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At Kobe Bryant’s Newport Coast hangouts, divorce is talk of town

December 20, 2011 |  5:26 pm

Kobe and Vanessa Bryant
The recent split between Lakers' star Kobe Bryant and his wife of 10 years, Vanessa Bryant, was the topic du jour at some of the couple's frequent Newport Coast hangouts.

U.S. Beverage Manufacturing co-workers Paul Kincaid and Andy Loy were discussing their divorce over lunch at the Newport Coast Shopping Center on Tuesday.

"It's just a matter of time after that mess in Colorado," Kincaid said, referring to the 2003 incident where Bryant was accused of sexually assaulting a hotel worker in Eagle, Colo., and publicly admitted to infidelity.

PHOTOS: Kobe and Vanessa Bryant through the years 

Jorden Eckenweiler, 15, of Newport Coast, said he went to school with one of Bryant's children and never saw anything amiss between the couple.

"It seemed like they were pretty content, I guess," Jorden told the Daily Pilot.

The divorce probably wouldn't affect Bryant's game, he speculated, calling Bryant one of the top three Lakers.

He is "really professional about how he handles his game," Jorden said.

At nearby Crystal Cove Promenade, Hossam Ghali of Laguna Niguel said he's sure Bryant's performance wouldn't take a hit — although the Celtics fan hoped that it would.

"I hate Kobe because he's so perfect and so good," he said. "He likes to be challenged, he's up to the challenge, and he has so much self control."

At La Fogata Rotisserie Chicken, one of Bryant's favorite Corona del Mar eateries, Susie DiGiovanna said she feels bad for the couple's two daughters, ages 5 and 8.

"I just think it's really sad — for the children and for the fans," she said.


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-- Lauren Williams, Times Community News

Photo: Kobe Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, appear at a news conference in 2003 to talk about his infidelity and the sexual assault charges against him. The charges were later dropped. Credit: Los Angeles Times