The Disturbing Sugar Daddy/Sugar Baby Relationship Between Donald Sterling and V. Stiviano (and How You Can Learn From It)

Sugar Daddy Donald Sterling and V. StivianoBy now, you’ve prob­a­bly heard all about L.A. Clip­pers owner Don­ald Ster­ling, 80, and the audio of him allegedly mak­ing racist com­ments and con­demn­ing his so-called girl­friend, V. Sti­viano, for post­ing pic­tures of her­self with minori­ties and bring­ing them to his team’s games. While the younger woman admits to record­ing the con­ver­sa­tion, her attor­ney main­tains that she did not release the audio tape, which is allegedly only a 15-minute seg­ment of an hour-long conversation.

Don­ald Ster­ling is a well-known fig­ure in the NBA, but who is this younger woman at the cen­ter of the scan­dal? Lit­tle is known about V. Sti­viano, who’s believed to be 31 (although some sources claim she’s even younger), or how she and Don­ald Ster­ling really met. But this whole story makes for a few good lessons for other sugar babies. Try and stay with us as we break it down for you.

Be aware of the whole sit­u­a­tion and don’t be naïve about it.

Although they have been sep­a­rated for years, Don­ald Ster­ling is still legally mar­ried to his estranged wife, Rochelle, some­thing V. Sti­viano likely knew before she got involved with the older man. In March 2014, Sterling’s wife filed a law­suit against V. Sti­viano, claim­ing that the younger woman was hav­ing a long-standing affair with her hus­band, and that she allegedly dupes rich older men, like Don­ald Ster­ling, into spend­ing their money on her.

Accord­ing to the legal doc­u­ments, Mrs. Ster­ling claimed that her hus­band used their money to buy his sugar baby expen­sive gifts, includ­ing two Bent­leys, a Fer­rari, a Range Rover, a $1.8 mil­lion duplex, and hun­dreds of thou­sands in cash.

If you’re going to date or receive gifts from a rich older man who hap­pens to have a wife, be aware of the impli­ca­tions. Although Don­ald Ster­ling and his wife have been sep­a­rated, they’re still legally mar­ried, which means she still has rights over her share of his money. The les­son here is to always know what you’re get­ting into and who you’re going to have to go up against—which takes us into our next lesson.

Be clear about the nature of your rela­tion­ship or agreement.

When the scan­dal first went pub­lic, V. Stiviano’s attor­ney said that she, nor her rep­re­sen­ta­tion, has ever claimed that she “is, or ever was, Mr. Sterling’s girl­friend.” V. Sti­viano called her­self Don­ald Sterling’s “archivist,” which is why she was tap­ing all of their con­ver­sa­tions. The younger woman has also been listed as a direc­tor for his char­i­ta­ble foundation.

older_man_younger_woman_april29_14_2How­ever, Don­ald Sterling’s wife clearly dis­agrees. In her court doc­u­ments, she referred to his affair with V. Sti­viano as being “nei­ther [a] hid­den, clos­eted, nor a clan­des­tine ‘affair,’” and that it was “open, noto­ri­ous, obvi­ous and long stand­ing.” In V. Stiviano’s own legal doc­u­ments, she admits that Don­ald Ster­ling used her as a prop at games to show off his “sex­ual prowess.” And in the alleged audio record­ings of V. Stiviano’s con­ver­sa­tion with Don­ald Ster­ling, she says, “And you’re in love with me.” So, is she or is she not his sugar baby?

When enter­ing a rela­tion­ship with a sugar daddy, whether it’s casual or monog­a­mous, it’s impor­tant to make your expec­ta­tions known from the begin­ning. Both you and your sugar daddy need to be on the same page about what the nature of your rela­tion­ship is going to be—and you would both abide by those agreed upon expec­ta­tions in ideal cir­cum­stances. If not, you’ll end up with a messy sit­u­a­tion like this scan­dal with Don­ald Ster­ling and V. Stiviano.

Set your own sugar daddy standards.

This goes back to the whole idea of know­ing what you’re get­ting into. Every sugar baby should have her own stan­dards of what she is and isn’t will­ing to accept in a rela­tion­ship and in a part­ner. And it’s impor­tant that your sugar daddy is in accord with that per­sonal moral code. Are you will­ing to date a man with a wife? Do you accept how he con­ducts him­self and his busi­ness? Are you will­ing to play dirty to get what you want?

These are just a cou­ple of the ques­tions you should be ask­ing yourself.

In order to find out who he really is, you need to do your research, and then use that infor­ma­tion to decide if he’s some­one you really want to asso­ciate with.

Back in 2003, Don­ald Ster­ling and his wife sued one of his for­mer mis­tresses in an attempt to recover some prop­erty that he had given her. Ster­ling ini­tially denied the affair, but later admit­ted to pay­ing the pros­ti­tute in exchange for sex. In a sworn depo­si­tion, the bil­lion­aire revealed a glimpse of his char­ac­ter when he referred to the woman as a “piece of trash” who would harass him for sex, clar­i­fy­ing that the money he gave her was never a gift. “It wasn’t a gift. I wasn’t giv­ing her money with­out her per­form­ing some­thing for me. And if it wasn’t good, I wouldn’t give her anything.”

Then, in Novem­ber 2009, Don­ald Sterling’s char­ac­ter was again ques­tioned when he was ordered to pay $2.73 mil­lion in a set­tle­ment over alle­ga­tions that he refused to rent his apart­ments to His­panic or African-American tenants.

V. Sti­viano more than likely knew exactly what type of man Don­ald Ster­ling was when she allegedly started dat­ing him four years ago. Going back to this lat­est scan­dal with the audio record­ings, some peo­ple are spec­u­lat­ing that V. Sti­viano set Don­ald Ster­ling up so that she could reap the ben­e­fits of expos­ing him. That has yet to be proven, but the point here is that she knew what she was get­ting into and she pre­sum­ably decided that it was in line with her own moral com­pass. And that’s why this is all play­ing out the way it has.

UPDATE: It has since been proven that Don­ald Ster­ling was, in fact, the male voice on the leaked audio tapes, and as a result, he has been banned for life from the NBA. That means he can’t attend any games, be present in any Clip­pers facil­i­ties, or par­tic­i­pate in any of the deci­sion mak­ing for the team or the league. Ster­ling has also been fined $2.5 mil­lion, which will be donated to sev­eral anti-discrimination and tol­er­ance efforts. NBA Com­mis­sioner, Adam Sil­ver, who handed down the strong rebuke, is still fight­ing to force Don­ald Ster­ling into sell­ing the team, thereby remov­ing him com­pletely from the NBA.

What do you think: What’s your take on the whole Don­ald Ster­ling and V. Sti­viano scandal?


Coscarelli, J., “Every­thing You Need to Know About V. Sti­viano, the Woman Who Recorded Don­ald Sterling’s Racism,” New York Mag­a­zine web site, April 28, 2014;

“High­lights From Don­ald Sterling’s Dirty Depo­si­tion,” The Smok­ing Gun web site, April 28, 2014;

“V. Sti­viano: I Was Sterling’s Sugar Baby For 4 Years,” TMZ web site, April 28, 2014;

Photo Cred­its: s_bukley / (Don­ald Ster­ling), Insta­gram (V. Stiviano)