When the divorce of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant was announced last week, basketball insiders and family lawyers in Pasadena all wondered how much ex-wife Vanessa stood to gain from the breakup. Since the couple never signed a prenuptial agreement, speculation is high that Vanessa could walk away with millions.
After fifteen years of marriage, Vanessa filed for divorce on December 16th. But according to the Los Angeles Times, the mother of two signed the divorce petition with her attorney on December 1st. In a joint statement, the couple said, "We ask that in the interest of our young children, and in light of the upcoming holiday season, the public respect our privacy during this most difficult time."
The Bryants have a very public history of difficult times. Vanessa stood by Kobe in 2003 when he was accused of raping a woman who worked at a Colorado hotel. The charges were later dropped, but Kobe admitted to extramarital affairs.
"I know that my husband has made a mistake - the mistake of adultery," Vanessa Bryant said in a statement at the time. However, Vanessa remained tight-lipped as more rumors of affairs circulated throughout the duration of their relationship.
Experts estimate that Bryant will be entitled to at least half of Kobe's $150 million dollar net worth. The current number being tossed around in the press is $75 million, but she could bring in even more. Legal experts say she may be entitled to spousal support and even a chunk of Kobe's retirement cash. Forbes puts Kobe's yearly salary around $53 million before taxes and agents fees. Still, the couple is going to great lengths to keep the financial details of their breakup out of the press. Kobe and Vanessa are said to have reached financial agreements and joint custody arrangements before the divorce papers were filed.