When it comes to Kobe Bryant's wife Vanessa Bryant, we know some of the basics: That she stayed with him after his sexual assault trial, forgiving him for his “mistake of adultery,” and that she was reportedly getting half of his estimated $150 million, having signed no pre-nup when the couple married 10 years ago, plus three houses, on top of getting to keep the $4 million 8-carat diamond ring Kobe gave her after the trial ended.
But what do you really know about the Latina beauty, who has largely kept out of the limelight? Now that Kobe and Vanessa have called off their divorce, we figured it was the perfect time to learn about Vanessa...Here are 10 things you never knew about Vanessa Bryant!
Her birth name is…
Vanessa Cornejo Ubrieta. She was born in Huntington Beach, California, to Mexican parents, and later took her stepfather Stephen Laine’s last name.
She was still in high school when she met Kobe...
Vanessa was filming a music video as an extra when Kobe happened to be in the same building. Sparks flew and she was so inundated by paparazzi while trying to attend Marina High School that she had to finish high school via independent study. When they married, she was 19, he 22.
Kobe’s parents didn’t want him to marry her.
The reason? The couple were too young when they got hitched—with no pre-nuptial agreement—in 2001, they said, so they didn’t attend the wedding. But las malas lenguas say mom and pop reportedly didn’t like that she wasn’t African American.
Kobe got his first tattoo in her honor.
It’s a crown with her name and two angel wings (symbols for the couple’s daughters, Natalia Diamante and Gianna Maria-Onore) underneath as well as the inscription “Psalm XVII.”
She knows the pain of losing a baby.
In the Spring of 2005, Vanessa suffered a miscarriage due to an ectopic pregnancy (the potentially dangerous condition that occurs when the egg is fertilized outside the uterus).
She once wore a “Do I Look Illegal?” shirt to a Lakers game.
It was a rare public display for the usually private Mexican American.
She was once sued by a maid.
In her lawsuit, Maria Jimenez claimed that after just two weeks of employment, Vanessa "badgered, harassed and humiliated'' her in a recurring pattern, did not provide her with health insurance when she had to have an ovarian cyst removed and did not pay her overtime. She quit when she mistakenly put a $690 blouse in the washing machine and Vanessa allegedly demanded that she put her hand in a bag of dog doo-doo to retrieve the price tag. The Bryants counter-sued and then both parties dropped their suits when the Bryants paid Jimenez $200,000 to go away.
She once accused a married basketball player of making a pass at her.
Kobe told teammate Karl Malone to stay away from Vanessa after she said the Mail Man flirted inappropriately with her. Kobe’s agent told reporters that Malone had asked her to “come sit by him and give him a hug” at a basketball game and asked if she liked him. She later asked him why he was wearing a cowboy hat, to which he allegedly replied: “I'm hunting for young Mexican girls.” Vanessa told his wife, Kay, and Kobe issued his warning. Malone did not return for a second season with the Lakers.
She reportedly hates fellow Laker wife Khloe Kardashian
InTouch Weekly quoted “an insider” as saying in 2010: “She won’t sit anywhere near Khloé at Lakers games. At a dinner for the wives, Vanessa didn’t want to invite Khloé. She said Khloé is a ‘fake wife,’ and she didn’t want fake wives there.”
She reportedly put Kobe on lockdown
At the NBA-All Star party in February, female cocktail waitresses were kept out of Kobe’s VIP area at the request of Vanessa, who mixed his drinks for him at the table.