and had released her hit debut album Brandy in 1994. Bryant's classmates knew he had a crush on Brandy, even telling one she was going to be his date. The two met at a Nike All-Star basketball game in Philadelphia a few months before the prom, and they kept in touch.
In the months since Bryant's death at age 41, Vanessa has continued to share heartwarming photos from her life with Bryant. On April 18, she shared a throwback photo with the basketball legend to mark their 19th wedding anniversary. "My king, my heart, my best friend," she wrote. "Happy 19th wedding anniversary baby. I miss you so much. I wish you were here to hold me in your arms. I love you."
As for Brandy, she recently released the song "Baby Mama" with Chance the Rapper. The song is about her "unconditional love" for 17-year-old daughter Sy'rai. "I thought it was a cool way to celebrate mothers out there who are independent, who are strong, who are out there making it on their own for their babies," she told ET. "I just wanted to make a triumphant song."