January 30, 2020
In the days following her husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna "Gigi" Bryant’s death, Vanessa Bryant is said to be "completely shocked" and numb to everything around her.
The world all over felt the pain of losing Kobe and Gigi, but no pain can be worse than that being experienced by their family members at this time. The Bryants' world was turned upside down on Sunday.
Kobe Bryant & Vanessa Bryant at the 90th Annual Academy Awards Governors Ball on March 4, 2018 in California | Photo: Getty Images
In the aftermath, just before Vanessa broke her silence, a source close to the Bryant family told ET that she was still in shock over the loss of her husband and teenage daughter in one helicopter crash.
The source also reportedly claimed Kobe insisted on only flying helicopters with his trusted pilot Ara Zobayan
"Vanessa is completely shocked and heartbroken but is trying to stay as strong as she can in front of her children," the source said. "Vanessa married Kobe when she was 18 and never expected to live her life without him, and that is going to take time."
Kobe Bryant poses with his family after both his #8 and #24 Los Angeles Lakers jerseys are retired at Staples Center on Dec. 18, 2017 in California | Photo: Getty Images
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."
Vanessa and Kobe, who tied the knot in 2001, shared four daughters – Natalia, 17, Gigi, 13, Bianka, three, and seven-month-old Capri. With Gigi gone, Vanessa is left with the task of raising their three surviving daughters without Kobe.
On January 26, Kobe, 41, Gigi, and seven other passengers lost their lives after the NBA star’s helicopter crashed hillside in Calabasas, California. They were headed to a basketball game at his Mamba Sports Academy when tragedy struck.
WHY KOBE USED HELICOPTERS
In a 2018 podcast with Alex Rodriguez, Kobe had explained that his decision to fly helicopters came about after Los Angeles traffic caused him to miss family functions like his daughters’ school plays.
"I had to figure out a way where I could still train and focus on the craft but still not compromise family time," the Los Angeles Lakers legend said at the time. "So, that’s when I looked into helicopters."
A SAFETY PLAN
According to PEOPLE, however, a source revealed Kobe never really took anything for granted and had a deal with Vanessa that they would never fly on a helicopter together.
The source also reportedly claimed Kobe insisted on only flying helicopters with his trusted pilot Ara Zobayan. Sadly, Ara was in charge when the aircraft crashed on Sunday morning and was one of the nine that lost their lives.
On Wednesday, Vanessa finally made her Instagram account public and updated her profile picture with a poignant snapshot of Kobe and Gigi sharing a hug. The 37-year-old, however, disabled comments on all her posts.
According to HuffPost, Vanessa’s new profile picture was taken during the 2016 NBA All-Star Game in Toronto. Gigi, a rising basketball star before her death, warmed up with Kobe and looked adorable in an oversized Bryant jersey.
Moments after changing her profile picture, Vanessa released her first public statement since Sunday. The heartbroken mom confirmed that their family was "completely devastated" by the loss of Kobe and Gigi, calling them "beautiful blessings taken from us too soon."
"I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them," she added. "But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way."