Kobe Bryant and Wife Vanessa: Putting on a Brave Face for the Kids?
News broke yesterday that iconic basketball couple Kobe and Vanessa Bryant are headed for splitsville — and with the high-profile legal counsel that Vanessa's brought in, it looks like it could get messy. But for now, the pair are keeping their game face on, if only for the benefit of their two kids, 8-year-old Natalia and 5-year-old Gianna.
TMZ reports that the couple were spotted presenting a united front just a few hours before the announcement of their divorce was made at a Christmas recital for their kids, although a source says that while they sat next to each other throughout the show and departed from the recital in the same vehicle, they didn't appear to be on the same emotional wavelength. "Vanessa was chatting with friends and having a good time," the spy said, "while Kobe spoke to no one and appeared 'somber.'"
Reports have also surfaced indicating that Kobe's fortune may not be as enormous as initially suspected; early estimates put his worth upwards of $400 million, but TMZ now says that it's closer to $150 million. They're also alleging that Kobe has already moved out of the couple's massive Newport Coast, California home, which Vanessa will receive as part of the divorce settlement.
The couple have had a tumultuous partnership extending over a decade, marrying when Kobe was 21 and Vanessa was only 18, and they weathered Kobe's headline-grabbing scandal in 2003, in which an employee at a Colorado hotel where Kobe stayed accused him of sexual assault. Kobe admitted to adultery but said that the encounter was consensual; they settled out of court, while Vanessa stood loyally by her man. (Memorably, he did buy her a $4 million ring amidst all the turmoil.) But reports indicate that Kobe has been unfaithful yet again, and Vanessa's "finally had enough."
The couple's publicist has released a statement on their behalf, saying "The Bryants have resolved all issues incident to their divorce privately with the assistance of counsel and a Judgment dissolving their marital status will be entered in 2012. We ask that in the interest of our young children and in light of the upcoming holiday season the public respect our privacy during this most difficult time."