Kobe and Vanessa Bryant celebrated the 20th anniversary of their first meeting weeks before his death.
Vanessa, 37, wrote a sweet note to her husband, who has died in a helicopter crash along with his daughter Gianna and seven other people.
His wife shared a throwback photo of the two of them posing next to each other, Vanessa post the picture on Instagram on Nov. 27, with the caption “The day we met 20 years ago.”
According to Vanessa, it was the first picture they ever took together.
“K.o.b.e. I L.o.v.e. YOU ?,” she added, along with the hashtags “forever” and “firstpic” as well as the date “11/27/99.”
Last November, Bryant also shared the same picture to celebrate the anniversary, he wrote on his Instagram account, “On this day 20 years ago I met my best friend, my Queen @vanessabryant.”
The basketball star also posted another picture of the two at the present day, they were posing in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California.
He shared in the caption, “I decided to take her on a date to Disneyland tonight to celebrate old school style (pre 4princesses)”
“I love you my Mamacita per sempre,” he added. (“Per sempre” means “forever” in Italian.)
The couple got married in April 2001, when he was just 22 and she was 18. The couple went on to have four children together: daughters Natalia, 17, Gianna, 13, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.
A source recently told PEOPLE that Vanessa is still struggling to believe the losses of her husband and child.
“It’s an extremely difficult and devastating time for Vanessa and the whole family,” the insider said of the Bryants’ loved ones.
Another source previously told PEOPLE that Vanessa is “devastated.”
“She can hardly keep it together,” another insider said. “She can’t finish a sentence without crying. But she is working very hard to pull it together for the other girls. She now has to be the strong one.”
The insider noted, “Of course, you can never be prepared for this. Despite their ups and downs, Vanessa and Kobe were soulmates. She thought of him as her partner for life.”
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