As the first NBA player drafted right out of high school, Kobe Bryant was living the epitome of a perfect life — Prom with Brandy! Hot teenage wife! $40 million a year in pay and endorsements! — when he suddenly and stupidly f*cked up all his fame and fortune in an instant. On July 18, 2003, while in Colorado for surgery, Kobe banged a 19-year-old former cheerleader working at his hotel. Shortly after the incident she came forward and charged the Lakers star with sexual assault, throwing a wrench into his perfect world.
Bryant admitted to the adultery, and — in the most pathetic and pricey attempt at an apology ever — bought his wife a $4 million 8-carat diamond ring so she could wear his shame on her finger. Everything from the victim’s semen-stained panties to Kobe’s kinky fetishes (such as grabbing the victim’s neck while penetrating her from behind, then asking permission to ejaculate on her face) was fair game in the trial. But the baller denied the charges of assault, and the case was dropped when the victim refused to testify. She later brought a civil suit against Kobe, which was “resolved to the satisfaction of both parties.” In other words, she got some cash ya’ll!
As the scandal dust settled, Kobe’s star rose again thanks to his MVP status and his feud with former Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal — and, of course, that massive diamond ring.