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Kobe Bryant's divorce 'really sad' for kids, family, neighbors say

December 21, 2011 |  5:06 am

Kobe and Vanessa Bryant

The impending divorce between Kobe Bryant and his wife Vanessa Bryant has neighbors in the posh Newport Coast section of Newport Beach wondering if the NBA star will stay in the area.

Bryant is a familiar face in the area.

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.

PHOTOS: Kobe and Vanessa Bryant through the years

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

In the petition filed Friday, Vanessa Bryant cited "irreconcilable differences" as the reason for the divorce. 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."

It's unclear if Vanessa and the couple's two daughters will remain in Newport Beach. She said in court papers she and Kobe Bryant will share custody.

Lakers and Bryant fan Hallie Mitchell, who lives in Newport Beach and works at Fashion Island, feels confident the team's star player will stay with the purple and gold, despite a possible move from his Newport Coast home. Mitchell was eating lunch outdoors near Wonderland Bakery, another spot Bryant frequents.

"He's Kobe Bryant and everyone knows who he is and respects his skills, so I don't think that will affect him as a player," Mitchell said. "The Lakers have done well enough to be a great team, and Kobe wants to be part of a great team."

At nearby Crystal Cove Promenade, Hossam Ghali of Laguna Niguel said he's sure Bryant's performance on the court 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."

Some estimates put Kobe Bryant's net worth at $150 million. Legal experts said Vanessa Bryant will probably receive at least $75 million in addition to ongoing spousal and child support.

Last season, as the NBA's highest-paid player, Kobe Bryant earned $24.8 million in salary, and his contract extension signed last year is worth $83.5 million. Forbes magazine estimates that with endorsement deals, Bryant last year earned $53 million before taxes and agent fees. In recent years, he has added Turkish Airlines and Mercedes-Benz to his portfolio of endorsements.

The fact the marriage lasted 10 years gives Vanessa Bryant several advantages under California divorce law. After passing the 10-year mark, attorney Dmitry Gorin said, a marriage is defined as a lengthy one, which means the spouse is allowed to maintain her standard of living after the split.


Vanessa Bryant stands to gain windfall in divorce

Kobe Bryant divorce: Couple will share custody of 2 daughters

Kobe Bryant divorce: Vanessa cites "irreconcilable differences"

-- 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