The “I Wanna Be Down” singer, 40, shared a photo via Instagram of Kobe wrapping his arms around his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, who died alongside her father on Sunday, January 26.
“Never will I understand,” she wrote on Friday, January 31. “My condolences to @vanessabryant, and all families who are in pain during this tragic time. Love ♥️ #Mamba #Mambacita.”
Bryant took the 17-year-old R&B singer to his Lower Merion Township High School prom in May 1996 at the Bellevue Hotel in Philadelphia. Brandy, born Brandy Norwood, got all glammed while wearing a Moschino gown and a matching shawl.
“He asked me to go to the prom with him,” she told the New York Daily News in 1996. “And since he was a nice guy … I asked my mom, and she said yes.”
Brandy revealed to TMZ in 2016 that she still owns the champagne-colored prom dress, saying: “It was a special night.”
Months prior to the prom, Bryant met Brandy for the first time at an NBA All-Star event. Shortly after they attended the high school gathering, he landed a guest star role on the singer’s popular sitcom, Moesha, as Terry Hightower — a star basketball player who asked for Moesha’s (Brandy) assistance in preparing for the SATs.
Brandy and Bryant spoke about their experience working together on the season 2 episode, but they also talked about their time at prom together. “We went to the prom together, did you hear that?” she told Entertainment Tonight at the time. “He’ll always be my date.”
Bryant echoed his date’s sentiments, referring to their bond as a “very friendly relationship.”
On Sunday morning, Bryant and his second eldest daughter, Gianna, died in a deadly helicopter crash. The accident occurred in Calabasas, California, while the father-daughter duo were on board his private helicopter with seven others. The rotorcraft crashed into a hillside and burst into flames. Us Weekly confirmed on Wednesday, January 29, that the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner had identified all nine individuals who perished in the crash.
Bryant, an Academy Award winner, NBA champion and 18-time All-Star, was 41. He was survived by his longtime wife, Vanessa Laine Bryant, and their daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.