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Kobe Bryant's wife files for divorce

From Stan Wilson, CNN
updated 8:53 PM EST, Fri December 16, 2011
Kobe Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, attend his Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony in February.
Kobe Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, attend his Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony in February.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Vanessa Bryant cites "irreconcilable differences," a court spokeswoman says
  • The couple have been married for more than 10 years
  • Vanessa sat by Kobe's side after he admitted having sex with a teenage hotel clerk

Los Angeles (CNN) -- The wife of Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant filed for divorce Friday, eight years after she famously stuck by him after he admitted having sex with a woman at a Colorado hotel, a court spokeswoman said.

Vanessa Bryant cited "irreconcilable differences" as her reason for filing the divorce petition Friday, Orange County, California, Superior Court spokeswoman Gwen Vieau told CNN.

The two have been married for 10 ½ years. The couple have two daughters together, ages 8 and 5.

Calls made Friday night to Kobe Bryant's agent were not immediately returned.

Their marriage came into the public spotlight after a 19-year-old desk clerk at a Vail-area resort hotel told police that Kobe Bryant had sexually assaulted her on June 30, 2003.

Eagle County District Attorney Mark Hurlbert filed charges against Bryant about three weeks later, on July 18. Later that evening, Vanessa Bryant sat by her husband's side as he publicly apologized to her while admitting that he'd had sex with the 19-year-old, an encounter he said was consensual.

Turning to his wife, Bryant said, "You're a piece of my heart. You're the air I breathe. And you're the strongest person I know. And I'm so sorry for having to put you through this, for having to put our family through this."

Criminal charges against Bryant were dismissed in September 2004. He settled a federal lawsuit with his accuser in March 2005, days before he was scheduled to be deposed in the case, his attorney Pamela Mackey said at the time.

His legal woes cost him some high-profile endorsement deals, including one with McDonald's. But he re-signed with the Lakers in 2004 and again in 2010, for a total of over $200 million. Sports Illustrated -- like CNN, a division of Time Warner -- reported in June that Bryant, 33, earns an estimated $34.8 million annually, ranking him sixth on the magazine's list of the top-grossing athletes in sports.

He also found more success on the court, including winning an MVP award in 2008 and leading the Lakers to NBA championships in 2009 and 2010.

After a protracted labor dispute that prompted the NBA to trim its regular season to 66 games, the Lakers' team captain is scheduled to play in next Monday's preseason opener against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center.

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