Kobe Bryant, wife file for divorce

Updated: 2011-12-19 17:27


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LOS ANGELES - Basketball superstar Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and his wife Vanessa have filed for divorce after more than 10 years of marriage, citing irreconcilable differences, a representative for the couple said Friday.

Kobe Bryant, wife file for divorce

Basketball super star Kobe Bryant reacts along with his wife Vanessa (L) and their two daughters Natalia (R) and Gianna as they watch a Major League Soccer game in Carson, California, in this April 3, 2008 file photo. [Photo/Agencies]

"We ask that in the interest of our young children and in light of the upcoming holiday season, the public respect our privacy during this most difficult time," the couple, who have two children, said in a statement.

The couple's spokesman said Bryant, 33, and Vanessa, 29, resolved all issues regarding the divorce privately and both filed petitions. Vanessa went first and Kobe shortly thereafter.

Bryant has helped lead the Lakers to five National Basketball Association championships, has been named a most valuable player, been the league's top scorer and played on numerous all-star teams.

He was drafted into the NBA directly from high school in 1996 at the age of 17 and in his initial years enjoyed a stellar reputation with fans as a highly skilled player.

Kobe Bryant, wife file for divorce

Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant (R) cries as he admits to adultery in front of his wife Vanessa at a news conference in Los Angeles, in this July 18, 2003 file photo. [Photo/Agencies]

In 2003, Bryant was accused of sexual assault by an employee at a Colorado hotel, tarnishing his reputation and leading to a media storm to cover his trial. He denied the claims and charges eventually were dropped after the woman refused to testify.

Bryant and his wife were married in April 2001 and throughout the sex scandal she stayed with her husband.