It doesn't seem like it's been more than a year since the tragic helicopter accident that killed NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gigi and seven other passengers. In a year that held innumerable losses, the collective grief that settled onto the world on January 26, 2020, will never be forgotten. Though we all mourned the man we came to know as a bright-eyed and supremely confident 18-year-old basketball superstar, his family, wife Vanessa, and daughters Natalia, Bianka, and Capri lost something they'll never get back. Their lives forever changed, and one can't even begin to fathom how they've been able to move forward. After years of being the backbone of the Bryant team, Vanessa is stepping out into the spotlight to keep both Kobe and Gigi's legacies alive. In this week's People Magazine's "Women Changing the World" issue, Mrs. Bryant is opening up about how she's made it through in spite of her devastating loss.
"This pain is unimaginable [but] you just have to get up and push forward," she says. "Lying in bed crying isn't going to change the fact that my family will never be the same again. 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."
Along with fighting to have the sheriffs who released photos of the victims to the press held accountable, Vanessa has taken over duties at Kobe's multimedia company. She is spearheading the completion of projects he was working on at the time of his heartbreaking passing. Recently, the 38-year-old relaunched Kobe's charitable non-profit as Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, a nod to the father-daughter duo, to help empower young girls and provide equal opportunities to underserved athletes. Though she remains focused on raising their daughters and furthering the late star's endeavors, Vanessa is honest about how hard it has been.
"I can't say that I'm strong every day," she tells People. "I can't say that there aren't days when I feel like I can't survive to the next."