It’s safe to say that almost the entire world knows who Elon Musk is, as the tech-titan has become a household name over the last 10 years. But, despite his fame and fortune, Elon Musk’s life is a heartbreakingly sad story. From the moment he was born, he has had to go through extreme hardships and unfortunate circumstances, which makes it even more impressive that he’s managed to get to where he is now. Though most of us know his name, however, there are some ugly skeletons he’s been hiding all of these years that are just coming to light now.
A Future Genius Is Born
Elon Reeve Musk was born in Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa on June 28 1971. His parents were Maye Musk, a Canadian-born model and dietician, and Errol Musk, who was born and raised in South Africa and was an electromechanical engineer.
He Was a Unique Child From The Start
When Elon was a very young child, he would often stare into space and become non-responsive when his parents would speak with him. Everyone assumed he was partly (or possibly completely) deaf, and they had his adenoids removed from his ears. As it turns out, he was simply daydreaming and zoning out with his thoughts.
His Parents’ Relationship Was a Rocky One
Like many children, Elon was still a young child (only 9 at the time) when his parents got a divorce. Two years later, Elon decided that he would rather continue living with his electromechanical engineer father, instead of his mother. Unfortunately, he would live to seriously regret his decision…
Years of Abuse From His Father
Elon ultimately regretted the decision to live with his father, as he was forced to endure years of abuse. According to Elon, his father was a “terrible human being” who would often create and commit a myriad of different crimes when he saw fit. Although he does not like to go into detail, Elon has admitted that his father would also physically abuse him when he was young. But his father wasn’t the only abuser in his life…
He Was Constantly Bullied By His Peers
Musk wasn’t only suffering at home, he was also mercilessly bullied in school. He was picked on every day by his classmates. They made fun of him constantly and would often beat him up (including a time where they threw him down a concrete stairwell). Once the beating was so bad that they ended up destroying his septum. This caused him breathing problems later in life and forced him to have a surgery years down the line. Although he was severely bullied, Musk found something to occupy himself with that saved his life…
His Interest In Technology Got Him Through The Day
Although young Elon was having a miserable childhood, he became wildly interested in the world of computers. He threw himself into learning everything there was to know about them, and often spent hours on end reading everything the library had to offer. But when he turned 10, his life really started to turn around…
He Created His First Computer Program at Only 10 Years Old
Musk was only a boy of 10 when he took his first step into computer programming with a cheap home computer called the Commodore VIC-20. It didn’t take him much time until he created his first computer program, Blastar, a video game that was reminiscent of the then-popular space Invaders. He ended up selling the BASIC code of the game to PC and Office Technology Magazine for a whopping $500. But his hardships were far from over…
Musk Had an Existential Crisis at 14
For most of us, an existential crisis at 14 is a bit young, but not for a tormented-genius like Elon Musk. At 14, he found himself in complete despair, not knowing what to do with his life or how to find happiness after such a rough childhood. His saving grace was found in a pretty peculiar place…
The Book That Saved Elon Musk
Elon came across the book The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams. In the book, the main character must leave his planet and travel into space in order to save his home. But, during his journey, he ends up finding the meaning of life. This prompted Musk to ask himself the bigger questions and got him interested in finding out what was beyond just Earth and his own experience here. He didn;t know it back then, but this book planted the seed in Elon’s head that his purpose was to try and save humanity. Unfortunately, life got in the way…
He Was Forced To Stay In South Africa By His Father
Although Elon wanted to leave South Africa, where his life had been so miserable up until then, and go seek better opportunities in the United States. Unfortunately, his father Errol would not hear of it. He wanted to keep him Elon there with him in Pretoria, and insisted he go to college there. He continued abusing both Elon and his younger brother Kimbal, until Elon finally decided enough was enough, he had to get out of there one way or another.
He Began The Process Of Chasing His Dreams, But It Took Longer Than Expected
Because Elon’s mother was Canadian, Elon had the opportunity to get Canadaian citizenship through her passport. He hoped on a plane with the goal of getting himself closer to the United States through Canada. The documentation took a long time, and Elon was forced to attend college at the University of Pretoria for 5 months.
Musk Almost Had To Enlist In The Aparthied Military
During those 5-months of being enrolled in college in South Africa, Musk was almost drafted into the South African military, whose task was to uphold the aphartied laws of the time. Fortunately for Musk, the documentation went through, and he managed to avoid the mandatory draft and instead continued studying at Queen’s University in Ontario.
He Had To Work Many Odd Jobs To Keep Himself Supported
With no help from his disapproving father, Musk was forced to take odd jobs just to make sure he could afford to live and eat while in school. One of the jobs included shoveling dirt in a boiler room which paid him $18/hr. But he soon had an incredible breakthrough.
Musk Would Cold Call Executives During His Lunch Breaks
When he wasn’t working his day job or studying at school, Musk would spend his free time cold-calling executive bankers who he’d read about and admired. One day he managed to convince one of them to give him an internship. He was really successful and had to offer. But Canada was not really where he wanted to be…
Moving to the USA
After studying at queen’s University for only 2 years, Musk finally made the move to the United States, where he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, and ultimately graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physics, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.
Studying Was Holding Him Back
A few years after graduating from UPenn, Musk went to California to continue his studies in physics at Stanford University. Although he knew that a PhD would help him in his career, he couldn’t shake the drive he felt to get his career started already. He lasted exactly 2-days at Stanford before he decided it was time to take the first step to becoming who he is today. But it wasn’t easy in the beginning…
He Started His First Company With His Brother
After leaving Stanford, Musk was more than ready to start his career. In 1995, he and his little brother, Kimbal, started their first company with the money that they managed to raise from a few angel investors. Their company, Zip2, was a web software company which developed and marketed an online city- guide, complete with yellow pages, directions, and maps, for the newspaper publishing industry.
Even With His Company, Musk Was Far From Easy Street
The first few months of starting his company were completely grueling. In fact, Musk slept on what he calls the most uncomfortable couch in the world, for 3 entire months. The couch was apparently so terrible that he would often give up and sleep on the floor.
They Threw Him Out of the CEO Position
Although Musk managed to get contracts with The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune, his aspirations to become CEO were completely shut down by the board of investors. In 1999, Musk ended up selling Zip2 to a company called Compaq for $307 million in cash. However, he only received $22 million for his 7% stake in the company.
Musk Co-Founds With X.com – And Is Again Kicked Out of CEO Position
After selling his first company, Musk went at it again and co-founded X.com, which dealt with e-payments and online financial services. After a year, the company merged with Confinity (the creator of Paypal). Although the company was successful, Musk was yet again ousted from his position as the CEO. Once again, the company was sold and Elon left with his 11.7% stake of $165 million.
He Wanted To Build a Greenhouse on Mars
Ever since he read The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Musk had a love and a passion for all-things space. In 2001, he decided to finally make his dream a reality by thinking up “Mars Oasis”, which was a small, experimental greenhouse which would grow edible crops on Mars to try and steer the public eye back into (or, up to) space exploration.
Russia Thought He Was a Joke
Musk traveled frequently to Russia to try and talk with the highly-successful space engineers there, and purchase space rockets, but they essentially laughed in his face and thought that he had no experience or sense. On his second trip there, he was offered a rocket, but at an absurdly high price. Disheartened, Elon left Russa empty-handed, but this time he decided something once and for all…
Space Technology Should Be Affordable
After seeing the astronomical (literally) price tags on the Russian space technology, Elon decided that his goal was to make space travel affordable and accessible. With some calculations, he managed to cut down the costs significantly. This ultimately led him to found SpaceX, whose goal is to eventually allow for accessible space travel for all (just like in the book that inspired him).
Stuck On The Ground For Now
Although Musk’s ultimate goal is for accessible space travel, he understood that ground travel should also become accessible for the average person. He joined Tesla in 2004, and eventually became the CEO. Just like with the over-priced spacecrafts, Tesla’s “master plan” had the same idea: “Build sports car. Use that money to build an affordable car. Use that money to build an even more affordable car. While doing above, also provide zero-emission electric power generation options.” Musk still holds the CEO position today at Tesla, but his life is far from being happy…
He is Terrified of Being Alone
Because of his dark and trying childhood, Musk has developed a serious fear of being alone. After breaking up with his former girlfriend, Amber Heard, he told reporters about how he cannot be happy unless he is in a relationship with someone, so as not to be by himself. Sadly, he often felt so alone as a child that he promised himself he would never be alone again. But that’s not his only dark secret…
His Love Life Is Full of Heartbreak
Musk’s first marriage was to Justine Musk, a Canadian author who he met at Queen’s University. They stayed together for 8 years, until the couple separated in 2008. Heartbreakingly, the couple’s first son, Nevada Alexander Musk, died of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) at only 10 weeks old. Before separating, they went on to have 5 more sons (a set of twins, and a set of triplets), via in vitro fertilization. Unfortunately for Musk, this was only the first of many failed relationships…
His Second Marriage Was More Complicated Than The First
After separating from Justine, Musk married Talulah Riley, an English actress, before getting a divorce 4 years later. Although the marriage didn’t work out, the couple decided to remarry soon after, only to divorce yet again a year later. Musk also dated another actress, American this time, named Amber Heard but the two split up after only one year.
His Current Relationship Is Already On The Rocks
In 2018, Musk began dating indie musician Claire Elise Boucher (professionally known as Grimes). The two met via Twitter and started dating. They recently had a son together who they unbelievably named “ “X Æ A-12”. Under California law, it is illegal to use the non-English letter Æ in a person’s name, so they renamed him “X AE A-XII”. Hopefully, he doesn’t meet the same bullying fate as his father, but we’re not too hopeful.