On Monday (February 24), fans, family and celebrities from Jennifer Lopez to Beyoncé honored the legacy and lives of Kobe and Gianna Bryant—who died in a helicopter crash that killed nine people on January 26—at a memorial at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The memorial was filled with touching moments, including an emotional eulogy delivered by Bryant's wife of 20 years, Vanessa. In her speech, she expressed the love she holds for the man and daughter she cares for so deeply. She also revealed a sweet gift Kobe once gave her: the iconic blue dress and platform heels Rachel McAdams wore as well as a notebook prop from The Notebook.
"When I asked him why he chose the blue dress, he said it was because it was the scene when Allie comes back to Noah," Vanessa explained. "We had hoped to grow old together like the movie."
She added that Kobe was " incredibly romantic" and would give her anniversary gifts every year.
Karyn Wagner, the costume designer for the film, later revealed she had no idea Kobe had gifted Vanessa the dress.
"I started bawling. I’m still drying the tears off my face," Wagner told The Hollywood Reporter. "What a beautiful eulogy. I’m so honored that I was able to contribute in some small way to the history of this amazing man."
Back in 2013, Vanessa posted a #ThrowbackThursday Instagram that showed off the dress, shoes, and prop notebook, saying it was one of her favorite Valentine's Day gifts.
"We really had an amazing love story," Vanessa continued during Monday's memorial. "We loved each other with our whole beings. Two perfectly imperfect people making a beautiful family and raising our sweet and amazing girls."
The couple first met in 1999 when Vanessa was a background dancer for the ' G'd Up' music video for the group, The Eastsidaz, and Kobe was starting his basketball career.
The couple tied the knot on April 18, 2001. The two shared four daughters: Natalia Diamante, 17, Gianna Maria-Onore, 13, Bianka Bella, 3, and Capri Kobe, seven months.
"God knew they couldn't be on this Earth without each other," Vanessa added in her eulogy. "He had to bring them home to have them together. Babe, you take care of our Gigi. I got Nati, BiBi, and KoKo, and we're still the best team."