Kobe Bryant Once Gave Wife Vanessa Bryant Dress From ‘The Notebook’ Worn by Rachel McAdams

For basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his wife Vanessa Bryant their love for each other rivaled fictional stories rarely seen outside fairytales or movies. 

At the “Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant” public memorial at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif., on Feb. 24, 2020, while giving a moving tribute to her late husband and daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant.  Kobe and Gigi died in a Jan. 2020 helicopter crash along with seven others. Vanessa, 37, told the audience about Kobe’s affinity for romantic gestures, namely his ability to select heartfelt gifts. 

Vanessa Bryant gifted blue dress from ‘The Notebook’

In her eulogy, Vanessa talked about a particular gift she received from Kobe, the blue dress worn by Allie (Rachel McAdams) in 2004’s The Notebook, according to People. Based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks, the dress came from the movie’s memorable boat scene between Allie and Noah (Ryan Gosling), in which the two characters reunite after years apart.

Vanessa Bryant and Kobe Bryant at the 2019 Baby2Baby Gala. on Nov. 9, 2019
Vanessa Bryant and Kobe Bryant at the 2019 Baby2Baby Gala. on Nov. 9, 2019 | Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Baby2Baby

While McAdams later said she and Gosling couldn’t stand filming the scene because of the rain, it’s become a memorable moment in recent cinematic history.

Vanessa and Kobe ‘hoped to grow old together’ like Allie and Noah

Recounting what happened when she asked Kobe why he gifted her that particular dress Vanessa recalled her late husband saying he chose the outfit because it’s what McAdams had on when Allie and Noah found each other again. 

“When I asked him why he chose the blue dress [from the movie], he said it was because it’s the scene when Allie comes back to Noah,” Vanessa told the audience. “We had hoped to grow old together like [in] the movie. We really had an amazing love story.”

She continued, saying, “We loved each other with our whole beings, two perfectly imperfect people making a beautiful family and raising our sweet and amazing girls.” 

Vanessa attended the memorial with her and Kobe’s surviving family; Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and 7-month-old Capri. 

In addition to Vanessa’s emotional speech, there were musical performances by Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, and Christina Aguilera as well as words from former Laker and Kobe’s teammate Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Jordan among others. 

Also in her remarks, Vanessa referred to Kobe as her “soulmate” who “had a tender heart,” saying she wanted their children “to know the amazing person, husband, and father he was.”

While the event focused on the lives of Kobe and Gigi, it didn’t unfold without controversy. Fans on Twitter quickly pointed out that the basketball player’s parents were barely acknowledged at the memorial. The audience also learned Kobe’s final text messages that were sent mere minutes before the crash while he’d been on the helicopter. 

Kobe Bryant and Vanessa Bryant’s relationship history

Vanessa and Kobe met in Nov. 1999 before getting married in 2001 when they were 18 and 20-years-old respectively. In 2011, Vanessa filed for divorce but she and Kobe reconciled. In a Facebook post, the basketball player announced they’d called off their split.