Born in 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa, Musk was the eldest of three children. His mother, Maye Musk, is a Canadian model who’s appeared on the cover of Time and became a CoverGirl spokesperson at 69. His father Errol is an engineer.
Musk told Rolling Stone he’s struggled with loneliness since childhood. “When I was a child, there’s one thing I said,” Musk said. “‘I never want to be alone.'”
Source: Rolling Stone, Insider
Overall, Musk’s childhood was far from idyllic. He was ruthlessly bullied in school, and even ended up hospitalized after his tormentors shoved him down a staircase. Soon after his parents split, around 1979, Musk went to live with his father, Errol — Musk told Rolling Stone that they are now estranged.
Source: Insider, Rolling Stone
Musk is seemingly still close with his brother, Kimbal, and sister, Tosca. All of the Musk siblings seemingly share an entrepreneurial streak: Kimbal is seeking to make the food industry more sustainable and healthy, while Tosca launched the romance-film network Passionflix.
Musk also seems to have a good relationship with his mother. Vanity Fair reported that he gifted Maye with a green Tesla, and she moved to California in 2013 to be closer to her children and grandchildren. She also appeared on Saturday Night Live when Elon Musk hosted in May 2021 and accompanied him to the Met Gala in 2022.
recalled that Musk invited her out for ice cream. She decided to stay in to study, but he showed up with “two chocolate-chip ice cream cones dripping down his hands.”
Musk transferred to Wharton, but kept sending Justine roses. They went their separate ways, but reconnected as Musk started working on his first startup and Justine started working on her first novel after graduation. Justine said Musk wooed her by giving her his credit card to buy as many books as she wanted. The pair tied the knot in 2000.
The couple moved to Los Angeles and had a son named Nevada, who they lost to SIDS. They ultimately had twins and triplets — five kids in total. In 2010, Musk has called his children “the love of my life.”
Source: Insider, Insider, Insider
The couple split in 2008. After his divorce, Musk began dating actress Talulah Riley.
While Musk and his first wife became estranged, Justine wrote in Marie Claire that she and Riley ended up getting along very well. She even sent her ex-husband’s girlfriend an email saying: “I would rather live out the French-movie version of things, in which the two women become friends and various philosophies are pondered.”
Riley and Musk married in 2010. Two years later, news of their divorce became public when Musk tweeted at Riley: “It was an amazing four years. I will love you forever. You will make someone very happy one day.”
The couple remarried in 2013. Musk filed for — then withdrew — a second divorce petition the following year.
In 2016, Riley filed for divorce from Musk, and the divorce was finalized in late 2016. The two are still on good terms, however — Riley even made an appearance during Musk’s Rolling Stone profile in 2017. “We still see each other all the time and take care of each other,” she told People.
Source: Rolling Stone, People
Musk began dating actress Amber Heard in 2016, but they broke up a year later due to their intense schedules.
Source: The Cut, Rolling Stone
In a comment on one of Heard’s Instagram posts, Musk said he and his ex were “still friends, remain close and love one another,” and added, “who knows what the future holds.” He later told Rolling Stone: “I was really in love, and it hurt bad.”
Source: Rolling Stone, The Cut
In May 2018, Musk arrived at the annual Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art alongside Grimes, a Canadian musician. At the time, Page Six reported that the pair had been “quietly dating” for a few weeks.
Grimes and Musk met over Twitter. Musk was planning to make a joke about artificial intelligence — specifically, about the Rococo Basilisk character in her “Flesh Without Blood” video — and discovered she had beaten him to the punch.
Musk later told The Wall Street Journal that he loves Grimes for her “wild fae artistic creativity and hyper intense work ethic.”
Source: The Wall Street Journal
In January 2020, Grimes posted a photo to her Instagram and Twitter accounts that appeared to show her pregnant. She later confirmed she was expecting a baby with Musk.
Source: Instagram, Insider
On May 4, 2020, Musk announced the birth of their son, who he and Grimes named “X Æ A-Xii Musk,” seemingly pronounced “X Ash A-12.” “Mom & baby all good,” Musk wrote on Twitter.
That December, Musk said that he had moved to Texas following a months-long fight with the state of California over coronavirus lockdown restrictions. It appeared that Grimes and baby X had moved with him, and in March, he shared a family photo taken near SpaceX’s facilities in South Texas.
—Elon Musk (@elonmusk)
March 8, 2021
Source: Insider, Insider
But in September 2021, Musk told Page Six that he and Grimes had broken up. “It’s mostly that my work at SpaceX and Tesla requires me to be primarily in Texas or traveling overseas and her work is primarily in LA,” Musk said at the time.
But the pair continued to co-parent, and in March 2022, Grimes revealed in a Vanity Fair interview that the couple had secretly had a baby girl via surrogate named Exa Dark Sideræl Musk.
Grimes said “Exa” is a reference to the supercomputing term exaflops, “Dark” is about the unknown, and “Sideræl” is an “elven” spelling of sidereal, meaning “the true time of the universe,” pronounced “sigh-deer-ee-el.” Grimes and Musk call her Y for short.
Grimes told Vanity Fair that she and Musk aren’t back together, but their relationship is “very fluid,” and they plan to have more children together.
In April 2022, Musk’s 18-year-old daughter, who is transgender, applied to legally change her name to confirm her gender identity and to distance herself from Musk. In the filing, she wrote that she no longer wishes to live with or to be “related to my biological father in any way, shape or form.”
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly to Grimes. After Musk tweeted that “pronouns suck” in 2020, Grimes responded in a since-deleted tweet: “I cannot support hate. Please stop this.”
In July, Insider reported that Musk had had twins with Shivon Zilis, an executive at Musk’s brain chip company Neuralink, in November 2021.
—Business Insider (@BusinessInsider)
July 6, 2022
Musk has been open about his concerns over population decline, and after the news came out, he tweeted that he’s “doing my best to help the under-population crisis.”
Source: Elon Musk/Twitter
Soon after, another bombshell dropped: The Wall Street Journal reported that Musk had reportedly had an affair with Nicole Shanahan, the wife of his longtime friend, Google cofounder Sergey Brin.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
The Journal reported that Brin had filed for divorce from Shanahan in January 2022 after learning of the affair, but Musk denied the affair had ever happened, calling the report “total BS.” Shanahan’s lawyer told Page Six that the report was “an outright lie.”
Musk’s professional life is likely taking up most of him these days. He bought Twitter in October following months of back and forth that left the future of the company in limbo. Since then, he’s fired top executives, laid off employees en masse, sparred with celebrities and politicians, and instituted new expectations of 80-hour workweeks, even installing bedrooms at Twitter headquarters.
Source: Insider, Insider, Insider, Insider
Áine Cain contributed to an earlier version of this article.
His leadership at Twitter has seen its share of controversy. He polled Twitter users in December about whether he should step down as CEO, with 57.5% voting in favor of him leaving the top post.
He also seemed to acknowledge some of his missteps at Twitter on the “All-In” podcast that month, and has since been sued by Twitter’s landlords over unpaid rent. Twitter staff at the Chelsea office in New York have also encountered cockroaches in the showers there, and employees have complained about cleanliness and smell issues after Musk cut back on facilities staff.
He did bring in his toddler son, “X,” his child with the musician Grimes, for a trip to Twitter’s office in San Francisco.
In December, Musk was seen attending the World Cup final in Qatar with Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of former President Donald Trump. His tweets from the match prompted quips that he had revealed his own location after booting off a number of journalists from the platform after they shared about a Twitter account that showed his private jet’s travel details.
Musk also has indicated his apparent support for right-wing politics, saying the Democratic Party has “become the party of division & hate.” Musk has also posted about right-wing conspiracy theories about the attacker who assaulted Nancy Pelosi’s husband, and tweeted negatively about news outlets. He’s said, for instance, that Twitter “is also a competitor to legacy media for news, so they are fundamentally conflicted” in reporting on his social media platform.
Musk took the stand this year in a civil trial against him over claims by Tesla investors that he misled them and hurt the company’s stock. The trial centered on a 2018 tweet in which Musk said that he had “funding secured” to take his electric carmaker private at $420 a share. But the jury cleared Musk over the tweet, which he celebrated by tweeting that “the wisdom of the people has prevailed!”
Super Bowl in February with news mogul Rupert Murdoch. He tweeted as a joke that the two were talking about Dogecoin, a crypto currency evoking the Shiba Inu “Doge” meme. Dogecoin got a brief 5% boost after Musk’s joke.