Vanessa Bryant has said losing her daughter Gianna and husband Kobe in a tragic helicopter crash ‘still doesn’t feel real’ one year on.
Heartbroken Vanessa, 38, took to Instagram on Tuesday to reveal she had received a beautifully written letter from one of 13-year-old Gianna’s best friends, Aubrey, and wrote in the caption: ‘My Gigi is INCREDIBLE and I truly appreciate your thoughtful letter.
‘She loves you so much. I miss my baby girl and Kob-Kob so much, too. [heart emoji] I will never understand why/how this tragedy could’ve happened to such beautiful, kind and amazing human beings.
‘It still doesn’t seem real. Kob, we did it right. Gigi, you still make mommy proud. I love you!’
‘It doesn’t seem real: Vanessa Bryant shared a poignant letter from her late daughter Gianna’s friend as she discussed losing her and husband Kobe in crash a year on (Kobe and Gianna pictured in November 2019)
Strength: Vanessa has been keeping Gigi and Kobe’s memory alive with her loving posts as she navigates her way through unbelievable grief
Kob, we did it right: Vanessa captioned the letter post with these moving words
Love: Vanessa posted Aubrey’s letter with permission after she wrote that Gi had changed her life for the better
Sharing the letter on the anniversary of her daughter and husband’s death, Vanessa wrote: ‘Today I received this sweet letter from one of Gianna’s best friends, Aubrey.
‘I love you Aubz (as my Gigi would call you). Thank you so much for beautifully sharing some of your memories of my Gigi with me and allowing me to share them here on my ig.’
In her letter, Aubrey wrote about Vanessa as a mother. She penned: ‘You did it right Mrs. Bryant, and we are all eternally grateful to you.’
She added: ‘My mind constantly thinks of your beautiful daughter. Her smile and attitude push me to be better. You have probably heard this, but if I ever become a mom, I hope my daughter turns out exactly as yours did.’
She also wrote: ‘She cared. She knew when I was having a bad day and knew just how to make it better. She was generous with her snacks when I forgot mine. She left notes in my notebook which I cherish. She was incredible.’
Crash site: NBA legend Kobe Bryant and hist daughter, 13, died in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020
Aubrey also wrote: ‘On behalf of everyone who met her, I can say she changed our lives. Her simple actions made all of us a better person, and I believe the results of this will never stop appearing.’
Her latest post comes a week after Vanessa shared a collection of touching throwback snaps on Tuesday to mark her eldest daughter Natalia’s 18th birthday.
Taking to Instagram, she posted two different pictures of herself with late husband Kobe and Natalia as a young child.
Vanessa also bravely shared her struggle with grief ahead of the one year anniversary of the crash which took place on January 26 in California.
Heartbreaking: Last week, Vanessa shared a collection of touching throwback snaps with late husband Kobe on Tuesday to mark their daughter Natalia’s 18th birthday
‘Daddy’s little princess’: Taking to Instagram, she also posted a sweet snap of Kobe holding a young Natalia in his arms, which she captioned: ‘Daddy’s little princess, Natalia. ❤️ #18 #BirthdayGirl’
In the throwback photos shared on Tuesday, it saw Vanessa and Kobe sweetly pose with Natalia at the Lakers Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, in the early 2000s.
She captioned it with: ‘We love you so much! Happy birthday Natalia!!!! Our first born @nataliabryant.’
While a different touching snap saw Kobe hold a young Natalia in his arms, which Vanessa penned: ‘Daddy’s little princess, Natalia. ❤️ #18 #BirthdayGirl.’
Vanessa also shared a sweet photo of Natalia recently as she commented on how proud she is of her daughter after the ‘most difficult year of our lives’.
She penned: ‘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.
Tragic: It comes after Vanessa bravely shared her struggle with grief ahead of the anniversary of losing Kobe and their other daughter Gianna, who both tragically died in a helicopter crash last year on January 26 in California (pictured together in 2016)
‘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. Thank you for being kind, polite and gracious in everything that you do.
‘You have no idea how happy and proud mommy and daddy are that you’re our daughter. We love you always and forever, forever and always.
‘Happy 18th birthday to our first born, Natalia, our principessa! Love always, Mommy, Daddy, Gigi, BB and Koko❤️.’
Kobe met Vanessa in 1999 when she 17 and was working as a background model on a music video. The couple got engaged six months later and married in 2001.
They welcomed daughters Natalia in 2003, Gianna in 2006, Bianka in 2016 and Capri in 2019.
Kobe and daughter Gianna, a keen basketball player herself, had been on their way to the Mamba Academy for basketball practice when their helicopter crashed at around 10am. The seven other people on board were also tragically killed.
The pilot – named locally as Ara Zobayan – was trying to turn the aircraft when it smashed into hills of Las Virgenes Canyon, which is home to celebrities including the Kardashians.
Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Kerry, and their daughter Alyssa were also among dead.
So sad: Prior to his tragic death, Kobe had called Vanessa his ‘Queen’ and their daughters ‘princesses’ in a touching Instagram post to mark 20 years since they first met in November 2019