By Amy Taxin
ABOVE PHOTO: Vanessa and Kobe Bryant.
ORANGE, Calif. — Kobe Bryant’s wife, who stood by her husband when he was charged with sexual assault in 2003, filed for divorce on Friday from the Los Angeles Lakers star, citing irreconcilable differences after a decade of marriage.
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 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,” according to a statement from a representative for the couple.
According to sources who spoke to TMZ … Vanessa — who stuck by Kobe after he was charged with sexually assaulting a Colorado woman in 2003 — decided to end the marriage because she believes Kobe has been unfaithful … again.
As one source puts it, “She’s been dealing with these incidents for a long time and has been a faithful wife, but she’s finally had enough,” adding, “This one is the straw that broke the camel’s back.” 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.
TMZ also learned the couple has no prenup, so 29-year-old Vanessa is entitled to half of the empire Kobe built over the last decade.
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,” according to the statement.
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.
The Bryants have been through trying times together.
Vanessa Bryant appeared at a news conference with her husband when he was charged with sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman who worked at the exclusive Lodge & Spa at Cordillera near Vail, Colo., in 2003. She held his hand and stroked 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.”
A year later, prosecutors dropped the criminal charge against Kobe Bryant because the woman did not want to go ahead with a trial.
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.