Vanessa and Kobe Bryant had an “Allie and Noah from 'The Notebook'” kind of love story.
While honoring the late Kobe Bryant and their 13-year-old daughter Gianna during the public memorial at Staples Center on Monday, Vanessa Bryant gave an emotional speech in which she revealed that the NBA legend gifted her the iconic blue dress from the 2004 romance film.
“He was truly the romantic one in our relationship,” Vanessa said. “He planned special anniversary trips and a special traditional gift every year of our marriage. He gifted me the actual notebook and the blue dress Rachel McAdams wore in 'The Notebook' movie," she added.
The dress was worn by Rachel McAdams in a pivotal scene that found her character, Allie Hamilton, confronting her “true love” Noah (played by Ryan Gosling) and ultimately choosing him over her fiancé, a man her parents thought was better suited.
While this isn’t the first time Vanessa talked about owning the dress — she previously revealed Kobe gifted her the dress in an Instagram post on Valentine's Day 2003 — it’s the first time the film’s costume designer, Karyn Wagner, heard the news.
“I had no idea. I’m not a huge sports fan, so as much as I admire Kobe and his career and all the amazing things he’s done for the community, I had never followed his life that closely,” Wagner told Yahoo Entertainment.
When she heard Vanessa mention the dress in the speech, she was surprised because she had previously thought the dress was returned back to the studio.
“So when this came up, I was like, ‘Well, what? Wow! What an honor.’ Really, what an honor to have given him joy,” she said.
Wagner was responsible for designing most of the film’s wardrobe from scratch.
She said she put a lot of care into the costume because it was a “very important dress that had to speak to a lot of things,” including Allie’s emotional state.
Her attention to detail wasn’t just appreciated by the public, it was appreciated by the Lakers star whom Vanessa recalled was a “big fan of tearjerkers.”
Nicholas Sparks, the writer of the book that the film is based on, mourned the basketball star in a statement to the publication shortly after, writing, “While I’m honored that the film reminded Kobe and Vanessa of their love for each other, my heart is broken for the entire Bryant family. They remain in my prayers.”
Kobe died in a helicopter crash on January 26 that claimed the lives of eight others including Gianna.