Kobe Bryant lived in Newport Beach in Orange County, California, with his wife, Vanessa, and their daughters, Gianna, Natalia, Bianka and Capri. In the wake of Kobe and Gianna’s deaths on January 26, their family home has become a shrine for fans of the late Los Angeles Laker and his daughter.
On the night of the crash, a candlelight vigil at Newport Beach Community Park was attended by hundreds. The Orange County Register quoted Newport Beach City Councilwoman Joy Brenner as saying of the tragedy, “It’s really a Newport family story. It was bad enough when we first heard about Kobe but then it just kept getting worse. It just shakes us all to our core when this happens to extraordinarily good people. It makes us doubt the world as being fair. Kobe, he wasn’t just a celebrity, he was a loving, kind member of the community,” she said. “I remember watching him with his kids — you couldn’t ask for a better dad. He was just kindness personified.”
While a resident of the Newport Beach area told the Daily News that she would regularly see Bryant at Starbucks and would always say, “Hello.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. When Bryant & His Wife, Vanessa, Were Reported to be Divorcing, Vanessa Was Expected to Get the Couple’s Real Estate Portfolio as Part of the Settlement
At one time, Bryant owned three homes in the Newport Beach area. In 2012, his portfolio’s value estimated to be $18.8 million. The New York Post reported in January 2012 that one of the homes owned by Bryant, in Pelican Ridge, is occupied by his wife’s mother. That article came amid numerous tabloid reports that Bryant was due to divorce his wife. The Pelican Ridge home was registered solely in Bryant’s wife’s name, the Post said.
TMZ reported in 2012 that if the divorce went through, Vanessa Bryant would have been given the home where the family lived in addition to half of the couple’s assets, valued at the time at $150 million. A Zillow blog post said that Bryant had transferred three of his Orange County homes into his wife’s name. The gossip site said that the reason for the divorce was because of Bryant’s alleged “philandering.” The Bryants reconciled in 2012. During their separation, Newport Beach Patch reported that Bryant lived in the South Villas of the Pelican Hill resort in Newport Beach, close to his family’s home.
A 2017 Deadspin feature on Bryant said that Vanessa Bryant moved in with her future husband following her high school graduation. Prior to that, Bryant had lived with his parents, who moved out when his future-wife moved in.
2. Bryant Sold One of His Homes in 2015 for a Local Record Price; it Included a Shark Tank
In 2015, Bryant sold one of his three homes for $6.1 million. At the time, Beam Real Estate said that this home was “the highest price ever registered in the area.” The previous record in the area was $4.78 million, according to Reports on Housing. The home was listed originally at just over $8 million in August 2013. The house is 8,741 square feet and is located in the Pelican Ridge neighborhood. Bryant originally purchased the home in 2001. Famously, that home included a shark-tank, in addition to a hair salon and an 850 square foot gym. The listing included the words, “All remodeling was done by the current owners.”
Prior to the sale, Bryant had been living in the home. Following the sale, Bryant moved to a 14,500 square foot home in Pelican Crest, a gated community which is located close-by. The family had purchased that home in 2008 for $9.45 million. It includes six bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, a pool and a five-car garage. The Orange County Register reported in 2011 that the original owner of the home was Robert T. Pelinka, Bryant’s agent.
In January 2013, Bryant and his wife sold a home in the area for $3.2. million.
3. Kobe Bryant Is Being Remembered by His Neighbors as a ‘Regular Guy’
Orange County Weekly reported in April 2016 that a sighting of Bryant was normal around Newport Beach and the surrounding areas. The owners of El Camino Real, a restaurant frequented by Bryant and his family, told OC Weekly that the superstar would wait in line with everybody else when they showed up for dinner. The owners added, “He usually lets people know that he likes to enjoy his time with his family when he’s eating, but he’ll take pictures and give autographs when he’s done.”
A Los Angeles Times feature on Bryant’s life away from the public eye in his neighborhood echoed those statements and referred to him as a “regular guy.”
4. In 2001, Bryant & Vanessa Backed Out of Buying a Home That Featured a Replica Pirate Ship
In 2001, Bryant and his wife backed out of the purchase of a $13.5 million home in Coto de Caza in Orange County while the deal was in escrow. The Los Angeles Times reported that the home was back on the market for $10.9 million. Bryant said at the time that he backed out of the deal because of “business” and “privacy” issues. The LA Times report on the home says, “Grounds resembling those of a theme park feature meandering pathways leading to attractions such as a lookout tower, an entertainer’s pavilion and a private lake.” The home includes a replica pirate ship on the premises.
In 2015, Kobe bought office space worth $5.8 million in Newport Beach. Those premises became the headquarters of Kobe Inc and Kobe Studios. Bryant told the Orange County Register at the time, “What my passion is now is creating the story. Creating the story and finding the best possible way, the medium which that story can live.”
5. Bryant Bought His First Home in Southern California in 1999
Bryant bought his first home in Southern California in February 1999 when he purchased a tennis court estate in Pacific Palisades. Bryant sold that home in 2008 for $9.8 million. Bryant owned another property close to that home but sold that in 2002 for $1.5 million, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Around the time of Bryant’s 2016 retirement, Curbed published a map showing all of the late superstar’s homes in Southern California.
Famously, during his playing career, Bryant began taking a helicopter from his home in Newport Beach to the Staples Center for games. Bryant said that the decision was motivated by health reasons, saying his body was kept fresher by not sitting in traffic. GQ Magazine said in a 2010 feature, “But sexy as it might seem, Bryant says the helicopter is just another tool for maintaining his body. It’s no different than his weights or his whirlpool tubs or his custom-made Nikes. Given his broken finger, his fragile knees, his sore back and achy feet, not to mention his chronic agita, Bryant can’t sit in a car for two hours.”