But after her husband passed away in April 2016, she said that her friends and family began making fun of her.
When Vanessa Bryant died last year, her personal assistant was with her when she died. But when she did finally say goodbye to her husband, the headlines written about him online had quite the effect on Vanessa Bryant’s loved ones.
In a fascinating article published in the New York Times’ GQ, Bryant describes the impact the overwhelming coverage of her husband’s death had on the people who cared about her. Bryant was left unable to function as an adult for months, she wrote, and then after her husband’s passing, she felt like she had been brought back down to Earth – by “fake news” in many cases.
The article comes at a time when celebrities’ deaths are generating a lot of positive attention. Denzel Washington’s film All the Money in the World is about the efforts of a young journalism student who helps arrange a meeting between John Paul Getty III and his mother. In September, Netflix debuted the intensely feel-good Dumplin’ with a backdrop of the young Abigail Breslin’s quest to gain acceptance to high school and change her weight after a difficult childhood.
But for the American public, as Bryant points out, talking about such personal subjects in the era of mass media is not easy. “I had never learned about an absence so soon before,” Bryant writes. “You never know how to navigate an empty space until you are there.”
Bryant writes that her family started using the term “Twitter silence” when she was eight or nine years old. But that can hardly encompass the extent of the pain Bryant was facing. “You cannot know how many people will try to make sense of your loss,” she writes. “It is impossible to be strong enough to deal with it all.”
Bryant describes the ways that coverage of her husband’s death in particular has felt out of line. She claims that her friends and family began making fun of her after she had to read about her husband’s death online.
“My friends, family and internet trolls laughed,” she writes. “They laughed at my dead husband, they laughed at me for trusting the media to give the truth. They laughed at my suicide attempt and the many ways in which I had not told the full story of what had happened to me.”
Bryant also recalled that she first started receiving texts from her press secretary warning her about the possible impact of a certain article she was about to read. Later, her husband’s alleged affair also left a mark on her. “No matter how much money you spend on a guard dog,” Bryant writes, “your privacy is a commodity, and those who covet that commodity must shout its value.”