When it came to his beloved wife, Kobe Bryant channeled one famous love story for their own.
On Monday, Vanessa Bryant took the microphone and spoke at a public memorial held for her late husband, who tragically died last month in a helicopter crash with their 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant, and seven others.
Addressing the packed Staples Center and people watching around the world, the mother of four, who had been married to the basketball legend for nearly two decades before his untimely death, spoke of Kobe and their enduring love, detailing the great efforts he had made as “truly the romantic one in our relationship.”
“[He] looked forward to Valentine’s Day and our anniversaries every year. He planned special anniversary trips and a special traditional gift for every year of our marriage. He even handmade my most treasured gifts. He just thought outside the box and was so thoughtful even while working hard to be the best athlete,” she shared.
“He gifted me the actual notebook and the blue dress Rachel McAdams wore in The Notebook movie. When I asked him why he chose the blue dress, he said it was because it’s the scene when Ali comes back to Noah,” Vanessa explained, referencing scenes of the 2004 film, in which McAdams’ Allie returns to Noah, played by Ryan Gosling, having made the choice to stay with him despite their different backgrounds and instead of marrying a wealthier man.
“We had hoped to grow old together like the movie. We really had an amazing love story. We loved each other with our whole beings, two perfectly imperfect people making a beautiful family and raising our sweet and amazing girls,” she said.
Back in 2013, Vanessa posted about the gift on Instagram, writing, “One of my favorite Valentine’s day gifts from my husband was the blue dress, shoes and THE notebook from the Notebook Movie he gave me years ago. (The notebook is a prop but it still has sentimental value).” However, she had not elaborated on the story behind the gift. A month before the post, the couple announced they had called off their 2011 divorce filing and reconciled.
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As for costume designer Karyn Wagner, who was behind the blue garment for the film, the mention brought her to tears.
“I had zero idea. When I was finished with the movie, I put the dress in a box and it went into storage,” she told The Hollywood Reporter of not knowing the dress’ star-studded whereabouts. As for Vanessa’s words, “I started bawling,” she told THR. “I’m still drying the tears off my face. What a beautiful eulogy. I’m so honored that I was able to contribute in some small way to the history of this amazing man.”
To honor Kobe and Gianna’s legacy, the Mamba and Mambacita Foundation provides opportunities to young people through sports. For more information or to donate, please click here.