Vanessa Bryant had a bittersweet day of celebrations for her eldest daughter Natalia on Tuesday, as the teenager turned 18. The doting mum marked the day on Instagram by sharing some gorgeous photos of her firstborn, including throwbacks with her late husband Kobe.
This will be Natalia's first birthday without her dad and her younger sister Gigi; the pair were sadly killed in a helicopter crash on 26 January last year.
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Writing a tribute on behalf of herself and basketball star Kobe, Vanessa posted: "Dear Natalia, Happy Birthday! Mommy and Daddy are so proud of the young lady that you are. You have displayed so much strength and grace throughout the most difficult year of our lives.
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"Thank you for stepping in to help me with your little sisters. You're such an incredible big sister and a beautiful role model to so many people. Thank you for being kind, polite and gracious in everything that you do.
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"You have no idea how happy and proud mommy and daddy are that you’re our daughter. We love you always and forever, forever and always. Happy 18th birthday to our first born, Natalia, our principessa! Love always, Mommy, Daddy, Gigi, BB and Koko."
Vanessa marked her eldest child's birthday
The picture showed Natalia looking upwards and flashing her gorgeous smile as she modelled a denim dress and straw sunhat. "I love you," the birthday girl replied to her mum.
Vanessa shared more pictures of her eldest, including one of Natalia as a baby in Kobe's arms. "Daddy's little princess, Natalia," she captioned it. Alongside another snap of the three of them, Vanessa wrote: "We love you so much! Happy birthday Natalia!!!! Our first born @nataliabryant."
Vanessa shared this heartwarming image of Kobe and Natalia
The family are preparing to mark one year since they lost Kobe and Gigi, and ahead of the anniversary, Vanessa made a plea to fans and the press to show respect when posting tributes. She penned: "Dear media, please be considerate when airing or posting remembrance footage. We ask that you do not air photos of the wreckage, helicopter in the air or accident scene. We do NOT want to see it. Our year has been traumatic enough.
"You have thousands of photos and videos you can show beside footage of 1/26/20. We hope videos of remembrance are done in a classy and tasteful manner that is respectful of all our losses. Thank you."
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