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Kobe and Vanessa Bryant divorce: Who gets the ring?

December 19, 2011 | 10:47 am

Kobe and Vanessa Bryant in 2003

This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

What about the ring? In 2003, Kobe Bryant notably bought an eight-carat purple diamond ring worth $4 million for his wife, Vanessa, days after he was accused of sexually assaulting a resort employee, charges that were later dropped.

But there’s a chance the ring might not be hers after the divorce.

“It may not be a true gift,” said Christopher C. Melcher, a Woodland Hills-based family law attorney.

PHOTOS: Kobe and Vanessa Bryant through the years

In California, something so expensive doesn’t qualify as a gift unless there’s a signed document noting it was, in fact, a gift, Melcher said. So there’s a likely possibility that the ring is still considered community property, he said.

Melcher also noted the way the Bryants handled the case, appearing to have everything settled before Vanessa Bryant even filed for divorce.

Vanessa Bryant filed for divorce Friday in Orange County Superior Court, citing irreconcilable differences. The court filing indicated property rights were to be determined. The Bryants are reported to be worth at least $150 million.

In what appears to be an effort to keep the details of their split out of the public eye, the couple said in a joint statement late Friday that they had "resolved all issues incident to their divorce privately."

The final judgment dissolving their marriage will be entered sometime next year, representatives for the couple said.

It’s not uncommon for celebrity couples to turn to mediators, often a retired judge, to have an arbitration behind closed doors, allowing them to negotiate over private matters with discretion, Melcher said.

“What’s ironic about it,” he said, “is celebrities have found a way to keep their private lives private while the rest of us have to air all our dirty laundry.”

[For the recored, 11:45 a.m. Dec. 20: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Kobe Bryant was acquitted of sexual assault charges. Prosecutors dropped charges against Bryant and the case never went to trial.]


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-- Rick Rojas

Photo: Vanessa Bryant looks on as Kobe Bryant admits to adultery, but denies a sex assault charge, during a 2003 news conference. Credit: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times