Kobe Presents Wife $4 Mil Diamond Ring
07/24/2003 AT 10:20 AM EDT
No, this was not some last-minute apology gift; the magazine reports that Bryant had commissioned the sparkler two weeks before.
Vanessa, 21, was dazzled and Kobe, 24, beamed, reports PEOPLE. "They looked very happy together," says the jeweler, Raffi, who also designed the couple's wedding rings. "When they left, Kobe and Vanessa were holding hands."
That's just as they did last Friday at L.A.'s Staples Center, where Bryant declared his innocence during a press conference held three hours after he was charged with sexual assault -- a class-three felony that can carry a prison term of four years to life and a probation period of 20 years to life, said Eagle County (Colo.) District Attorney Mark Hurlburt.
Bryant, currently free on $25,000 bond, told reporters about his accuser: "I didn't force her to do anything against her will. I'm innocent."
He went on to say, "I sit here in front of you guys, furious at myself, disgusted at myself for making the mistake of adultery. And I love my wife with all my heart."
As a tear rolled down Bryant's left cheek, he then told Vanessa: "You're my backbone. You're a blessing. You're a piece of my heart. You're the air I breathe. And you're the strongest person I know, and I'm so sorry for having to put you through this and having to put our family through this."
Bryant stressed, "I'm innocent. And together my wife and I and our family, we're going to fight these false accusations."