It’s hard to imagine what it’s like to openly, vulnerably grieve in the public eye. And yet, that is what Vanessa Bryant has done for the past nearly two years since losing her husband, Kobe Bryant, and the couple’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna in a tragic helicopter crash. Throughout the past year and half, Bryant has been incredibly forthcoming about her journey, celebrating her and Kobe’s three girls — Natalia, 18, Bianka, 4, and Capri, 2 — while keeping her late husband and daughter’s memories alive. Today, she celebrated what would have been Kobe’s 43rd birthday with a truly touching, romantic photo of the longtime couple.
In the photo, a young Vanessa and Kobe shared a loving embrace as the Los Angeles Lakers legend leaned down to give his wife a kiss. The photo was perfectly candid, incredibly sweet, and showed just how in love the two were. The photo essentially spoke for itself, but Vanessa added a caption that was just as emotional. “Happy birthday, Papi. Te Amo por siempre. Amor Eterno,” which loosely translates to “I love you forever. Eternal love.”
After everything she’s endured under the scrutiny of the public eye, it’s amazing to see Vanessa continue to honor her late husband and daughter with such special, meaningful tributes on social media and out in the world. But along with her resilience, we’ve also appreciated Bryant revealing her struggles and being completely honest about her grieving and coping process. “Lying in bed crying isn’t going to change the fact that my family will never be the same again,” Bryant told People in March.
“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.” On this incredibly special day for Bryant and her girls, we’re so happy to see them receiving the love, grace and space that they need to celebrate and uplift one another.
Before you go, click here to see celebrities who fight hard to keep their partners and kids away from paparazzi.