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Los Angeles Lakers Star Kobe Bryant Rejects Divorce Rumors

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August 17, 2007 - It apparently hasn't been the summer of love for Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant. Just a couple of months after demanding a trade from the team and then flip-flopping on the matter several times, Bryant recently had to squash rumors that he was getting a divorce from his wife Vanessa.

Internet rumors about the Kobe Bryant divorce began popping up last week with one Web site citing unnamed sources claiming that a divorce was imminent. Los Angeles' KCBS-TV picked up the Kobe Bryant divorce rumor and reported it on its site before pulling the story.

Amidst all the speculation that he was getting a divorce, Bryant rebuffed the rumors to Entertainment Tonight. The popular television show's Web site described Bryant as saying that he is happily married to his wife and that the couple was traveling in Europe with their two daughters. The story also detailed that Bryant was not going to respond to the divorce rumors but felt compelled to shoot them down.

This is not the first time that Kobe Bryant and the word "divorce" have appeared together this summer. In June, the basketball world was sent spinning when Bryant demanded a trade from the Lakers, the team that traded for his draft rights straight out of high school in 1996 and for which he helped win three straight championships at the beginning of this decade.

During his trade request, Bryant called out Lakers' General Manager Mitch Kupchak for failing to surround him with a supporting cast worthy of a championship team. Hours after demanding a trade on the Stephen A. Smith radio show, Bryant recanted and said that he did not want a divorce from the Lakers.

Just a couple days later, Bryant reaffirmed his trade demand. An amateur Internet video of Bryant ripping teammate Andrew Bynum surfaced later this summer and added fuel to the fire of this controversial sports story. Bryant has since indicated that he will play for the Lakers next season.

Bryant's marriage to his wife has been a source of controversy for a long time. The two were engaged while Vanessa was still in high school. The marriage allegedly drove a temporary wedge between Bryant and his father Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, a former NBA player himself.

And then there was the Vail, Colorado mess in the summer of 2003 when Kobe Bryant was accused of sexually assaulting a woman who later refused to cooperate with authorities. While the charges against Bryant were eventually withdrawn, his public image took a hard hit when he admitted during a press conference with his wife at his side that he had committed adultery. A New York Post story then detailed how Bryant bought his wife a $4 million eight-carat, purple diamond ring as an apology for his adulterous behavior.

While denying these recent divorce rumors, a few things are certain when it comes to Kobe Bryant. The guy is the most-talented player in the NBA, and controversy (whether self-created or a matter of his celebrity) is always looming around him!

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