Elon Musk is the world’s richest man, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, and the potential owner of one of the worst websites on the internet. Since his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, it appears that no one, or at least no one in the media, can stop talking about him. (“Whereas Donald Trump’s tweets used to determine the Twitter news cycle, Elon Musk now does,” remarked New York Times reporter Katie Rosman.)
How well do you truly know Mr. Musk, despite the constant chatter? Yes, he’s the electric-car guy, one of several space-bound millionaires, and the most cringe-worthy and powerful poster on Twitter. But there’s a lot more to it. (Did you know, for example, that he was bullied as a child? You have it now!) So buckle on, sweetie, because this far from an exhaustive list of Elon Musk facts is going to be a crazy, strange, and frightening trip.
1. Musk considers his father to be “evil.” Elon Musk was born in apartheid-era South Africa in 1971, the son of Errol, who owned a stake in an emerald mine in Zambia at the time. It’s clear to see why Musk and Errol have had such a turbulent relationship throughout his life – they’re currently estranged.
Musk, weeping, told Rolling Stone in 2017: “He was such a terrible human being.” “My father will have devised a well-thought-out nasty scheme. He’ll devise nefarious schemes… You have no idea how horrible it is. He’s committed almost every crime you can think of. Almost every horrible action you can think of has been done by him.”
2. Musk is correct: Errol killed three people and fathered a child with his own stepdaughter. The fact that Errol shot and killed three guys who broke into his house is possibly the most grievous of his many wrongdoings. Errol told the Daily Mail that he was charged with manslaughter but was acquitted after pleading self-defense.
In 2018, Errol confirmed to the Daily Mail (presumably his preferred media) that he and his stepdaughter, Jana Bezuidenhout, had fathered a child. Jana’s mother, Heide, was married to Errol when Jana was three years old, according to the Daily Beast. Jana and Elon consider each other brother and sister, while Errol and Heide have been married for 18 years.
Errol told the Daily Mail that he conceived the child with Bezuidenhout “in the heat of the moment.” “It happened one evening after Jana’s boyfriend kicked her out of the house and she slept over at my place. You must realise that I’ve been unmarried for 20 years and that I’m just a man who makes mistakes.”
3. Elon is believed to have spoken some fairly vile things to his first wife. Musk married Justine Wilson in 2000, about the time when his online financial services company X.com combined with another firm called Confinity to form PayPal. Musk and Justine had six children together after eight years of marriage.
They didn’t end their relationship on the best of terms, and Justine penned an essay for Marie Claire about her marriage to Musk, titled “‘I Was a Starter Wife’: Inside America’s Messiest Divorce,” in which she offered the following anecdotes:
“I am the alpha in this relationship,” Musk told Justine while dancing at their wedding reception.
Justine writes, “Elon’s judgment superseded mine, and he was constantly reflecting on the areas he found me lacking.” “‘I am your wife, not your employee,’ I told him repeatedly. ‘If you were my employee, I would terminate you,’ he would respond.
Musk allegedly labeled Justine’s open sorrow “emotionally manipulative” when their first child, Nevada, died of sudden infant death syndrome. Oof.
4. Musk married and divorced his second wife twice more after that. Musk got connected with actress Talulah Riley after splitting up with Justine and proposed to her after barely ten days together. Riley and Justine developed an unusual friendship after that. Musk’s first wife claimed, “Throughout the divorce procedures, his fiancée and I learned we liked each other.” “I would rather live out the French-movie version of things, in which the two women become friends and various philosophies are pondered, than the American version, in which one is ‘good’ and one is ‘bad,’ and there’s a huge catfight sequence and someone gets thrown off a balcony,” Justine wrote to Riley in an email after a friend said their affection for one another was like “a French movie.”
Perhaps Justine and Riley’s attraction to one another was a foreshadowing of Riley’s breakup with Musk. In 2010, the couple tied the knot. Musk announced their divorce two years later on (you guessed it!) Twitter dot com. “It was a wonderful four years,” the millionaire tweeted to Riley. I shall always love you. One day, you’ll make someone extremely happy.”
Riley’s “extremely happy one day” turned out to be none other than Musk himself. They remarried in 2013, but divorced permanently in 2016.
5. Musk has a large family, and he has given them some unusual names. Musk’s son with independent artist Grimes, who will be born in 2020, is known as X A-XII. Exa Dark Siderael was the name they chose for their second child, a female born in 2021. Griffin, Xavier, Kai, Saxon, and Damian are the names of his children from his marriage to Justine Wilson. Still, there aren’t any Michaels or Davids among the group.
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6. Musk canceled a venture capitalist’s Tesla order after he published a blog post criticizing him. Stewart Alsop, a venture capitalist, sent an open letter to Musk on Medium in 2015, headlined “Dear @ElonMusk: You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself,” in which he expressed his displeasure with the lack of organization at a Tesla Model X launch event. (He said that he had to put down a $5,000 deposit on a new automobile in order to attend, that the event started nearly two hours late, that the organizers didn’t supply enough food for the guests, and so on.)
In reaction to Alsop’s numerous complaints, Musk, a staunch supporter of free expression, canceled his Model X pre-order. Alsop was in a state of disbelief. “I am a little taken aback to be blacklisted by Tesla,” the venture capitalist stated in a follow-up article. I’m mostly disappointed that I won’t be able to join Tesla’s vehicle revolution.”
7. Musk enjoys appearing as a guest star. Actors of the world, beware: Elon Musk is coming for your job! Musk, like many other strongmen, enjoys seeing himself on film. Also, on smaller displays. Basically, any display. He has two lines in Iron Man 2 (a few simps have referred to him as the “real-life Iron Man”), and he has voiced himself on The Simpsons and South Park, as well as a character dubbed “Elon Tusk” on Rick & Morty, his favorite show. Musk also appeared in an episode of The Big Bang Theory as a version of himself who is generous enough to volunteer at a soup kitchen.
Most recently, he hosted an edition of Saturday Night Live in which he revealed in his opening monologue that he has Asperger’s, dressed up as Wario, made cringe jokes about dogecoin, and traveled to Mars with Pete Davidson’s character Chad.
8. Musk opposes labor unions. Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, appears to be willing to go to any length to prevent Tesla employees from organizing. The National Labor Relations Board concluded in 2019 that “Tesla had illegally fired a worker who was participating in union organizing, and that the company’s top executive, Elon Musk, had improperly threatened workers with the loss of stock options if they are unionized,” according to the New York Times.
Where did Musk make threats against employees who wanted to form a union? On Twitter, no less! He wrote, “Why to pay union dues and give up stock options for nothing?”
9. Musk was fined by the authorities after tweeting that he had “acquired” funds to take Tesla private for $420 per share. Elon Musk’s decision to purchase a website that has gotten him into so much difficulty seems a little ridiculous.
Musk smoked marijuana on Joe Rogan’s show in September 2018. The middle-aged millionaire had a 420-type year; less than two months prior, he had tweeted, “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420.” “Funding has been secured.”
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Musk’s 420 posts had major ramifications because he hadn’t actually secured finance, and lying about such things is a big no-no with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Musk was fired as chairman of Tesla and fined $20 million. Musk had to agree “to have his tweets vetted by Tesla’s in-house counsel” as part of his SEC deal, which he almost immediately broke.
10. Musk stated on Twitter that he would donate $6 billion to solve world hunger, but then failed to follow through. Is this guy ever logged off? Responding to a screenshot of a CNN headline that read, “2% of Elon Musk’s wealth could help solve world hunger, says director of UN food scarcity organization,” Musk tweeted that if the United Nations World Food Program “can describe this Twitter thread exactly how $6B will solve world hunger, I will sell Tesla stock right now and do it,” he would sell Tesla stock.
WFP Director David Beasley called his bluff and genuinely laid out how the $6.6 billion will be spent. Musk, who is estimated to be valued at $239.2 billion, did not answer Beasley. He bought Twitter for $44 billion less than a year later, thereby eliminating the world troll famine.