Kobe Bryant's widow, Vanessa Bryant, is not ready to be an empty nester. The single mom-of-four cried while dropping off her eldest daughter, Natalia Bryant, at the University of Southern California.
The 39-year-old homemaker posted a smiling selfie with Natalia, 18, and her youngest daughters, 4-year-old Bianka and 2-year-old Capri.
But Vanessa's heart was breaking behind her big smile. "Today was rough. This was before the tears came down," she captioned the photo.
Frank Micelotta/Getty Images
She added a message to her late husband, Kobe, and their daughter, Gianna, who tragically died with him in a helicopter crash last year.
"Missing [two fingers] forever. I love you @nataliabryant BE EPIC and FIGHT ON. [heart emojis]."
Natalia responded to her mom in the comments, writing, "I love you!!!"
Vanessa limited the comments under the post. But her VIP followers showed their support for Vanessa and Natalia.
Gabriel Union wrote: "We will all be [eyeball emojis] with @nataliabryant in LA #FamilyOverEverything."
Fashion blogger Yvette Mandell wrote: "Wishing Natalia a wonderful year!! So exciting but so hard for mama I know."
And lifestyle blogger Lyndi Kennedy wrote: "I can't imagine, I'm so sorry pretty mama!!!! U and the girls are always in my prayers!!!!!!"
Kobe Bryant's eldest daughter Natalia Bryant, 18, attended her second prom of the season wearing a Dolce & Gabbana gown.
The $4,695 Dolce & Gabbana gown was a gift from the designer. The teenager shared a photo of her prom night with her 2.6 million followers on her Instagram Story. She captioned the image: "Thank you so much for this lovely dress @dolcegabbana."
Natalia signed with IMG Models in February. Earlier this month, Natalia shared a photo from her first senior prom, which prevented her from attending her dad's induction ceremony into the NBA Hall Of Fame.
Natalia's mom Vanessa Bryant wrote:
"When I was a senior in high school, Kobe and I were engaged and he had a playoff game the night of my prom. Kobe didn't want me going to prom without him and I didn't want to go without him.
"When we heard Natalia's prom night and Kobe's Hall of Fame night were on the same night, I looked at Natalia and said, 'Well if it's any consolation, daddy kept me from going to my prom, so it's only right that he tried to keep you from going to yours."
Kobe and Vanessa met when he was 21 and she was 17 and still in high school. They became engaged a short time later.
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Proud mom Vanessa Bryant is celebrating her daughter Natalia Bryant getting accepted into the University of Southern California (USC) on Tuesday.
The 18-year-old is seen jumping up and down in a video shared on her mom's Instagram page.
In the video, Natalia, wearing a USC top, shouts: "I got in!"
'Nessa captioned the clip:
"Tears of joy. I'm SO happy for you Nani! I know daddy is so PROUD OF YOU. I am so PROUD OF YOU!! Your hard work and dedication was so worth it. You pushed through the most excruciating pain imaginable and you succeeded. I wish Daddy and Gigi were physically here to celebrate but I know they’re here in spirit. We love you so much! #USC #Trojan #FightOn."
Natalia is one of NBA legend Kobe Bryant's four daughters. The former Lakers star and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, tragically died in a helicopter crash in January 2020.
Vanessa Bryant was left behind to raise their minor children, Bianka, 4, and 20-month-old Capri, by herself.
She said Kobe and Gianna inspire her to keep going every day.
"I guess the best way to describe it is that Kobe and Gigi motivate me to keep going," she said previously. "They inspire me to try harder and be better every day. Their love is unconditional and they motivate me in so many different ways."
Vanessa Bryant celebrated her daughter Natalia's 18th birthday by posting throwback pics of her first-born child and her late husband, Kobe Bryant.
She called Natalia "a beautiful role model to so many people."
"Dear Natalia, Happy Birthday! Mommy and Daddy are so proud of the young lady that you are. You have displayed so much strength and grace throughout the most difficult year of our lives. Thank you for stepping in to help me with your little sisters. You're such an incredible big sister and a beautiful role model to so many people."
She captioned one photo of infant Natalia with her father, "Daddy's little princess, Natalia."
Kobe, 41, and the couple's 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among nine people tragically killed in a fiery helicopter crash last January. Kobe and Vanessa, 38, were also parents to daughters Bianka, 4, and Capri, 19 months.
Since Kobe's death, Vanessa, who is normally private, has shared her life with Kobe's fans on social media.
Vanessa Bryant and her eldest daughter Natalia (left) have been forced to block fan pages on Instagram because they remind them too much of her late husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna "Gigi" Bryant.
Vanessa and Natalia have been blocking accounts because they are tired of logging in and "constantly see pics of our beloved Gigi and Kobe".
Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images
The NBA icon and his and Vanessa's 13-year-old daughter Gigi were killed in a helicopter crash in January, and Vanessa and Natalia continue to struggle to come to terms with the devastating tragedy.
Particularly disturbing to the family are the many fan pages that post hundreds of photos of Kobe and Gianna on Instagram daily.
Poto by BACKGRID
Vanessa thanked fans for their love and support in the wake of Kobe and Gianna's deaths, but she and 17-year-old Natalia are tired of logging in and seeing constant reminders of their loss on their social media pages.
"Thx so much for all the (love)," she wrote on Instagram over the weekend. "@nataliabryant and I have unfortunately had to block fan pages because it’s been really hard to go online and constantly see pics of our beloved Gigi and Kobe under every single square of our explore pages."
She added: "Blocking the fan pages has helped change the algorithm. We (love) you all but please understand that we had to do this for our own healing not because we don’t appreciate your (love)."