In 2013, Vanessa revealed that the NBA legend had gifted her the blue dress and shoes worn by Rachel McAdams in the film as a Valentine’s Day present, along with a notebook prop from the movie.
On Monday, as fans, family and friends gathered in Los Angeles for the memorial event, "A Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant," Vanessa emotionally delivered a eulogy, during which she revealed the special meaning behind the presents.
“He gave me the actual notebook and the blue dress that Rachel McAdams wore in The Notebook movie,” Vanessa shared about her husband, who died alongside their daughter, Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26. “When I asked him why he chose the blue dress, he said it was because it’s the scene when Allie comes back to Noah.”
“We had hoped to grow old together like in the movie,” she continued. “We really had an amazing love story. We loved each other with our whole beings. Two perfectly imperfect people making a beautiful family and raising our sweet and amazing girls.”
McAdams wore the pale blue, button-up dress with floral-bordered short sleeves in a key scene where her character, Allie, returns to her love, Noah (Ryan Gosling.) The dress is also featured on the famous poster art for the 2004 film, in which the couple shares a kiss in the rain.
Vanessa shared a photo of the dress and shoes in a #throwbackthursday post on her Instagram account in 2013. “One of my favorite Valentine's day gifts from my husband was the blue dress, shoes and THE notebook from the Notebook Movie he gave me years ago,” she captioned the photos. “(The notebook is a prop but it still has sentimental value). Happy Valentine's Day! #tbt #Valentinesday #LoveStory #TheNotebook #Love ❤.”
It was one of many heartwarming gestures marking Kobe's love for his wife. In Monday’s speech, Vanessa reiterated how her husband was incredibly romantic -- hand-crafting gifts, thinking “outside the box” and planning special anniversary trips. He gave her a gift for every year of their marriage.
The couple met in 1999 when Vanessa was working as a background dancer on the Tha Eastsidaz music video "G'd Up" and Kobe was working on his debut musical album. After getting engaged in May 2000, they tied the knot on April 18, 2001.