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“I never liked the spotlight. I didn’t like to get up and speak,” she said. “But you don’t know your potential until you’re thrown into something.”

She was thrown into the center of a publicity maelstrom with the release of explosive audio tapes of her husband denouncing his young girlfriend for bringing black men, including former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson, to Clippers games.

She declined to discuss details about her legal battle with V. Stiviano, the woman who released the tapes.

“I think it was very unfortunate that she would have done what she did,” Sterling said, adding: “She ruined our lives for our whole family.”

Once Ballmer’s offer was accepted the drama moved to probate court. Sterling had removed her husband from the family trust saying he was suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Doctors testified but he insisted he was in full control of his faculties. When she tried to approach him in court he growled, “Get away from me, you pig.”

It was a painful moment in a 59-year marriage and she said he has since apologized. She blames his illness.

The marriage has had rough patches, she said, and they have been estranged since the death of their diabetic son from a drug overdose last year.

She remembered their high school romance when “he crashed my 16th birthday party,” and the years they spent building a real estate empire with 160 apartment buildings in Los Angeles.

Asked if she knew her husband was unfaithful to her over the years, she said: “I can’t say if I was blind to it or I didn’t know to ask. I was raising my three kids and I was very involved in taking care of the buildings … There were always excuses that he was working with one girl or another. Maybe I didn’t want to realize it. “

She considered divorcing Donald but was told by lawyers: “It was of no benefit.”

“What’s the point at our age?” she said. “I still feel sorry for him. I think he’s going to make it right and he’ll be OK. “

These days, she said, “We’re on better terms. We try not to talk about the case. We have a business together so we have to talk.”

Asked about his mental condition, she said, “He’s been a little better, a little sweeter and softer. Losing the team he loved was very hard on him,” she said. “But I’ll always feel it’s our team.”