On Tuesday, Bryant shared the birthday tribute to her and the NBA star’s first-born daughter on Instagram, where she called Natalia “an incredible big sister and a beautiful role model to so many people”.
“Dear Natalia, Happy Birthday! Mommy and Daddy are so proud of the young lady that you are. You have displayed so much strength and grace throughout the most difficult year of our lives. Thank you for stepping in to help me with your little sisters,” Bryant wrote. “You’re such an incredible big sister and a beautiful role model to so many people. Thank you for being kind, polite and gracious in everything that you do.”
“You have no idea how happy and proud mommy and daddy are that you’re our daughter. We love you always and forever, forever and always. Happy 18th birthday to our first born, Natalia, our principessa!”
Bryant concluded the birthday wish by signing it: “Love always, Mommy, Daddy, Gigi, BB and Koko.”
In addition to portraits of Natalia, the mother-of-four also included two photos of the 18-year-old with her father, who was killed last January alongside the couple’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others when their helicopter crashed in California.
In one of the photos, Kobe can be seen smiling as he holds Natalia as a toddler on a basketball court, with Bryant captioning the photo: “Daddy’s little princess, Natalia.”
In another photo from the same day, Bryant and Kobe, who also shared daughters Bianka, four, and Capri, one, can be seen sitting on the floor of the Lakers’ basketball court with their eldest daughter.
“We love you so much! Happy birthday Natalia!!!! Our first born,” Bryant wrote.
The touching tribute comes after Bryant recently opened up about her grieving process on Instagram ahead of the one-year anniversary of Kobe and Gianna’s death, where she revealed that she pushes through for her daughters.
"Grief is a messed up cluster of emotions," she wrote on her Instagram last week. "One day you're in the moment laughing and the next day you don't feel like being alive. I want to say this for people struggling with grief and heartbreaking loss. Find your reason to live. I know it's hard.
“I look at my daughters and I try to push through that feeling for them. Death is guaranteed but living the rest of the day isn’t.
“Find your reason.”