Vanessa Bryant is “finding the light in darkness” over a year after her husband Kobe and their 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash.
In a candid interview with People published Wednesday, Vanessa reveals how she copes with the tragedy, which also claimed the lives of seven others.
"I can't say that I'm strong every day," she admitted. "I can't say that there aren't days when I feel like I can't survive to the next."
Despite her heartache, the mother continues to stay strong for her daughters, Natalia, 18, Bianka, 4, and 20-month-old Capri.
"This pain is unimaginable [but] you just have to get up and push forward," she continued. "Lying in bed crying isn't going to change the fact that my family will never be the same again. But getting out of bed and pushing forward is going to make the day better for my girls and for me. So that's what I do."
Since her husband’s passing, Vanessa took over Granity Studios, Kobe’s multi-media company, and relaunched Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, a nonprofit aimed at empowering young girls and providing equal opportunities to underserved athletes.
"I guess the best way to describe it is that Kobe and Gigi motivate me to keep going," she said. "They inspire me to try harder and be better every day. Their love is unconditional and they motivate me in so many different ways."
Vanessa also relies on her children who “help me smile through the pain.”
“They give me strength,” she said, adding, "I want to make Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka and Capri proud."
Last month, the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) issued an official statement of probable cause regarding the January 26, 2020, crash. In their message, investigators say deceased pilot Ara Zobayan appeared to violate federal standards and likely experienced "spatial disorientation" while flying through clouds on the day of the fatal incident.
"The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause of this accident was the pilot's decision to continue flight under visual flight rules into instrument meteorological conditions which resulted in the pilot spatial disorientation and loss of control,” it read.
"Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s likely self-induced pressure and the pilot’s plan continuation bias which adversely affected his decision-making and [helicopter owner] Island Express Helicopter Inc.'s inadequate review and oversight of its safety management processes."
The crash also claimed the lives of Gianna’s basketball teammate Alyssa Altobelli; Alyssa’s father, Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli; Alyssa’s mother, Keri Altobelli; Harbor Day School basketball coach Christina Mauser; middle school student Payton Chester; and Payton’s mother, Sarah Chester.