In an exclusive interview with ABC News reporter Barbara Walters, V. Stiviano went public about her puzzling relationship with Donald Sterling, the disgraced owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers. The interview, which took place on Friday, includes Stiviano denying reports that she is Sterling’s mistress. Instead, the 31-year-old describes herself as a “silly rabbit” to the 81-year-old Sterling. In addition, Sterling and Walters discussed what she says are misconceptions about the leaked recording and her role in it, as well as her opinion of the vast criticism that the racist remarks recorded on the tape, first released by TMZ, have drawn to Sterling, who she firmly believes is not racist. She has denied that she was responsible for leaking the tape to TMZ.
The biggest issue for Stiviano is that she has been portrayed worldwide as the mistress to Sterling when in fact she is merely his personal assistant, as well as his best friend, confidant, and “silly rabbit.” She explains the silly rabbit reference as a description she uses to describe herself due to her “do(ing) things that some people find very silly.” She adds that her jokes bring laughter to Sterling. As far as any type of romantic relationship between her and the embattled millionaire, she maintains that although she does love him, she is not in love with him, likening her love for him as that of a daughter for a father. The Daily News has reported that a source revealed to them that Sterling is unable to have any sort of sexual relationship with anyone due to a long battle with prostrate cancer, which requires treatment that has left Sterling virtually impotent.
Stiviano, who is of mixed race herself, tells Walter that although Sterling has made offensive, racist remarks in her presence, she does not believe him to be a racist “in (her) heart.” She attributes the racist rant heard on the recording as due to flashes of anger and the fact that Sterling was born in a different time under different cultural norms. She also maintains that the offensive words by Sterling are eclipsed by his “generous and kind” actions.
As far as Sterling’s state of mind now that he has been banned for life from the NBA and is likely soon to be forced to sell the Clippers through NBA league rules, Stiviano describes Sterling as feeling alone and without the support of friends and family. She also in unsure of whether or not an apology from Sterling is imminent. So far, Sterling has released a statement saying only that he wishes he had “just paid her (Stiviano) off,” insinuating that she released the tape as part of an effort to blackmail him for money.
Stiviano, who has been seen since the scandal broke wearing a series of comically oversized visors to hide her face in public, explains her decision to don the headwear as an attempt to “mask the pain” she feels at the criticism that has been directed at her by people who do not truly know her.
Rochelle Sterling, wife of Donald Sterling, filed a lawsuit against Stiviano in March. The suit asks the court to demand that self-described “silly rabbit” Stiviano return gifts that both Rochelle and Donald agreed to give her, including a Los Angeles duplex worth $1.8 million and a fleet of luxury cars,worth $500,000 and including a red Ferrari.
By Jennifer Pfalz