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Who is V. Stiviano, and what's her connection to the Donald Sterling story?

NBA plans Tuesday news conference on Sterling

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In this photo taken on Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, right, and V. Stiviano, left, watch the Clippers play the Sacramento Kings during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles. The NBA is investigating a report of an audio recording in which a man purported to be Sterling makes racist remarks while speaking to Stiviano. NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement Saturday, April 26, 2014, that the league is in the process of authenticating the validity of the recording posted on TMZ's website. Bass called the comments "disturbing and offensive." (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

We already know plenty about Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, by the numbers the worst owner in major professional sports and the target of a torrent of lawsuits regarding his off-court business dealings and conduct. But what about the other alleged voice on the tape? What do we know about V. Stiviano, Sterling's frequent guest at Clippers games?

Her real name is Vivian. Perhaps. Stiviano changed her name from Vanessa Maria Perez in 2010, claiming in court filings that she had not "yet been fully accepted because of my race." She claims to be of both Hispanic and African-American descent."One day I will look back at Instagram & say,'I've been there & I've done that.' I do it all," she says on her Instagram page, billing herself as "Artist,Lover,Writer,Chef,Poet, Stylist, Philanthropist." Of note: a lawsuit filed against her by Sterling's wife (more on this later) names her as "V Stiviano, aka Vanessa Maria Perez, aka Monica Gallegos, aka Maria Monica Perez Gallegos, aka Maria Valdez.”

She's a social-media maven. The popularity of her Instagram page, the source of this latest controversy, has exploded, and now stands at more than 144,000 followers. That makes this a bad time for her website to be simply a parked GoDaddy domain.

She is the target of a lawsuit from Sterling's wife. Most of the information about the 31-year-old Stiviano derives from court papers related to a lawsuit filed by the 80-year-old Sterling's estranged wife Rochelle. The lawsuit, filed in March, claims that Sterling met Stiviano at the Super Bowl in 2010, and that Stiviano “engages in conduct designed to target, befriend, seduce and then entice, cajole, borrow from, cheat and/or receive as gifts transfers of wealth from wealthy older men.” The suit charges that Rochelle Sterling believed the $1.8 million duplex in which Stiviano now resides was being purchased in the Sterlings' names, and that Stiviano has received gifts including four cars (two Bentleys, one Ferrari, and one Range Rover) and about $240,000 in "living expenses." The allegation, then, is that Donald Sterling gave Stiviano about $2 million in community property without Rochelle Sterling's knowledge.

She claims she didn't release the tape to TMZ. Stiviano's attorney, Mac Nehoray, said in a statement that Stiviano "did not release the tape to any news media. Due to the present litigation [from Rochelle Sterling] and its absurd allegations, which Ms. Stiviano vehemently denies, Ms. Stiviano and this office have no comments at this time.”

She hasn't admitted to being Sterling's girlfriend. "Neither Ms. Stiviano, nor this office has ever alleged that Ms. Stiviano is, or ever was, Mr. Sterling's girlfriend," Nehoray said in a statement. Stiviano further countered Rochelle Sterling's claims that she bewitched Sterling, saying in court papers that it was absurd to believe 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." However, she has been listed as a director of the Donald T. Sterling Foundation

 The lady loves her hashtags. Take a look at this photo, one of many of Stiviano in front of a Clippers logo:

In the comments to this photo, she added the hashtags "#laclippers #losangelesclippers#clippers clippernation #lobcity #cityofangel #losangeles #nba #sports #basketball #love #newartist #artist #angel #oscardelarenta #louisvuitton #chanel #davidyurman #rolex #cartier #i_am_other "BECAUSE IM HAPPY" @pharrell #vstiviano" Sweet heaven. That's more than 20 different hashtags, and that's a crime against social media.

Donald Trump believes she's partly responsible for this. On "Fox and Friends," Trump called Sterling's comments "terrible and despicable." But he went further: "He got set up by a very, very bad girlfriend, let’s face it. She’s called ‘the girlfriend from hell.’"


Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter.

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