Vanessa Bryant, the wife of late Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, broke her social media silence on Wednesday, three days after Kobe and their 13-year old daughter, Gianna, were killled in a helicopter crash along with the pilot and six other passengers. Vanessa switched her Instagram profile from private to public, turned off the comments and changed the profile photo to an image of Kobe and Gianna hugging each other.
The new change led to an emotional response on PopCulture.com's official Facebook page, where users and fans sent their love to the widow.
"God bless her and the three kids," one person wrote, while another echoed the sentiment, " God be with you and your family."
"Beautiful picture sending my prayers to you and your family," another person wrote.
"So beautiful!" a third person added. "God be with her and their children!"
There were more Facebook users to comment with heart and folding hands emoji's. There were additional users that also just wrote "Beautiful Picture" or "God Bless."
Vanessa and Bryant married in 2001 after they first met on the set of a music video in 1999. At the time, Vanessa was 17 and Kobe was 21. The couple had four girls including Gianna during their marriage: Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.
"Vanessa is completely shocked and heartbroken but is trying to stay as strong as she can in front of her children," an insider tells Entertainment Tonight. "Vanessa married Kobe when she was 18 and never expected to live her life without him, and that is going to take time."
The insider continued, "She has been surrounded by her family and friends but she feels almost numb to everything. She is thankful for the outpouring of love her and her family has received and will respond when she's ready. Right now she's taking time to be with her girls."
Bryant started his NBA career in 1996 and was a member of the Lakers until 2016. He helped the team win five NBA championships, he won the MVP award in 2008 and he was named to the All-Star Team 18 times.
Gianna was looking to follow in Kobe's footsteps as she was hoping to play college basketball at the University of Connecticut. The team honored Gianna shortly after her death by displaying a Huskies jersey with the number 2, which was Gianna's number at Kobe's Mamba Academy.