Squabbles with Shaquille O'Neal. Rape allegations. Tension with former Lakers coach Phil Jackson. Talks of getting traded. Possibly being overshadowed by Chris Paul as the star of Los Angeles. And, to put the icing on the cake-a divorce.
It seems like that despite the international stardom and millions of dollars, even the most famous and fortunate of us go through a cycle of struggles that leaves us wanting things to just get back to normal. However, we always don't get what we want in life, and we especially won't get what we want if we continue to repeat the same mistake over and over.
That looks to be the case with iconic Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who was divorced by his wife of 10-and-a-half years, Vanessa Bryant, on Friday after she cited irreconcilable differences in their relationship. The main irreconcilable difference, TMZ reported, centered on fidelity, Vanessa saying that Kobe cheated yet again.
It hasn't been confirmed by anyone yet-including Kobe himself-that Kobe has repeated the same mistake he admitted to eight years ago. However, it's not out of the realm of possibility. Plenty of stars encounter female fans-groupies if you will-that can be too enticing at times given the circumstances. We don't know what those circumstances were for Kobe, if the cheating is true, but it's safe to bet something was up if a divorce of this magnitude is taking place.
She's been dealing with these incidents for a long time and has been a faithful wife, but she's finally had enough, said a source to TMZ about Vanessa. This one is the straw that broke the camel's back.
The keyword in that quote is incidents, which could means that Kobe may have cheated multiple times ever since the 2003 fiasco. TMZ also reported that Kobe even expressed the age-old sign of a guilty man, desperately wanting to win Vanessa back and willing to do whatever it takes to save the marriage. Again, nothing has been confirmed besides an actual divorce yet, but one has to read in between the lines and wonder.
Here's what we can confirm, though, via the divorce documents that have been displayed by various media reports:
- Vanessa is asking for joint custody of her and Kobe's two daughters, 8-year-old Natalia and 5-year-old Gianna.
- Vanessa is asking that Kobe get visitation rights.
- According to the Los Angeles Times, Vanessa Bryant's mother, Sofia Urbieta Laine, said that her daughter and Kobe didn't sign a prenuptial agreement, which means, now, that Vanessa is entitled to half of Kobe Bryant's fortune, almost $360 million to be exact, according to CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell.
- TMZ reported that Vanessa Bryant is also asking for spousal support and that Kobe Bryant has said he will pay it to her.
The L.A. Times reports that the final judgment in the divorce case is expected sometime next year in Orange County Superior Court. By then, considering that the divorce may be the breaking point of Kobe's career-or his life for that matter-expect Kobe to be in a state of mental and emotional flux.
If anything, the shortened 66-game season will be more of a bane than a blessing. It will also take a mental and emotional toll on Kobe, but physically as well. The 33-year-old is only getting older and is declining in basketball production. And, the Los Angeles Clippers having newly-acquired superstar Chris Paul won't be helping Kobe's popularity soar anytime soon.
Meanwhile, by all accounts, Vanessa, who is 29, is younger and has more to gain from the divorce, not just money. Or, should I say Kobe has more to lose. Many of us don't know Vanessa's detailed past either, but we do know that being with Kobe generated much of her fame. Dating and marrying a celebrity comes with risks, which translates into being in the spotlight for both good and bad reasons. The same way Kobe admitted to a mistake back in 2003, Vanessa can admit to her own mistake, not of being with Bryant and bearing his children, but rather, taking the circumstances and risks of being with a high-profile husband for granted.