Vanessa Bryant took center stage during the Celebration of Life memorial for her late husband, Kobe Bryant, at the Staples Center on Monday. She delivered an emotional eulogy and shared stories that touched the hearts of all those both in attendance and watching from afar. One of her tales shined a light on the romantic that her husband was, and caught the attention of those listening.
She explained how Bryant was the "romantic one in the relationship." As a result, he was the one who would plan surprise anniversary trips and heartfelt gifts. One of those, she shared, was the blue dress worn by Rachel McAdams in The Notebook.
Karyn Wagner was the one who designed that famous dress, and upon hearing the story, was stunned to learn that it was Kobe who had been in possession of the outfit.
"I started bawling," Wagner told The Hollywood Reporter. "I'm still drying the tears off my face. What a beautiful eulogy. I'm so honored that I was able to contribute in some small way to the history of this amazing man."
Wagner added that she had no idea Bryant picked up the dress, noting that when filming was done she put it in storage and that was the last she had seen of it. She is unaware how he obtained it, but surmised he probably had a connection with someone at the studio.
During her message, Vanessa told the crowd about how the former Los Angeles Lakers star surprised her with the gift on one of their anniversaries.
"When I asked him why he chose the blue dress, he said it was because it was the scene when Allie comes back to Noah. We had hoped to grow old together like the movie," she explained.
aww Vanessa Bryant talking about how Kobe gave her THE blue dress from the Notebook that Rachel McAdams wore for Valenetines Day years ago because "that's the dress that Allie wore when she went back to Noah" 😭😭😭 so romantic #FarewellKobe #RIPKobe #KobeBryant #TheNotebook pic.twitter.com/S9Vtg2z4Rv— bombasticl0ve (@bombasticl0ve) February 24, 2020
Approximately 20,000 were in attendance at the public memorial service.
Beyonce opened the event with her performances of "Halo" and "XO." Alicia Keys and Christina Aguilera also took the stage. Notable speakers included Michael Jordan, who visibly broke down during his message, and Shaquille O'Neal, who kept it more light-hearted and shared a funny story.