Shelly Sterling: Donald Sterling Has 'Onset of Dementia'

Barbara Walters exclusive: Clippers owner's estranged wife says she will fight to keep the team.
6:51 | 05/12/14

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Transcript for Shelly Sterling: Donald Sterling Has 'Onset of Dementia'
The notorious Donald sterling finally went public with an%,'├▒ apology for his racist rant tonight. But he may have dug himself into an even deeper hole with new remarks about magic Johnson. Well, what kind of a guy goes to every city, has sex with every girl, then he catches HIV and -- is that someone we want to respect and tell our kids about? He told CNN's Anderson cooper all this while his embattled wife spoke one on one with our Barbara Walters. Tonight shelly sterling reveals the final straw that's leading them to divorce. After nearly 60 troubled years together. This is the woman at the heart of a racial firestorm. Are you a racist, Mr. Sterling? No. Of course not. Shelly sterling. Only once has her voice been heard during the turmoil of this scandal. It's not true. Not true? No, of course not. Reporter: Tonight she speaks out about her husband, Donald sterling, billionaire, philanthropist, now accused of racism. Your husband made racist remarks that were recorded on tape. Pictures with minorities. Why? What's wrong with minorities? It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you're associating with black people. Is Donald sterling a racist? I have never heard him say racial things. It was horrible when I heard it. I mean, it was just degrading, and it made me sick to hear it. But as far as a racist, I don't really think he is a racist. Have you discussed these remarks at all with your husband? He saw the tape, and he said, "I don't remember saying that. I don't remember ever saying those things." And I said, well, this is the tape. And he says, I don't remember it. What did you think then? That's when I thought he has dementia. Really? Yeah. Reporter: She and Donald sterling were high school sweethearts. He worked his way through law school at her father's furniture store. For almost 60 years Donald and shelly sterling have shared a life together. But it hasn't always been easy. Do you like your husband? Do you like him or do I love him? I don't love him. I pity him, and I feel sorry for him. Their marriage had often been strained by the other women in his life. There have in the past been women in your husband's life. How did you feel about that? I always thought that maybe it would go away. I was weak in our relationship. In my life I'm very strong. But I was very weak in marriage. What is your relationship today with your husband? We're estranged. We've been estranged for about a year. Will you divorce your husband? For the last 20 years I've been seeing attorneys for a divorce. Really? And on and off and on and off. And in fact, I signed the petition for divorce and came to almost being filed. And then my financial adviser and my attorney said to me, not now. What was the last straw that made you say after all these years I'm out of here? This last few weeks was the worst. And I just couldn't take anymore. Reporter: His most recent companion is V. Stiviano. Nearly 50 years his junior. She was often seen by his side at clippers games. Donald sterling was with her on the day his son Scott passed away. I called up my husband. It was 10:00 at night, new year's day night. And V. Stiviano was at the house when I called him. Reporter: Was she consoling him or just there? She didn't want him to come to my house at that time. He said, I don't think I could come tonight, but I'll be there tomorrow. I just -- and that's when we -- that's when we sort of separated. Reporter: This past March shelly sterling filed a lawsuit against V. Stiviano. Why are you suing her? Because Donald bought her three cars. A ferrari, two bentleys, a range rover. Jewelry. Many things. And I felt I wanted my 50% back. What do you think of V. Stiviano? I really don't want to go there. I think you've answered my question. Shelly sterling believes V. Stiviano leaked those explosive tapes, secret recordings that have now also put Mrs. Sterling under scrutiny. In the past you yourself have settled lawsuits alleging that you too were a racist. It's been said that you told an employee, "You could not remodel my apartment the way I want because Latinos are so filthy." I never in my life ever said that. But you know that people have sued you for making racist remarks. Right. And we've gone to court, and I've won in the court. Reporter: Actually, the sterlings did not win that discrimination lawsuit. Without admitting liability they settled with the justice department and paid a record $2.7 million. There are reports that├║,=h NBA is investigating you for racism based on, quote, evidence they say in which you allegedly did make racist comments. Do you have concerns about the outcome of that investigation? I have no fear because I never said it. I'm not a racist. Reporter: The NBA has now banned her husband from the sport for life. If he is forced to sell the team, the NBA has said that her rights will be terminated as well. Mrs. Sterling, you own 50% of the L.A. Clippers. Well, there are reports that the NBA wants to oust you completely as a team owner. You will fight that decision? I will fight that decision. What does the team mean to you? It means a lot. It's my passion. And I love it. And it's my legacy to my family. We talked about your husband. This is a mess. How are you? At this moment I'm fine. And I will be fine. And I will be strong. I think half the team is mine. And I'll fight for it.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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