Kobe Bryant is still married. That may come as a surprise to you, since so much was made of the reported $75 million he might have lost had his divorce from wife Vanessa been finalized. But, quietly, the couple have been trying to reconcile, and Vanessa never signed the papers that would’ve made the divorce official. So although people heard that Kobe was losing half his money, and Drake’s “Bitch you wasn’t with me shootin’ in the gym” line was perhaps the most-repeated rap lyric of the year, they’re still together.
Which is why so much is being made about Kobe’s blossoming relationship with controversially hawt Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice. Rice, as you may recall, was involved in a stupid kerfuffle with the Aussie press for posting bikini photos of herself on Twitter, and for that reason, she’s become a bit of an internet star.
The two have been spotted together at numerous Olympic events, which by itself means nothing. But when you take that, throw in these photos of a shirtless Bryant, and then add in an anecdote from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the story graduates from gossip blog fodder to actual news outlet material.
The Beijing anecdote in question comes from swimmer Craig Stephens, who was an Olympic teammate of Rice’s back in 2008. Stephens called into a Sydney radio station, and during his interview, relayed this:
“I think there is definitely something going on,” he said.
“I was a swimmer at the last Olympics and he was hanging round us a fair bit, at different parties and what not,” Stevens said.
“I remember her telling a story how he kind of put it to her. He had the family coming in the next day but he had that night free.”
A Craig Stephens retelling of a four-year-old story does not a scandal make. But it’s been enough to get the press — and other Olympians — talking. Specifically, it got Aussie basketball player Liz Cambage talking.
Cambage, who has attracted headlines in London herself after becoming the first woman to pull off a slam dunk at the Olympics, took to Twitter to voice her disapproval of the Steph-Kobe show.
“I love how Kobe has his wife with him at the Olympics, yet still surrounded by groupies,” the 20-year-old tweeted.
“Some women need to get a grip ASAP!”
Bryant’s wife and daughter are in London now, and there are photos of a smiling Bryant clan taking in some of the London events.
Again: none of these things mean Kobe Bryant is doing anything inappropriate. What it does mean: lots and lots of stories speculating as to whether Kobe is horndogging in the Olympic Village.