On April 18, 2001, Kobe Bryant and Vanessa exchanged vows and became husband and wife. This marked the beginning of a marriage that would last until Bryant and eight others died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26. Now Vanessa is celebrating their wedding anniversary alone with posts on Instagram.
Vanessa posted a photo on Saturday morning that showed her and Bryant together. The photo appeared to be taken early in their relationship. Vanessa was sitting on her husband's lap while he kissed her on the cheek. The photo was viewed as heartwarming by many fans of the couple, but there were several others that dealt with a variety of emotions. They found the image to be sweet but simultaneously heartbreaking due to Bryant's death.
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"My king, my heart, my best friend. Happy 19th wedding anniversary baby. I miss you so much. I wish you were here to hold me in your arms. I love you," Vanessa wrote in the caption of the post. She was immediately met with a multitude of comments about being "soulmates" with the late NBA icon.
There have been many questions over the years about how Bryant and Vanessa originally met. Many fans know that the former Lakers star's parents did not approve of the marriage and did not attend the wedding. However, some of the other details have been under-the-radar. One such example is that the couple actually met on the set of a music video back in 1999, which was detailed during a Showtime 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. I would finish a take and go to my trailer but I would wonder where she was the entire time," Bryant said. "Then I would come out of the trailer and just wanted to talk to her some more, in between takes and stuff like that.
"She was just beautiful. We literally did everything together. Everything together. And I thought I was a big dork because I loved Disneyland," Bryant continued. "I loved the Disney movies and things like that, but I never really had a chance to go to the park much. She was a big Disney fan, too, and we used to hang out as Disneyland, we used to go to Magic Mountain, she became my best friend."
Bryant and Vanessa got engaged when she turned 18, tied the knot in 2001 and had four daughters together prior to his death. Following his retirement in 2016, Bryant was able to spend more time with his family, which Vanessa mentioned in a previous Instagram post. He was dedicated to his loved ones but was only able to enjoy fewer than four years of post-NBA life with them.