Vanessa Bryant is speaking out on her husband Kobe Bryant's death and their daughter Gianna in her first interview since the helicopter crash in January 2020. She spoke to PEOPLE about losing Kobe and Gianna and said it's hard to stay strong every day. However, Vanessa knows she has to keep moving forward for her family.
"This pain is unimaginable [but] you just have to get up and push forward," she says. "Lying in bed crying isn't going to change the fact that my family will never be the same again. But getting out of bed and pushing forward is going to make the day better for my girls and for me. So that's what I do." Vanessa also noted she gets inspiration from Kobe and Gianna whenever she is feeling down.
"I guess the best way to describe it is that Kobe and Gigi motivate me to keep going," she stated. "They inspire me to try harder and be better every day. Their love is unconditional and they motivate me in so many different ways." Vanessa is featured in PEOPLE's Women Changing the World issue. In the past year, Vanessa re-launched Kobe's charitable non-profit as Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, empowering young girls and providing equal opportunities to underserved athletes. She also took charge of creative projects left at Granity Studios.
Over the past 14 months, Vanessa has been staying connected with fans through Instagram. Ahead of Kobe and Gianna's death's first anniversary, Vanessa posted a statement on her Instagram account that was addressed to the media who have been and would be covering the tragic event.
"I want to thank everyone that has handled their media coverage respectfully," Vanessa wrote in the caption of her post. "[heart emoji] To everyone else, please reconsider your 'news story' and look at your footage through the eyes of their children, parents, spouse, siblings and family. Celebrate their lives, not the day they lost them." Kobe was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers from 1996-2016 and led the team to five NBA Championships. Additionally, Bryant was an 18-time All-Star and was named All-Star MVP four times. Gianna was a basketball player and was an honorary WNBA Draft pick last year.