I couldn’t be more disappointed in how the media is handling the divorce between Vanessa and Kobe Bryant. Painting Vanessa Bryant as a gold digger is the most simple-minded and unfair way to choose to understand the situation. Nobody is talking about the fact that Kobe has spent the last decade violating his marriages vows and defiling their marriage. To top it all off, Kobe was accused of rape just months after the birth of their first child. Instead of thinking that Vanessa wanted her child to be raised in a two-parent household and that she hoped she could repair her relationship with her high school sweetheart, everyone assumed that she stayed with Kobe because of the $4 million ring he gave her. Kobe has an established habit of using gifts as a sign of affection. In fact, this habit is what caused Vanessa’s high school to ask that she complete her senior year from home because all of Kobe’s gifts were becoming a distraction from the school environment. That she saw the ring as a sign of his love and his remorse does not mean that the price of the ring was a major factor in her decision to stay.
Despite the public humiliation of the rape allegation, Vanessa stuck by Kobe and gave their relationship another chance. And yet, knowing that he had almost destroyed his marriage, Kobe chose to continue cheating. He continued to disregard his commitment to his wife and his family. And he did all this knowing he did not have a prenuptial agreement with Vanessa. When he decided to go get some booty from someone other than his wife, he knew that he was risking his marriage and his family. And he decided that marital infidelity was worth $75 million. He made his bed, and now he has to lay in it.
Furthermore, everyone keeps saying that Vanessa is taking half of HIS money. But the law is very clear that the money made within the context of marriage is THEIR money, not his. Let’s not discount the fact that Vanessa has been raising two kids basically alone while Kobe was out cheating on her. And Kobe, like many famous athletes, benefits tremendously from having housewives back home who hold down their households for them.
Beyond all that, has anyone stopped to think about the self esteem issues that could be related to why a woman would choose to stay with a man who clearly has no respect for her or his commitment to her? Kobe met and married Vanessa while she was still in high school, and he was 21 years old. His interest in her in the first place could be questioned. Imagine waking up one day 21 years old with a newborn baby and the man you have dedicated your life to was just accused of raping another woman. This after you’d been trying to convince yourself that maybe he wasn’t cheating on you, maybe he really did love you, and that of course, he would never risk everything yall had together.
Don’t get me wrong, I get the need to “protect” famous black men from unnecessary public ridicule. Black men often get undeserved negative attention. But the black community’s willingness to go to bat for someone has to come with some sense of accountability on the part of those who we choose to protect. Kobe Bryant made a vow of fidelity in 1999, broke that vow repeatedly from 1999-2003, renewed his promise to Vanessa in 2003, and then proceeded to break that vow over and over and over and over and over again. No woman should have to deal with that type of disrespect and arrogance. Period. Kobe knew what he was risking and decided to take that risk anyways. Vanessa should take every penny the law says she deserves.[Faith2Hope2Love]