Vanessa Bryant has hit back over claims she married NBA mega star Kobe Bryant for the fame and money.
The mother-of-two was responding to a recent interview she gave to New York Magazine, in which she said: ‘I certainly would not want to be married to somebody that can’t win championships.’
Vanessa claims her comments have been taken out of context – and that she married Kobe before he won his first NBA title.
She told TMZ: ‘I’m sad to hear that comments in my New York Magazine interview are being misconstrued and taken out of context. I have and will continue to support my husband’s dreams.’
Vanessa went on: ‘I have been with Kobe for 13 years. I accepted his marriage proposal prior to him winning any of his five championships with his teammates.
‘For anyone to think otherwise is wrong. It is not about being married to a ‘winner’ it is about our sacrifice as a family. ‘
Kobe and Vanessa got engaged in May 2000 – before he went on to win his first championship the next month.
The married the following April in Dana Point, California, when he was 21 and she was 18, and share two daughters, Natalia and Gianna.
The marriage became rocky soon after when Kobe was arrested for a sexual assault on a 19-year-old employee of an Eagle, Colorado hotel.
The case was eventually dropped, but Kobe admitted he did have an adulterous sexual encounter with his accuser.
Vanessa, after reports their marriage was still on the rocks, subsequently filed for divorce last December; but rumours began to swirl the pair had reconciled months after, with Kobe and Vanessa still showing affection in public as late as this past Valentine’s Day, and also attending sporting events together with their girls.
TMZ reported in June Vanessa was having second thoughts, and the couple had been spending a lot of time together in mediation, working out their problems.
A source told the website: ‘We’ve learned Kobe and Vanessa are trying to work out the issues that caused her to file for divorce back in December.
‘They spend a lot of time together but he has not officially moved back in with her,’ a source told the website.
California law gives couples a six-month ‘waiting period’ after divorce proceedings are initiated before it can be finalised.
That means the Bryants’ waiting period expired last month. However, there would be nothing to stop the pair from signing their divorce papers at a later date.
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