Who is Elon Musk: Biography, Personal Life, Wives, Girlfriends and Net Worth
|Elon Musk. Photo: Business Insider|
How did an awkward, nerdy boy from South Africa become a world-famous American engineering entrepreneur? Elon Musk's story is a lesson in how a few simple principles, applied relentlessly, can yield amazing results.
Who is Elon Musk?
African-born American entrepreneur who cofounded the electronic-payment firm PayPal and formed SpaceX, maker of launch vehicles and spacecraft. He was also one of the first significant investors in, as well as chief executive officer of, the electric car manufacturer Tesla, according to Britanica.
Elon Musk's Early Life
Musk was born to a South African father and a Canadian mother. He displayed an early talent for computers and entrepreneurship. At age 12 he created a video game and sold it to a computer magazine. In 1988, after obtaining a Canadian passport, Musk left South Africa because he was unwilling to support apartheid through compulsory military service and because he sought the greater economic opportunities available in the United States.
Sells homemade video game
Musk is a native of South Africa, born in 1971 to parents who later divorced. His father was an engineer and his mother—originally from Canada—was a nutritionist. Musk was fascinated by science fiction and computers in his adolescent years. When he was twelve, he wrote the code for his own video game and actually sold it to a company. In his late teens, he immigrated to Canada in order to avoid the required military service for white males in South Africa. It was still the era of apartheid, the South African legal system that denied political and economic rights to the country's majority-black native population. Musk was uninterested in serving in the army, which was engaged at the time in a battle to stamp out a black nationalist movement. Thanks to his mother's Canadian ties, he was able to enroll at Queen's University in Kingston, one of Ontario's top schools, as said from Notable Biographies.
He lived in the same rented office that served as his company's headquarters, sleeping on a futon couch and showering at the local YMCA, which "was cheaper than renting an apartment," he explained in an interview with Roger Eglin of the Sunday Times of London. Still, the company struggled to fulfill its contracts and meet the payroll and other costs, and he looked for outside financing. Eventually, a group of venture capitalists, investors who provide start-up money to new businesses, financed Zip2 with $3.6 million, but he gave up majority control of the company in exchange.
Musk launched his first company, Zip2 Corporation, in 1995 with his brother, Kimbal Musk. An online city guide, Zip2 was soon providing content for the new websites of both The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. In 1999, a division of Compaq Computer Corporation bought Zip2 for $307 million in cash and $34 million in stock options, Biography cites.
In 1999, Elon and Kimbal Musk used the money from their sale of Zip2 to found X.com, an online financial services/payments company. An X.com acquisition the following year led to the creation of PayPal as it is known today.
In October 2002, Musk earned his first billion when PayPal was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion in stock. Before the sale, Musk owned 11 percent of PayPal stock.
|SpaceX. Photo: CNBC|
Musk founded his third company, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX, in 2002 with the intention of building spacecraft for commercial space travel. By 2008, SpaceX was well established, and NASA awarded the company the contract to handle cargo transport for the International Space Station—with plans for astronaut transport in the future—in a move to replace NASA’s own space shuttle missions.
Musk is the co-founder, CEO and product architect at Tesla Motors, a company formed in 2003 that is dedicated to producing affordable, mass-market electric cars as well as battery products and solar roofs. Musk oversees all product development, engineering and design of the company's products.
Elon Musk's Private Life
Wives and Children
Musk has been married twice. He wed Justine Wilson in 2000, and the couple had six children together. In 2002, their first son died at 10 weeks old from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Musk and Wilson had five additional sons together: twins Griffin and Xavier (born in 2004) and triplets Kai, Saxon and Damian (born in 2006).
After a contentious divorce from Wilson, Musk met actress Talulah Riley. The couple married in 2010. They split in 2012 but married each other again in 2013. Their relationship ultimately ended in divorce in 2016.
Musk reportedly began dating actress Amber Heard in 2016 after finalizing his divorce with Riley and Heard finalized her divorce from Johnny Depp. Their busy schedules caused the couple to break up in August 2017; they got back together in January 2018 and split again one month later.
In May 2018, Musk began dating musician Grimes (born Claire Boucher). That month, Grimes announced that she had changed her name to “c,” the symbol for the speed of light, reportedly on the encouragement of Musk. Fans criticized the feminist performer for dating a billionaire whose company has been described as a “predator zone” among accusations of sexual harassment.
Grimes gave birth to their son on May 4, 2020, with Musk announcing that they had named the boy "X Æ A-12." Later in the month, after it was reported that the State of California wouldn't accept a name with a number, the couple said they were changing their son's name to "X Æ A-Xii."
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