One week after Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers were denied a trade that would have landed superstar point guard Chris Paul, Kobe received more bad news.
Vanessa Bryant filed for divorce Friday in the Orange County Superior Court, citing irreconcilable differences, and will get the sprawling Newport Coast estate as part of the divorce settlement already struck by the couple. Her estranged husband bought the home in 2001, the year the couple married. His current living arrangements are unknown.
Vanessa Bryant signed the papers on Dec. 1. Kobe Bryant signed his response on Dec. 7 and it was filed Friday, according to the documents.
The filing of the documents comes more than eight years after Vanessa Bryant stuck by the basketball icon when he was accused of sexually assaulting a Colorado woman. The case was dropped when his accuser refused to testify, but the former league MVP admitted being unfaithful to his wife and settled a civil suit filed by the woman.
Unnamed sources told celebrity news website TMZ that Vanessa Bryant was filing for divorce because she believed her husband had been unfaithful again.
"She’s been dealing with these incidents for a long time and has been a faithful wife, but she’s finally had enough," one source said. "This one is the straw that broke the camel’s back."
A representative for the couple released a statement saying, ”The Bryants have resolved all issues incident to their divorce privately with the assistance of counsel and a Judgment dissolving their marital status will be entered in 2012.”
Also in the statement, the Bryants ”ask that in the interest of our young children and in light of the upcoming holiday season the public respect our privacy during this difficult time.”
In the filing, Vanessa Bryant asked for joint legal and physical custody of the couple’s two daughters, Natalia, 8, and Gianna, 5. Kobe Bryant asked for the same in his response. Vanessa Bryant also requested spousal support. Kobe Bryant has earned roughly $200 million — not including endorsements — during his 15-year career with the Lakers, but may have to give up half of his assets as part of a divorce settlement, as the couple is not believed to have signed a prenuptial agreement, TMZ reported.
Bryant met his future wife in 1999 on a music video shoot when Vanessa Laine was 18 years old. Six months later, she and the then-21-year-old Bryant became engaged. They married on April 18, 2001 after Bryant had turned 22.
When Kobe Bryant was charged with sexual assault in 2003, she appeared at a news conference, holding his hand and stroking it tenderly as the NBA star admitted he was guilty of adultery — but nothing else. Earlier, she had issued her own statement to the media, vowing to stand by her husband.
”I know that my husband has made a mistake — the mistake of adultery,” she said in the statement at the time. ”He and I will have to deal with that within our marriage, and we will do so. He is not a criminal.”
The case against Kobe Bryant was later dismissed.
Last year, Kobe and Vanessa Bryant settled litigation with a former maid who accused the NBA star’s wife of harassment. The Bryants countersued Maria Jimenez for violating a confidentiality agreement by talking to reporters about the family.
The Associated Press and NewsCore contributed to this report.