V. Stiviano, the personal assistant of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, says she isn't his mistress. She's his "silly rabbit," she said to ABC News' Barbara Walters in an exclusive interview Friday, talking of her relationship with the 81-year-old. Stiviano also discussed perceived misconceptions about her role in the leak of the recording on which Sterling is heard making racists remarks and what she thinks of the backlash he has faced.
Stiviano said the biggest misconception about her is that she is Sterling's mistress, instead saying that she's his personal assistant. “I’m Mr. Sterling’s right-hand arm man. I’m Mr. Sterling’s everything. I’m his confidant, his best friend, his silly rabbit,” said Stiviano. When pressed by Walters to explain just what being a “silly rabbit” entails, Stiviano laughed. “That’s what I call myself. I joke around and I make him laugh. I do things that some people find very silly,” said Stiviano. “Sometimes people can’t understand.”
When Walters asked Stiviano if she was in love with Sterling, Stiviano said no. “I love him. I love him like a father figure. I love him like, just like a father figure,” she said.
Asked if she thinks Sterling is a racist, Stiviano said, “I don’t believe it in my heart.... I think the things he says are not what he feels. Anyone can say anything in the heat of the moment.”
Although Stiviano admitted she had heard Sterling make offensive comments regarding race before, she maintained he was not racist. “I think Mr. Sterling is from a different generation than from the one I am. I think he was brought up to believe those things … segregation, whites and blacks,” said Stiviano. “Through his actions, he’s shown he’s not a racist. Through his actions, he’s shown to be a generous and kind man.
Confused, I think he feels very alone. Not truly supported by those around him,” Stiviano said. Although Stiviano told Walters that she thinks Sterling should apologize for his comments, she doesn’t know if he will. “Only God knows,” she said.
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Stiviano explained that her famous headwear was a way to hide from the intense media scrutiny of the last week. "I'm hurting. I'm in pain," Stiviano said. "It hurts to see someone that you care about hurting. It hurts to see people speculate, assume, say - throw darts at you when they don't know you, when they don't know your story, when they don't know the truth - all based on hearsay and assumptions. It hurts. It's easier to mask the pain."