Basketball

Kobe Bryant’s wife files for divorce

LOS ANGELES — The wife of Kobe Bryant has filed for divorce after more than a decade of marriage to the National Basketball Association superstar.

Vanessa Bryant filed papers in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, California citing “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for the divorce from the Los Angeles Lakers player.

The couple have two daughters, Natalia, 8, and Gianna, 5, and have been married for 10 1/2 years.

“The Bryants have resolved all issues incident to their divorce privately with the assistance of counsel and a judgment dissolving their marital status will be entered in 2012,” a representative for the couple said.

In court documents, Vanessa asked for spousal support and joint custody that gives Kobe visitation rights with the two children.

In a statement released by their lawyers the couple also asked that “in the interest of our young children and in light of the upcoming holiday season the public respect our privacy during this difficult time.”

Vanessa stood by her husband after he was charged with sexually assaulting a Colorado woman eight years ago.

They appeared side by side at a news conference at the time in which Vanessa expressed support for her husband as he admitted to being guilty of adultery.

The Colorado case against Bryant was eventually dismissed.

“I know that my husband has made a mistake — the mistake of adultery,” she said at the time. “He and I will have to deal with that within our marriage, and we will do so. He is not a criminal.”

In 2010, the Bryants settled a litigation case with a former domestic helper, Maria Jimenez, who accused Vanessa of harassment. Vanessa and Kobe then countersued the maid for breaking their confidentiality contract.

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