That would include a Ferrari, two Bentleys, a Range Rover, a $1.8 million duplex and, for good measure, a $4,570 Louis Vuitton suitcase, to mention a few trinkets the 80-year-old billionaire gave to the 30-something-year-old woman. Still, Stiviano says it was “a relationship of love,” not money.
In a long legal battle between the two women that ended Tuesday, Shelly Sterling argued the money and gifts her husband generously lavished on Stiviano, weren’t his to lavish. It was joint property. In California, assets earned in marriage belong to both parties and cannot be given away without consent. And Shelly Sterling most definitely did not do that.
“Shelly is thrilled with the decision,” her attorney Pierce O’Donnell told the Associated Press.
This dispute, by the way, began a month before Stiviano somehow leaked a recording between her and then-Clippers owner Sterling in which the world heard him tell her not to bring black people, especially Magic Johnson, to his games.
Clippers President Andy Roeser released a statement the next day, saying Stiviano had vowed to “get even” with Sterling. Ultimately, Donald Sterling was ruled incompetent, banned from the NBA for life, fined $2.5 million and forced to watch his wife sell his team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
But throughout their legal woes, Stiviano has bounced between apparent anger and professed affection for Sterling. Before she took the stand in court late last month, she took to Twitter.
Two weeks later, she wrote: “Donald T. Sterling I LOVE you.”
In court, attorneys played recordings on Stiviano’s cellphone that indicated the two were trying to hide the gifts from Shelly Sterling.
“The truth is that everything that I have, you’ve given me from your heart without me begging or asking or throwing myself all over you,” Stiviano said in clip played in court, according to the Associated Press.
Shelly Sterling said when she first inquired about the Ferrari, her husband, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s last year, told her he bought it so Stiviano could drive him around, Courthouse News Service reported. In court, he said he “deserved” to have it and that he put it under Stiviano’s name to keep himself out of trouble. “I didn’t want her to kill someone and I would be sued,” he said.
Donald Sterling also admitted he paid for the house, though Stiviano claimed she had contributed some savings, according to the Associated Press. Sterling argued that his ex-girlfriend didn’t have “50 cents.”
“She has no money. We’re talking about someone who’s indigent, on relief,” he testified, according to Courthouse News Service. “Her whole family is indigent; all 30 of them are on state aid.”
Stiviano’s attorney argued that the disputed gifts were given to Stiviano when Donald and Shelly Sterling were apart and that the wife could not now seek to recover them from a third party, namely, Stiviano, the Associated Press reported. The judge, however, didn’t go for it.
Here is a sample of those gifts — some quite petty — via the Los Angeles Times:
•$1.8 million — Spanish-style duplex•$1.2 million — cash (total)•$400,000 — cars (Ferrari, two Bentleys and Range Rover)•$10,420 — two Chanel flapbags•$5,333 — Cartier love bracelet•$4,570 — Louis Vuitton suitcase•$1,051 — Manolo Blahnik shoes•$925 — dry cleaning•$843 — skin treatment•$695 — Chanel thong sandals•$391 — Easter bunny costume•$354 — birthday cake•$299 — two-speed blender•$140 — Kobe 8 System Nike basketball shoes•$12 — lace thong•$1 — donation to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital as part of a purchase at a CVS store.
For whatever it’s worth, Stiviano said that her more than 2½ year relationship with Donald Sterling was not based on a romance. She referred to him as a father figure — and a lover, the Associated Press reported.
“I did not have a romantic relationship. We developed a relationship of love,” Stiviano said in court, Courthouse News Service reported. “He told me he loved me this Sunday when we last spoke.”