As the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, Elon Musk is a polarizing public figure. Many of his silly quirks and outright meltdowns occur in the open for everyone to see. At the same time, he’s a rich eccentric who keeps many aspects of his personal life quite secret.
While Musk has made headlines for his relationship with Canadian pop singer Grimes, and for naming their newborn son X Æ A-12, you may be surprised to learn that Musk has been married three times and has had six previous children. Once you learn the secrets about these previous marriages, you’ll never look the same at Elon Musk again.
Don’t believe it? We’ve got all the secrets of Elon Musk’s marriages and ex-wives so you can judge for yourself!
Elon Musk met his first wife Justine Wilson in college
Elon Musk met his first wife, Canadian writer Justine Wilson, before he made his millions. They were both undergraduate students at Queen’s University in Ontario, and Musk pursued her relentlessly. They got married in 2000, a year after Musk sold his first start-up Zip2 for $20 million.
Wilson described their relationship in an essay for Marie Claire called “I Was a Starter Wife.” Two months after the wedding, Musk asked Wilson to sign a postnuptial agreement. She did, believing they were “soul mates” and would never get divorced.
Later, she regretted the decision, writing that she “effectively signed away all my rights as a married person.”
Wilson claims Musk treated her like an employee
As you might imagine, Musk has a really overbearing personality. He tried to boss Wilson around on more than one occasion, including ordering his brunette wife to “Go platinum,” which she refused to do.
Wilson revealed in Marie Claire she felt like more of a “trophy wife” than a partner. “I wanted equality. I wanted partnership. I wanted to love and be loved, the way we had before he made all his millions.”
Wilson says she repeatedly reminded Musk, “I am your wife, not your employee” when he criticized her.
Musk would constantly reply, “If you were my employee, I’d fire you.”
Tragedy strikes Musk’s marriage after PayPal sale
Wilson gave birth to her and Musk’s first baby, a son named Nevada Alexander, in 2002. Soon after, eBay bought PayPal. Suddenly, Musk was worth $100 million. But just as their life was at its high point, tragedy struck. Within a week of PayPal’s sale, Nevada tragically died of SIDS, at just 10 weeks old.
Wilson and Musk dealt with their grief differently. Musk “made it clear that he did not want to talk about Nevada’s death,” Wilson wrote. Meanwhile, Wilson grieved opening, which Musk went so far as to call it “emotionally manipulative.”
Musk and Wilson had five more children together
Wilson says they tried to get pregnant again as quickly as possible. Using IVF treatments, they had a pair of twins and a set of triplets within five years. Twins Griffin and Xavier were born in 2004, and triplets Damian, Saxon and Kai were born in 2006.
But Nevada’s death still affected her greatly and she fell into depression. Unhappy with their married, she got Musk to agree to go to marriage counseling. But after three sessions, it became clear they were at a breaking point.
Musk filed for divorce in 2008. “I felt numb, but strangely relieved,” Wilson wrote.
Talulah Riley: the wife so nice Musk married her twice
While Musk “only” has two ex-wives, he’s actually been married three times. How does that happen? Simple: he married his second wife twice!
You might say that Musk rushed into marriage to his second wife, English actress Talulah Riley. After all, he proposed to her just a few weeks after filing for divorce from Wilson in 2008. Musk and Riley officially tied the knot in 2010.
Whether because they rushed in or were never compatible to begin with, Musk and Riley’s marriage ended in divorce in 2012.
Musk told Forbes, “We took some time apart for several months to see if absence makes the heart grow fonder, and unfortunately it did not. I still love her, but I’m not in love with her. And I can’t really give her what she wants.”
That might have been the end, but clearly Musk was having trouble getting over Riley. The two got married again in 2013. Their second marriage lasted a bit longer, but they ended up getting divorced for good in 2016.
Musk rebounds with Amber Heard
If the idea of proposing marriage right after filing for divorce didn’t give it away, Elon Musk is someone who rushes into rebound relationships at light speed. His second wife was a rebound, and he wasted no time moving on after their 2016 divorce.
Shortly after that divorce, he began dating actress Amber Heard just as her marriage to Johnny Depp was falling apart. Musk and Heard dated for about two years before calling it quits.
Musk seemed to rush into a rebound again. He began dating his current partner, Canadian pop singer Grimes, less than a year after breaking up with Heard.
Apparently, Musk has never heard that only fools rush in. Then again, rushing into things has worked out pretty well in his professional life (failed mini-submarine notwithstanding).
A taste for celebrities
Musk’s relationship with Justine Wilson was pretty straightforward: they were college sweethearts who supported each other through major life events like school, parenthood, and multiple new businesses.
After Musk told Justine he was engaged to Talulah Riley, Justine mused, “At least she wasn’t blonde. I found that refreshing.” While he may not always go for blondes, we do know one thing about Musk: he has a taste for celebrities!
Following his first divorce, Musk married one famous actress, dated another, and then dated a famous musician. A cynical person might conclude that his desire for a trophy wife never really went away.
Marriage to Musk is a full-time job
While we’re focusing on Musk’s ex-wives, there are a few things we can learn from his current relationship. In fact, Grimes said something that really made Musk’s other relationships very clear.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Grimes told the magazine that being with Musk had “overwritten so much of my life’s work.” The implication was that being so focused on her relationship kept her from focusing on her career. And that relationship certainly caused a large delay between albums for the famous pop star.
Musk’s marriage to Talulah Riley tells a similar story. She was a very prolific actress, but after re-marrying Musk in 2013, she had very few roles until 2015 and 2016… in other words, until her marriage to Musk was winding down.
In fact, this goes all the way back to his first wife Justine, who demanded marriage counseling because “I didn’t want to be a sideline player in the multimillion-dollar spectacle of my husband’s life.”
The truth seems clear: marriage to Musk is a full-time job in and of itself!
Musk says he hates sleeping alone
It’s easy to judge Musk for rushing into celebrity marriages. However, he is driven by a pathos that might make even his harshest critics pity him.
In his own Rolling Stone interview, a surprisingly-introspective Musk said, “If I’m not in love, if I’m not with a long-term companion, I cannot be happy. I will never be happy without having someone. Going to sleep alone kills me.”
For all of his fame and fortune, Elon Musk is a man who fears being alone. And he rushes into relationships of convenience because that means spending less time feeling lonely.
Will Elon Musk marry Grimes?
Musk and Grimes made their public debut as a couple at the Met Gala in May 2018. They reportedly met on Twitter a few months before that. Musk wanted to tweet an artificial intelligence joke about the Rococo Basilisk character in Grimes’ “Flesh Without Blood” music video, and found that she had already made the joke herself!
The relationship seemed to hit a rough patch that summer when the couple unfollowed each other on Instagram, and Musk unfollowed Grimes on Twitter. But by October, he had re-followed her on Twitter and the pair seemed as committed as ever.
Grimes revealed she was pregnant with their child early this year.
Grimes gave birth to their son on May 4, 2020.
Despite having a child together, Musk and Grimes have yet to officially tie the knot. With any luck, these two will enjoy a lifetime of making each other happy.