Vanessa Bryant and late husband Kobe Bryant’s oldest daughter has left the nest. On Wednesday, the proud mom dropped her 18-year-old daughter Natalia Bryant off at the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles, checking off a major milestone in the teen’s life that Bryant admitted was “tough.”
Bryant shared the exciting update on Instagram alongside a family photo featuring herself, Natalia, and her two youngest daughters, Bianka, 4, and Capri, 2, all of whom sported USC attire. As they said their goodbyes, however, Bryant was a little emotional. In the caption, Bryant admitted that “today was rough.” She quipped that the smiling family photo was snapped “before the tears came down. Missing [two-fingers emoji] forever. I love you [Natalia Bryant] BE EPIC and FIGHT ON.” She also added red and yellow heart emojis. Natalia was quick to jump into the comments section, where she wrote, “I love you!!!”
Natalia’s new college adventure came just five months after she committed to attending USC back in March. At the time, Bryant shared a video of the moment her daughter opened her acceptance letter, with Natalia jumping up and down with joy. Natalia had previously been accepted to the University of Oregon, Loyola Marymount University, and the University of California.
“Tears of joy,” Bryant captioned the video, which was followed by clips of Natalia celebrating with USC gear and balloons. “I’m SO happy for you Nani! I know daddy is so PROUD OF YOU. I am so PROUD OF YOU!! Your hard work and dedication was so worth it. You pushed through the most excruciating pain imaginable and you succeeded. I wish Daddy and Gigi were physically here to celebrate but I know they’re here in spirit. We love you so much!”
Bryant’s husband, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, and their 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash in January 2020. When Natalia graduated from high school in June, Natalia donned a graduation cap a quote from her late father – “Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is an opportunity for me to rise” – embroidered along the edge. The cap also included the letters “K” and “G.” More recently, Natalia and her family kept Kobe and Giana’s spirits alive with a trip to Italy, a trip Bryant said her husband had given the teen the ok to do with her senior class, though the trip was ultimately delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. During the getaway, the family stopped at locations they had visited on a prior trip, with Bianka and Capri recreating an image of Natalia and Giana.