Vanessa Bryant was forced to recount details about the moment she learned of the tragic deaths of her husband Kobe Bryant and her 13-year-old daughter Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant as part of a lawsuit she filed against Los Angeles County. The pair, along with seven others, died when their helicopter crashed near Los Angeles, California on January 26. 2020.
Bryant said she was informed of the accident by a family assistant around 11:30 am that day, the New York Times reports, but it was several more hours before she learned that her husband and daughter had died.
“She told me that there was an accident and that there were five survivors,” Bryant stated in a deposition on Zoom. “And I asked her if Gianna and Kobe were okay. And she said she wasn't sure. She didn't know.”
The mother of four figured Kobe and Gigi were among the living and proceeded to call the former Los Angeles Lakers superstar until she saw notifications online reading “R.I.P. Kobe. R.I.P. Kobe.”
Bryant rushed to get to the crash site, and was denied a helicopter ride due to unsafe weather conditions. She was then driven nearly two hours to the Malibu Sheriff’s station, where Los Angeles County sheriff Alex Villanueva and a pastor met her and informed her that Kobe and Gianna were among the casualties. Bryant says she immediately instructed Villanueva to lock down the crash site so no photos could be taken or leaked of her loved ones. According to Bryant’s lawsuit against the county, several employees violated the rules and shared photos of remains.
“My life will never be the same without my husband and daughter,” Bryant said during her testimony.
The widow reportedly wants to punish the deputy defendants and "make an example of them to the community."
L.A. County seems to be vigorously fighting the lawsuit, and decided to subject Bryant to a psychiatric evaluation to determine the extent of her emotional distress. The defendants have also subpoenaed records from many of Bryant’s famous friends, including Ciara, Monica and La La Anthony.