Like His Business Dealings, Donald Sterling's Personal Life Has Been Equally as Fraught

Billionaire Donald Sterling's children should have been leading charmed lives. Sadly things don't always turn out as planned.

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Jun. 4 2024, Published 10:23 p.m. ET

Former LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling
Source: Getty Images

According to Business Insider, the children of billionaires spend their time building what could be the world's most robust Tinder profile. Everything they do seems primed for a swipe right and by all accounts, they've almost reached stereotype levels. For example, Jennifer Gates, Eve Jobs, and Georgina Bloomberg are all accomplished equestrian riders. It's the wealthy lady equivalent of holding up an enormous fish.

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What about the older offspring of the ultra-rich who didn't grow up in the age of social media? They had a certain amount of freedom not afforded to today's financially comfortable youth. Donald Sterling, who made his money off of sketchy real estate deals before eventually purchasing the Clippers, has three children and they have remained largely out of the public eye apart from the occasional pop-up. Who are they? Here's what we know.

(L-R): Shelly Sterling and Donald Sterling
Source: Getty Images
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Donald Sterling has three children with his wife Rochelle Sterling. Are they still married?

In August 2015, People reported that Rochelle "Shelly" Sterling filed for divorce from Donald after more than 60 years together. Although this was on the heels of a scandal involving leaked recordings of Donald saying racist things about Black people, it had been 20 years in the making. Apparently, Shelly's attorneys were constantly telling her it simply wasn't time. Well, when is the right time to divorce your adulterer, racist spouse?

Perhaps the straw that broke the marriage camel's back was Donald's affair with 31-year-old V. Stiviano who eventually recorded his racist comments. A little over a year before filing for divorce, Shelly sued Stiviano and claimed she was a "serial seductress of rich old men." Shelly then demanded that Stiviano return "four luxury vehicles, $240,000 in cash, and a $1.8-million house."

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Although the lawsuit painted Shelly and Donald's marriage as perfectly happy, many say they were just married on paper. She was allegedly aware of his affairs, like the one with Alexandro Casto in 1999. She said that at one point, the three of them went to see a movie together where Donald held Shelly's hand the entire time.

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It's unclear why Shelly was suddenly angry. Many speculate that it had something to do with the fact that Stiviano was at games and appeared to have great sway over Donald. The courts agreed with Shelly and in April 2015, they ordered Stiviano to pay back $2.6 million, per CNN. Eventually Shelly ended the divorce proceedings. The couple remains married to this day. What about their children?

Donald and Shelly Sterling have three children together.

Not much is known about the Sterling children growing up but Shelly told ABC News in May 2014 that their life was somewhat chaotic. Donald wasn't home very often and when he was, he could be "emotionally abusive and verbally abusive." She went on to say that, "There were a few incidents, but nothing of great magnitude." She didn't specify whether or not he was violent towards their three children.

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The couple share two sons and a daughter, one of whom, Chris Sterling, has stayed out of the public eye entirely. Their daughter, Joanna Sterling Miller, gave one statement after her father's racist comments came to light, per the New York Post. "I am devastated and saddened by the cruel and insensitive comments expressed in these audio tapes," she said.

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The person who really condemned Donald's actions was Joanna's husband Eric Miller, who was the director of operations for the Clippers. Eric said in a statement, "There is no room in sports or society in general, for racism." He also added that it didn't matter to him if his feelings on the matter cost him his job.

One tragic story in the Sterling family tree is that of their son Scott Sterling, who passed away from a drug overdose on Dec. 31, 2012, per the Los Angeles Times. The 32-year-old was living in Malibu where he was known and loved by many. "Everybody knew him here, he was here every single day," Malibu Fitness owner Lonnie Galate told The Malibu Times. A friend who wished to remain anonymous told the outlet that he had just run into Scott a few days before and he looked really good.

To add even more tragedy, Scott had been arrested in 1999 for shooting his friend Philip Scheid "twice in the legs after an argument outside of Donald Sterling’s Beverly Hills residence," per The Malibu Times. Hundreds of people attended his funeral in January 2013. One friend said, "I don’t think he realized the amount of people he touched."

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