Vanessa Bryant, the widow to late NBA player Kobe Bryant, revealed on October 12 that she learned of her husband and daughter’s tragic death through social media posts.
According to CNN, Vanessa admitted the detail as part of her testimony in an ongoing lawsuit against LA County. She said she found out as messages that read “RIP Kobe” flooded social media.
Vanessa said that notifications began to come in before she received a formal confirmation from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office on January 26, 2020.
The mother of two said she was trying to reach her husband and daughter Gianna but couldn’t get past the alerts.
“I was holding onto my phone,” she said, “because obviously, I was trying to call my husband back, and all these notifications started popping up on my phone, saying, ‘RIP Kobe. RIP Kobe. RIP Kobe’.”
Vanessa filed a lawsuit against the sheriff’s department, the Los Angeles fire department, and Los Angeles County about how the organizations’ employees discussed sensitive details of the helicopter accident responsible for the death of Kobe, their 13-year-old daughter, and seven others.
Her complaint states that first responders and other officials part of the crash site investigation took photos of what were thought to be Kobe and Gianna’s bodies.
“I don’t think it’s fair that I’m here today having to fight for accountability,” reads a transcript of Bryant’s deposition, which was filed on October 22. “Because no one should ever have to endure this type of pain and fear of their family members. The pictures getting released, this is not okay.”
The photos she discussed had either been sent to her directly or made available to her online and were presented as evidence by her attorney. During the deposition, defense attorney Louis Miller asked Byant to review the photos several times, making for some palpable tension.
“I don’t want to look at this,” Vanessa said, “This is terrible.”
Vanessa also said that she had specifically asked the department to stop anyone from taking photos of the bodies, and her wishes were not obliged.