December 16, 2011
On Friday afternoon, we noted that Kobe Bryant's basketball career is in a state of flux with the Clippers surging to win over fans in Los Angeles. Now it appears as if he has more important personal problems to worry about.
According to TMZ.com, Kobe's wife Vanessa has filed for divorce:
Vanessa Bryant filed legal docs Friday afternoon, citing "irreconcilable differences."
Sources connected with the couple tell 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." And our sources say ... Kobe "desperately" wants to win Vanessa back and will do "whatever it takes" to save their 10 1/2 year marriage.
According to the legal docs, Vanessa is asking for joint custody of their 2 daughters -- 8-year-old Natalia and 5-year-old Giana -- but Vanessa is asking that Kobe get visitation rights, which means she wants the kids in her care most of the time.
According to the Associated Press, the Bryants released a joint statement saying they "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."
The couple also "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."
Kobe Bryant did not speak to reporters after the Lakers' Friday scrimmage at USC.
You can check out the official paperwork here if you require verification. TMZ also says the couple has no prenup, which means she is entitled to half his net worth. Intrepid CNBC sports business reporter estimates Bryant to be worth $360 million, so we could be looking at a lengthy, complicated process.
I don't want to speculate too much about the effect of divorce proceedings on Kobe, but the Lakers certainly don't need any more hassles right now if they want to compete for a championship this season. With a new coach, a new system, some key personnel losses, and now this divorce, things keep getting messier at Staples Center.
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