Vanessa Bryant, left, holds the hand of her husband, L.A. Lakers star Kobe Bryant, in this 2003 photo during which Kobe speaks to reporters about the rape allegations levied against him by a young woman from Colorafo whom Kobe admitted he slept with during a rehab stint in Vail. Vanessa forgave Kobe for adultery, but eight years later she has now filed for divorce.
ORANGE, Calif. — Kobe Bryant's wife, Vanessa, filed for divorce on Friday from the Los Angeles Lakers star, citing irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split from her husband of more than 10 years.
She signed the papers on Dec. 1 and Kobe Bryant filed his response on Dec. 7.
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 filing, Vanessa Bryant asked for joint legal and physical custody of the couple's two daughters, Natalia, 8, and Gianna, 5. Kobe Bryant asked for the same in his response.
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."
Bryant met his future wife in 1999 on a music video shoot when Vanessa Laine was 18 years old. Six months later, she and the then-21-year-old Bryant became engaged. They married on April 18, 2001.
The couple have been through trying times together.
When Kobe Bryant was charged with sexual assault in 2003, she appeared at a news conference, holding his hand and stroking it tenderly as the NBA star admitted he was guilty of adultery — but nothing else. Earlier, she had issued her own statement to the media, vowing to stand by her husband.
"I know that my husband has made a mistake — the mistake of adultery," she said in the statement at the time. "He and I will have to deal with that within our marriage, and we will do so. He is not a criminal."
The case against Kobe Bryant was later dismissed.
Last year, Kobe and Vanessa Bryant settled litigation with a former maid who accused the NBA star's wife of harassment. The Bryants countersued Maria Jimenez for violating a confidentiality agreement by talking to reporters about the family.