V. Stiviano, the 31-year-old woman at the center of the Donald Sterling scandal, grew up in a poor Mexican household in Texas, changed her name because of her race, and had plastic surgery in an effort to seek fame, fortune, and acceptance in Los Angeles, according to a report by the Daily Mail.
Following the NBA's lifetime ban issued to Sterling, the 81-year-old Los Angeles Clippers owner, the world's attention has shifted to the woman who recorded his racist rants. Today, Stiviano lives in a $1.8 million condo in an upscale L.A. neighborhood, owns a bright red Ferrari, two Bentleys, and a Range Rover – all thanks to Sterling.
But before meeting Sterling, Stiviano was raised in Section 8 housing in San Antonio by her jobless Mexican mother who, according to the MailOnline, was once convicted of using three of her kids to help her steal $113 from a supermarket. At some point before graduating high school, Stiviano moved from Texas to L.A., had plastic surgery to fix skin problems she had in her teens and changed her name, from Maria Vanessa Perez to V. Stiviano, citing a personal tragedy that affected her childhood and the rest of her life.
Court documents obtained by MailOnline allegedly prove Stiviano changed her name because she had not "yet been fully accepted because of my race."
V. Stiviano, as she prefers to be called, says she is half Black and half Mexican. Stiviano had a tough childhood. Her mother, Martha Perez, struggled to put food on the table and married a construction work named Guillermo Beltran.
Things got so bad that in 2002, when Stiviano was 19, her mother was arrested and convicted of theft for using her three kids to try to steal a shopping cart full of groceries. It is unclear, according to the MailOnline, if Stiviano was one of the three children.
Stiviano graduated from East Los Angeles high school in 2001, ironically the same school Sterling and his estranged wife Rochelle graduated from. She then had plastic surgery and began modeling.
Stiviano allegedly met Sterling for the first time at the Super Bowl in 2010.
Since then, she has posted photos of her luxurious lifestyle on Instagram – amassing more than 170,000 followers. Photos show her scuba diving in South Beach and posing in front of the Clippers logo.
Stiviano and her lawyer maintain that they did not provide the tape recordings to TMZ.
But Stiviano’s Instagram is peppered with hints posted weeks ago that big news was coming for her followers. Captions on photos read: "It's all coming out!" It doesn't matter if your (sic) brown or white, as long as: Your (sic) not black."
Sterling's wife, Rochelle, filed a lawsuit last month accusing Stiviano of having an affair with her husband and targeting wealthy older men.
Stiviano has accused Sterling’s wife of enabling her husband's cheating.