This week Elon Musk, Tesla entrepreneur, SpaceX founder and world’s richest man, announced that he bought Twitter for $44billion to “unlock its potential” as a “free speech platform”.
It’s been a busy year for Musk. As well as making headlines for his billionaire business investments, he’s welcomed a second baby daughter, Exa Dark Sideræll, with on-and-off girlfriend Grimes, has been called to testify in ex-girlfriend Amber Heard’s televised trial with her former husband Johnny Depp and has been with rumoured new girlfriend actress Natasha Bassett.
His colourful personal life can probably be put down to his aversion to being alone. Musk told Rolling Stone he’s struggled with loneliness since childhood. “When I was a child, there’s one thing I said: I never want to be alone.” It’s a sentiment he’s echoed after his break up with actress Amber Heard. “If I’m not in love, if I’m not with a long-term companion, I cannot be happy,” he said during an interview with author Neil Strauss, later adding, “I will never be happy without having someone. Going to sleep alone kills me.”
From his university sweetheart to private jet dates with Australian superstars, here’s an inside look at the three-time divorced Elon Musk.
Justine Musk (1998- 2008)
He met his first wife at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada. Justine Musk née Wilson wrote in a personal essay for Marie Claire in 2009 that Elon Musk invited her out for ice cream. She decided to blow him off by sticking a note to his dorm room door, yet he still showed up with “two chocolate-chip ice cream cones dripping down his hands. He’s not a man who takes no for an answer.”
Although Musk transferred to Wharton in Pennsylvania, he kept sending Wilson roses which meant she finally agreed to have dinner with him on one of his visits back to Canada. Justine also said Musk wooed her by giving her his credit card to buy as many books as she wanted.
By graduation, however, the pair had gone their separate ways. Justine obtained a degree in English literature and later moved to Japan to teach English as a second language (ESL). After a year, she returned to Canada where she began bartending and working on her novel. As she recalled in Marie Claire, Justine told her sister that if Elon reached back out to her, she would reconsider their relationship. The tech entrepreneur called her up one week later. The couple reconnected and Justine moved to California to be with Elon.
The two finally married in 2000 and went on to have twins and triplets — five sons in total, after the heartbreaking death of their first son, Nevada, whom they lost to SIDS. They split in 2008, with Justine telling Marie Claire in 2010 that her ex-husband thought of her as a “starter wife.”
Talulah Riley (2008 – 2016)
Ashlee Vance’s book Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future explains how the Tesla CEO met the Pride & Prejudice actress.
Musk and the investor were out at a bar in London when the business mogul saw Talulah Riley for the first time. The two hit it off immediately. “I remember thinking that this guy probably didn’t get to talk to young actresses a lot and that he seemed quite nervous,” Riley said. “I decided to be really nice to him and give him a nice evening. Little did I know that he’d spoken to a lot of pretty girls in his life.”
They soon became very serious, with Musk’s ex-wife even a fan. In an interview with Marie Clarie, Wilson wrote of Riley: “She is, by all accounts, a lovely, bright, and very young person, and better fitted to my ex-husband’s lifestyle and personality than I ever was.”
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.” What he didn’t realise was that it would be him that she would make happy one day, with the couple remarrying in July 2013 before the couple finalised their divorce a second time in November 2016.
Amber Heard (2016-2017)
Elon Musk and Amber Heard reportedly first met on the sets of “Machete Kills” back in 2013. Heard played the lead in the film and Musk had a cameo appearance. The duo remained friends but sparks flew when in January 2016 Heard and Johnny Depp’s divorce was finalised.
Sources told People that Musk pursued Heard seriously but the actress was uninterested initially. According to court documents during the Johnny Depp UK libel case, Musk had even offered Heard “24/7 security” when she had contemplated enforcing restraining orders on her ex-husband.
“Elon loves a pretty face, but he needs more to be intrigued. Amber has lots more to offer,” added a source close to Musk. “Elon is attracted to her edginess. She isn’t frightened about being different. She doesn’t get easily intimidated. She is very focused and loves to learn.”
Rumours of their split were doing the rounds for weeks when Heard shared a photo of herself and The Little Mermaid’s Ariel putting forks in their hair on her Instagram account. Musk commented on the photo saying, “Cute.” He followed it up with a lengthier comment saying, “Btw, just to clear up some of the press storms this weekend, although Amber and I did break up, we are still friends, remain close and love one another.”
He also reaffirmed that they had split due to a demanding work schedule. “Long-distance relationships when both partners have intense work obligations are always difficult, but who knows what the future holds,” he added.
Months later, during an interview with author Neil Strauss, Musk said he was hard in love with Heard. “I just broke up with my girlfriend,” Musk told him. “I was really in love, and it hurt bad… Well, she broke up with me more than I broke up with her, I think.”
In the spring of 2018, it was announced that Musk was dating Canadian musician and singer, Grimes. Rumour has it that the two met on Twitter when Musk slid into Grimes’ DMs to talk about a pun she had once made about artificial intelligence. Within a month the couple had made their red carpet debut at the Met Gala.
Speculation that the pair had broken up swirled in March 2020 when Musk unfollowed Grimes on Instagram for a few days. But the couple quickly reconciled ahead of the birth of their fist child. They instantly caused controversy with the choice of name – X Æ A-12 – and were forced to change it to X AE A-XII by Californian authorities because it contained symbols not included in the alphabet.
Two months after welcoming baby X, Musk admitted that Grimes held the majority of the parenting responsibilities saying that she ‘has a much bigger role than [him] right now.’
“Well, babies are just eating and pooping machines, you know? Right now there’s not much I can do,” he told the New York Times. “When the kid gets older, there will be more of a role for me.”
The entrepreneur and the singer, whose real name is Claire Boucher, sadly broke up after three years together a year later, with Elon describing them as “semi-separated” but on good terms while co-parenting their son. In an interview with Vanity Fair in March of this year, however, Grimes revealed that the pair were back together and confirmed that they had welcomed their second child – a daughter called Exa Dark Sideræl Musk, via surrogacy in December.
But just hours after the piece was published online, Grimes announced on Twitter that the couple had broken up again. She tweeted: “Me and E have broken up again since the writing of this article haha, but he’s my best friend and the love of my life, and my life and art are forever dedicated to The Mission now”.
Natasha Bassett (present)
The actress was photographed exiting Musk’s Gulfstream G650ER private jet, worth £50million, before being chauffeured away in a Tesla in Los Angeles earlier this year. According to reports, Bassett has been seeing the Tesla CEO for “a couple of months”.
While the sighting came as a surprise to most of us, HollywoodLife reported that “they have been dating for several months and are in a monogamous relationship right now”.
“Elon and Natasha have been in an on-again, off-again relationship for a few years,” an alleged source told Confidential. “I think their relationship is quite tumultuous, especially with him having the same sort of on-again, off-again type of relationship with Grimes.”
With the 27-year-old set to star in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biographical film later this year, the question remains whether the two will make the relationship red carpet official.