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Vanessa Bryant Says It Was 'Love at First Sight' with Husband Kobe Bryant When They Met 21 Years Ago

Lindsay Kimble
·2-min read

Vanessa Bryant is honoring her late husband Kobe Bryant on a very special date.

On Friday, a day after her first Thanksgiving holiday without her beloved partner, Vanessa, 38, marked the 21st anniversary of when the pair first met. "Love at first sight 11/27/99 #21," she wrote on Instagram, along with a photo of the couple sharing a loving embrace at Disneyland.

Vanessa and Kobe married two years later in 2001 and they welcomed daughters Natalia, 17, Gianna, 13, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 1.

In January, the Los Angeles Lakers legend, 41, was killed in a helicopter crash alongside their daughter Gianna and seven others — Payton Chester, 13, Sarah Chester, 46, Alyssa Altobelli, 14, Keri Altobelli, 46, John Altobelli, 56, Christina Mauser, 38, and pilot Ara Zobayan, 50.

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Since then, Vanessa has marked many milestones she would have shared with her late husband, including what would have been his 42nd birthday in August.

"To my baby~ Happy birthday. I love you and miss you more than I can ever explain. I wish you and Gigi were here to celebrate YOU! I wish I could make you your fav food or a birthday cake with my Gigi," the mother of four said on Instagram at the time. "I miss your big hugs, your kisses, your smile, your loud ass deep laugh. I miss teasing you, making you laugh and bursting your bubble. I miss you sitting on my lap like my big baby that you are. I think about your tenderness and patience all the time. I think about everything you would do in situations to help me deal with everything thrown my way."

She continued, "Thank you for growing up with me and teaching me how to be strong. How to try to see the best in people but cutout the bs. Your thoughtful gestures and the amazing way you made us all feel is extremely missed. I picture your smile and wide big welcoming hugs daily."

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Gianna was following in her father's footsteps as a basketball player at the Mamba Sports Academy before their deaths. Kobe, nearly four years out from his retirement from the NBA in 2016, had been her coach.

Continued Vanessa in her lengthy birthday tribute, "There's so much I wish I could tell you and show you and Gigi. So many things you would both be happy to see and be a part of."