Kobe Bryant’s wife, Vanessa Bryant (née Laine), met the famous athlete while she was working as a background model on the set of a 2002 music video, according to People. From there, their courtship was followed by an engagement, a low-key wedding, and three children — Natalia, Gianna, and Bianka Bryant. Kobe and Vanessa also have a fourth daughter on the way, as of January 2019.

While Kobe’s high-profile career means his face is plastered on countless television screens and magazine covers, Vanessa rarely gives interviews. What we do know is that she has been deemed an ice queen by sports fans for the deathly stare she gave Kobe as he fessed up to committing adultery when he was charged with sexual assault in December 2003. But one characteristic people fail to celebrate is her intense loyalty and her dedication as a wife and mother.

From struggling to receive her in-laws’ blessings to the top-notch treatment she received at the Lakers’ arena, here’s the untold truth of Kobe Bryant’s wife.

She sent her high school into a tailspin

As a senior at Marina High School, news that Vanessa Bryant was dating one of the Lakers’ star players sent shockwaves through the campus. According to the Los Angeles Times, a television helicopter was seen flying over the school in an attempt to capture images of the then-high school student and her A-list beau. It was also reported that Vanessa skipped out on her prom and had to finish her education through homeschooling “because of the notoriety,” her grandfather Robert Laine told the newspaper.

In a quest to gather up more information on the brunette teen who had captured Kobe’s heart, The Times even went as far as to interview some of her classmates back in May 2000, including a student named Graham Finochio who said the buzz around campus was that Kobe was sending “flowers and stuff” to some “chick.” 

Some chatter from harmless teens was nothing. Once Vanessa and Kobe decided to get married, that’s when their lives really got flipped upside down.