Vanessa Bryant 'Trying To Pull It Together' Following Kobe And Gianna's Death
As the world mourns the loss of basketball great Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, Kobe's wife Vanessa is reportedly struggling to comprehend her devastating losses.
While she's yet to publically address the tragic event, PEOPLE has revealed that Vanessa, 37, has been left understandably "devastated" by the death of her husband and daughter, but is trying to stay strong for her other children, Natalia, 17, Bianka, three, and seven-month-old Capri.
“It’s an extremely difficult and devastating time for Vanessa and the whole family,” a friend of the family told PEOPLE.
Another insider added, “She can hardly keep it together. She can’t finish a sentence without crying. But she is working very hard to pull it together for the other girls. She now has to be the strong one.”
“Of course, you can never be prepared for this. Despite their ups and downs, [Vanessa and Kobe] were soulmates. She thought of him as her partner for life,” they added of the pair, who were married for nearly 20 years.
It comes following reports that Vanessa and Kobe reportedly “had a deal that they would never fly on a helicopter together,” according to a source who spoke to PEOPLE on Monday.
The couple first met on the set of a music video, where a then 17-year-old Vanessa was working part-time as a model. The pair then became engaged once Vanessa turned 18, and were married in April 2001.
Just two months prior to his tragic death, Kobe posted a sweet tribute to his partner over Instagram, who he met back in 1999.
Uploading a snap from their very first date he wrote, “On this day 20 years ago I met my best friend, my Queen @vanessabryant I decided to take her on a date to Disneyland tonight to celebrate old school style (pre 4princesses) I love you my mamacita per sempre.”
Basketball icon Kobe and his rising basketball star daughter Gianna -- along with seven other people including the pilot, Gianna’s teammates, and their parents -- died in the January 26 crash in Calabasas, California. The group was on their way to a basketball game at Bryant’s Mamba Academy.