Who was Donald Sterling’s ex-mistress V Stiviano and why did Sterling’s wife sue her?

The NBA has experienced its fair share of controversies over the years, with arguably nothing topping Donald Sterling’s racist remarks made in 2013. The incident led to the then-Clippers owner being terminated from the league indefinitely, and a sale of the Los Angeles Clippers was orchestrated by the diplomatic Adam Silver, the Commissioner of the NBA.

However, during the proceedings, Sterling’s wife sued his ex-mistress, V Stiviano, and we take a look at how this spectacle unfolded.

Who is V Stiviano?

V Stiviano referred to by her full name, Maria Vanessa Perez was the ex-mistress of former Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling. During her time with Sterling, V Stiviano recorded the then-owner making racist comments which were released to the public by TMZ in April, 2014.

The news of the remarks spread like wildfire which mandated NBA Commissioner to intervene and take a very serious decision on the future of Sterling in the league. The once forgotten incident rose back to life after ESPN released a new podcast titled, “The Sterling Affairs.” In the voice recording, Sterling refers to pictures where Stiviano and Magic Johnson are together which prompted the derogatory comments from the Clippers executive.

Donald Sterling
Sterling was found to be making racist remarks via Getty Images

In the recordings, Sterling can be heard saying, “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people… You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want”, but “the little I ask you is … not to bring them to my games.”

V Stiviano
V Stiviano is Sterling’s ex-mistress via Getty Images

In his defense, Sterling went on CNN the following month and publicly stated that he was not a racist; rather, he claimed he was baited into making such comments by V. Stiviano. While Sterling was removed from his position of power in the league by Adam Silver, Stiviano was pursued by Sterling’s wife, who sued to reclaim the owner’s assets that had been given to Stiviano as gifts.

Donald Sterling’s wife sued his former mistress for millions of dollars

Seeing her husband’s fall from grace, Sterling’s wife, Shelly Sterling was quick to react to the situation and went into a legal battle with V Stiviano in an attempt to reclaim all the assets that had been given as gifts by Donald Sterling to his mistress. However, the issue was that the gifts were paid for using the couple’s assets.

Donald Sterling
Sterling’s wife, Shelly sued V Stiviano to get back the owner’s assets via Associated Press

A year after the release of the audio clips, Shelly Sterling filed a case asking the court to order the return of gifts from V. Stiviano, including everything from charity donations to a $1.8 million duplex. According to the wife, V. Stiviano had manipulated Donald, taking advantage of his old age.

In April 2015, the judge heading the case ordered V. Stiviano to return every penny gained from Sterling, which included various exotic cars gifted to her. While there are little to no public appearances of V. Stiviano anymore, it appears she has conveniently switched her allegiances to the Clippers’ hometown rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, after posting a photo of the Lakers’ championship ring in 2017.

V Stiviano
Stiviano was ruled by the judge to pay over 2.6 million USD back to Shelly Sterling including the house she lived in via Splash News

In 2018, paparazzi media TMZ met up with Stiviano regarding Roseanne Barr’s racist remarks to which she responded, insinuating that everyone was a bit racist. She said, “Everyone’s making such a big deal over every small little thing. No one has freedom of speech anymore! No one can say what they feel because if they do, they’re gonna lose their job.”

Ever since, there haven’t been any real public appearances of Sterling’s ex-mistress who appears to have chosen a private lifestyle.

Caleb Mathew

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Feel free to reach out to me at @calebmathewww on Instagram.


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