Vanessa Bryant Says Kobe, Gigi 'Motivate Me to Keep Going' in 'People' Interview

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2021

FILE - In the Sunday, March 4, 2018, file photo, Vanessa Laine Bryant, left, and Kobe Bryant arrive at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Vanessa Bryant says she is focused on “finding the light in darkness” in an emotional story in People magazine. She details how she attempts to push forward after her husband, Kobe Bryant, and daughter Gigi died in a helicopter crash in early 2020. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
Richard Shotwell/Associated Press

More than a year after their deaths, Vanessa Bryant reflected on the continued impact of husband Kobe and daughter Gianna on her life in an interview published Wednesday.

Bryant told People's Elizabeth Leonard she "can't say that I'm strong every day" but that remembering Kobe and Gigi provides a continued source of encouragement.

"I guess the best way to describe it is that Kobe and Gigi motivate me to keep going," she said. "They inspire me to try harder and be better every day. Their love is unconditional and they motivate me in so many different ways."

Kobe, Gianna and six others were traveling to a Mamba Sports Academy game on Jan. 27, 2020, when the helicopter in which they were riding crashed in Calabasas, California. All eight passengers and the pilot were killed.

"This pain is unimaginable [but] you just have to get up and push forward," Vanessa said. "Lying in bed crying isn't going to change the fact that my family will never be the same again. But getting out of bed and pushing forward is going to make the day better for my girls and for me. So that's what I do."

Bryant added her three daughters, Natalia, Bianka and Capri, have helped her get through the ordeal as well.

In February 2020, Bryant filed a wrongful death suit against Island Express Helicopters, alleging the company and pilot Ara George Zobayan authorized the helicopter flight in what were unsafe conditions.

Upon investigating the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board determined Zobayan "pushed the limits of bad weather flying rules" and became disoriented when he attempted to fly the helicopter above the cloud cover. The NTSB ruled the crash was preventable.