LOS ANGELES — V. Stiviano, the woman at the center of the Donald Sterling scandal, broke her silence Friday night, telling Barbara Walters in an interview that she doesn’t believe the L.A. Clippers owner is a racist.
Speaking on ABC’s “20/20,” Stiviano said Sterling feels alone and isolated after being banned from the NBA over recorded comments in which he tells her not to associate with black people.
When Walters asks Stiviano if Sterling is a racist, she replies: “No, I don’t believe it in my heart,” according to “20/20.”
She noted that Sterling, 50 years her senior, is of a different generation. She didn’t take his comments about blacks as being bigoted, according to “20/20.”
Still, she said he should apologize for what he said.
Walters said Stiviano had seen Sterling earlier and asked how he was doing.
“I think he feels very alone, not truly supported by those around him. Tormented, emotionally traumatized,” she said.
Stiviano said she served as Sterling’s “protector” and loved him “like a father.”
Stiviano was sued last month by Rochelle Sterling, Donald’s wife, who seeks the return of the duplex as well as a Ferrari, two Bentleys and a Range Rover she said her husband bought for Stiviano.
Rochelle Sterling alleges in the lawsuit that her husband met Stiviano at the 2010 Super Bowl in Miami. The suit describes Stiviano as a seductress who targets wealthy older men like the 80-year-old Sterling.
According to property records, Stiviano purchased the duplex in December 2013. But Rochelle Sterling says that she allowed her husband to pay for the house, believing that her name would be on the deed along with his.
Sterling also gave Stiviano $240,000 for living expenses, according to Rochelle Sterling’s lawsuit, amounting to $2 million of community property that he allegedly spent on Stiviano without his wife’s knowledge.
In a response to the lawsuit, Stiviano argues that Rochelle Sterling must have known that her husband of more than 50 years had romantic relationships outside of his marriage.
Stiviano’s court filing ridicules the notion that the “feminine wiles of Ms. Stiviano overpowered the iron will of Donald T. Sterling who is well known as one of the most shrewd businessmen in the world.” Stiviano’s papers, however, do not acknowledge that she was in a romantic relationship with Sterling.