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After 10 years of marriage that included a rape charge against her husband being dropped, Vanessa Bryant has filed for divorce from Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant.|
Vanessa Bryant, 29, filed Friday in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, Calif., citing "irreconciliable differences." She is being represented by celebrity divorce attorney Laura Wasser, who also is representing Maria Shriver in her divorce from Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Bryants have two daughters, Natalia Diamante, 8, and Gianna Maria-Onore, 5.
Vanessa signed the papers Dec. 1 and Kobe Bryant filed his response Dec. 7. Vanessa asked for joint legal and physical custody of the children, as did Kobe.
A representative for the couple released a statement saying, "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."
In the statement, 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."
Kobe Bryant, 33, who has been irritated by the Lakers' lack of acquiring Chris Paul (a deal rejected by the league) and Dwight Howard, is entering his 16th NBA season. According to hoopsworld.com, Bryant will make more than $25 million this season, almost $28 million next season and more than $30 million in 2013-14.
Bryant avoided talking to news reporters after Friday's scrimmage in Los Angeles. Asked about the divorce, Lakers forward Pau Gasol told the Los Angeles Times, "I didn't know anything about it. This is the first time I hear. That's something I wasn't aware of. It's out of my hands."
Bryant met his future wife in 1999 on a music video shoot when Vanessa Laine was 18. Six months later, she and the then-21-year-old Bryant became engaged. They married April 18, 2001.
In 2003, Kobe Bryant was charged in Colorado with allegedly raping a 19-year-old resort employee. Kobe Bryant did a news conference, with his wife beside him, holding his hand and stroking it tenderly. He acknowledged having sex with the woman but said it was consensual.
"I sit here in front of you guys, furious at myself, disgusted at myself for making the mistake of adultery," Bryant said in the news conference in July 2003. "And I love my wife with all my heart."
Earlier, Vanessa had issued her own statement, vowing to stand by her husband.
"I know that my husband has made a mistake — the mistake of adultery," she said in that statement. "He and I will have to deal with that within our marriage, and we will do so. He is not a criminal."
Not long after being charged, Bryant gave his wife an 8-carat purple (for the Lakers' color) diamond ring, estimated to be worth about $4 million.
The criminal case eventually was dropped when the woman decided not to testify; a civil settlement was agreed to out of court.
Last year, the Bryants settled litigation with a former maid who accused Vanessa of harassment. The Bryants countersued Maria Jimenez for violating a confidentiality agreement by talking to news reporters about the family.