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Heartbreaking

Vanessa Bryant reveals in a deposition how she learned about the death of Gianna and Kobe Bryant

Vanessa appeared in a Zoom video conference to testify on the morning of the helicopter crash

Vanessa Bryant is reliving the heartbreaking moment she learned about the death of daughter Gianna and husband, Kobe Bryant. In a deposition for a lawsuit filed against Los Angeles County on October 12, 2021, Vanessa appeared in a Zoom video conference to testify on the morning of the helicopter crash.


According to the transcript, filed in court on Friday, October 22, and obtained by E! News, Vanessa said that around 11:30 a.m., their family assistant knocked on their door and informed her that there was an accident.

Vanessa said that immediately she tried calling Kobe, but he never answered. In the deposition, she also revealed that soon after, she called her mother to ask her to “spot me with the littles.”

Vanessa Bryant and her kids, Natalia, Bianka and Capri©@nataliabryant

“As soon as I was on the phone with my mom, I was holding onto my phone because obviously, I was trying to call my husband back,” Vanessa said. “And all these notifications started popping up on my phone, saying ‘RIP Kobe. RIP Kobe. RIP Kobe,’” the publication informed.

Vanessa, who shares Bianca, Capri, Gianna (deceased), and Natalia with the late NBA superstar, said she picked up her eldest daughter from an ACT prep class. According to the papers, authorities refused to share information with Vanessa over the phone. They asked her to drive to a specific police station in Malibu because it was the closest to the crash site.

Vanessa asked her assistant to drop her off at the local airport to avoid traffic and the over an hour-long drive. Once she was there, she attempted to catch a helicopter fly, but one of the owners refused due to the bad weather conditions.

BASKET-NBA-BRYANT-MEMORIAL©GettyImages
Kobe Bryant’s wife Vanessa Bryant arrives to speak during the “Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant” service at Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles on February 24, 2020.

As reported by E! News, Vanessa informed that Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka later drove her and Natalia to the Malibu police station. After arriving around 1:30 p.m., they met with Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who finally explained what had happened.

Vanessa tried to protect the victims and told Sheriff Villanueva that she feared people would take pictures of the human remains. “If you can‘t bring my husband and baby back, please make sure no one takes photographs of them. Please secure the area,” she said according to the filed papers.

Kobe Bryant Killed In Helicopter Crash In Calabasas Hills©GettyImages
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva speaks at a news conference on the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of NBA great Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, 13, and seven others.

Vanessa said the sheriff later told her, “All is good. The area is secure. There’s an umbrella over the area.”

In May 2020, four months after the deadly accident, Vanessa sued the Los Angeles County Sheriff‘s Department and other agencies after allegedly first responders took and shared unauthorized photos of the human remains. As reported by E! News, the county’s lawyers said the images “were not publicly disseminated.”

“The county does not condone this showing of accident site photographs and has taken corrective personnel actions accordingly. That does not mean, however, that plaintiff has viable legal claims,” the lawyers informed. “The two seminal cases involve public dissemination of pictures of human remains, and that did not occur here. The photographs were not given to the media and were not posted on the internet. They were not publicly disseminated.”


The papers also revealed that the Los Angeles County attorney asked Vanessa to look at some graphic images and messages, arguing that others besides sheriff‘s deputies had caused her emotional distress. According to E! News, the deposition transcript said Vanessa put her hand in front of the camera and refused to take a look.

BASKET-NBA-BRYANT-DEATH©GettyImages
People gather around a makeshift memorial for late basketball legend Kobe Bryant at the Staples center in Los Angeles on January 26, 2020, a few hours after the announcement of his death in a helicopter crash.

Vanessa later said that although she has not seen any photos of her husband and daughter’s remains, she has the clothes that Kobe and Gianna wore during the helicopter. “I had to recover all their items because I know people are sick and would like to take pictures of them and share them,” she said.

“They suffered a lot,” she added. “And if their clothes represent the condition of their bodies, I cannot imagine how someone could be callous and have no regard for them or our friends, and just share the images as if they were animals on a street.”


Kobe Bryant’s widow also said that it is “up to the jury” if she receives monetary compensation for the damages.

The 39-year-old former model and philanthropist continued by explaining what emotional distress means to her. “Emotional distress means that not only do I have to grieve the loss of my husband and child, but for the rest of my life, I‘m going to have to fear that those photographs of my husband and child will be leaked,” she responded. “No one should ever have to endure this type of pain and fear of their family members. The pictures getting released, this is not okay,” she added, asking for accountability.


Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. According to TMZ Sports, smoke was seen from the aircraft amid foggy conditions before crashing into a hillside. The publication also reported that they were heading to basketball practice at Mamba Academy nearby Thousand Oaks.

The former Los Angeles Laker’s player retired in 2016 and is survived by Vanessa and their three other daughters Natalia, 18, Bianka, 4, and Capri, 2.

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