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Kobe Bryant and wife reach divorce settlement

More than eight years after she famously stood by her husband through allegations of sexual assault and admissions of infidelity, Vanessa Bryant has filed for divorce from her husband, professional basketball player Kobe Bryant. Although Vanessa has not publicly stated why she decided to file for divorce, many are speculating that Kobe's continued philandering may have motivated her decision.

The Bryants were married in 2001, before Kobe became the hugely successful basketball player he is today. As such, the couple did not sign a prenuptial agreement, which means that Vanessa may be entitled to half of Kobe's earnings and estate. Reportedly, the couple has already hashed out the details of their divorce in mediation or some other form of alternative dispute resolution. Although their settlement will likely remain private, entertainment websites and family law experts are estimating that Vanessa will leave the marriage with several million dollars.

Kobe Bryant received nearly $25 million in salary from the L.A. Lakers last year. With his endorsements, he is believed to have earned more than $50 million. His current net worth is estimated at $150 million. Therefore, Vanessa could easily earn upwards of $75 million.

In addition, because of the length of their marriage, Vanessa may be entitled to lifetime alimony. Under California law, a marriage that has lasted 10 years or more qualifies as 'lengthy' and generally entitles the recipient spouse to receive permanent spousal support. In addition, she will almost certainly receive child support for the couple's two daughters, ages 5 and 6. According to the divorce documents, the couple has agreed to joint custody of their children.

Source: Sacramento Bee, "Experts say Kobe Bryant's wife stands to make windfall in divorce," Rick Rojas and Richard Winton, Dec. 19, 2011

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