Why Elon Musk Can't Keep A Relationship Going

By many measures, Elon Musk is an incredibly successful individual. Occasionally the richest person in the world, the tech titan has played a role in a number of world-changing ventures including PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter. As of this writing, he's also a father to ten kids and seems to be involved and present in most of their lives. But for all his accomplishments, there's still one area of his life in which he's been wildly unsuccessful — love.

Musk's inability to form a lasting relationship isn't for a lack of trying. In a 2017 interview with Rolling Stone, the mogul wore his heart on his sleeve in regards to his romantic aspirations. "I'm looking for a long-term relationship ... a serious companion or soul mate, that kind of thing," he shared. "... If I'm not in love, if I'm not with a long-term companion, I cannot be happy." So where's the disconnect coming from? Why can't this wildly successful individual, who's actively searching for a partner, find someone to share his life with?

Below, we're diving into Musk's past relationships, and the various reasons they've ended, to see if we can unravel that mystery. After all, if someone with as big of a dating pool as he has can't find love is there really any hope for the rest of us?

Justine Wilson

Long before he was running Twitter or sending spaceships to the moon, Elon Musk was a student at Queen's University in Ontario, Canada. It was here that he met his first wife, Justine Wilson. After dating on and off for about a decade, the pair got married in 2000. Over the next eight years, they had six children together. Tragically, their first child died of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) at just ten weeks old. A set of twins and then a set of triplets followed— and Musk became a millionaire hundreds of times over thanks to Zip2, PayPal, and his association with SpaceX. Everything seemed to be going swimmingly until 2008 when the tech mogul quietly filed for divorce.

Not long after the pair were granted a bifurcation (a legal end to a marriage before issues of property and custody are resolved, a la Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's divorce), Wilson spilled the tea about why the marriage ended in an essay she wrote for Marie Claire. Like the end of any relationship, she claimed there were a number of factors working against them. However, she emphasized how their respective reactions to the loss of their first child drove a wedge between them over time — Wilson sank into extreme depression, while her husband became consumed with work. The duo tried couples counseling. However, she claimed that Musk wanted a trophy wife while she craved an equal partnership, and it became obvious that neither outcome was possible. The couple finalized their divorce sometime around 2010.

Talulah Riley

Just six weeks after he filed for divorce from Justine Wilson, Elon Musk was engaged to someone new— actor, Talulah Riley. Per the Evening Standard, the couple met in the London nightclub, Whisky Mist, with the mogul proposing after just ten days. They tied the knot in 2010, got divorced two years later, and then surprised everyone by getting remarried in 2013. Their final divorce took place in 2016 and appeared to be for good. 

Neither Musk nor Riley has ever been very open about why they called their relationship off either time. But by all accounts, both splits seem to have been fairly amicable. Following their first break up, Musk even tweeted (via Vanity Fair), "It was an amazing four years. I will love you forever. You'll make someone very happy someday." 

In a 2022 interview with The Independent, Riley further elaborated that things continue to remain good between herself and her ex. "He's a great friend. He looks out for me," she said. "I have the utmost love for him." While she admitted to having taken time out of her acting career to help care for Musk's five children with Justine Wilson, the star insisted that she never felt reduced to a trophy wife role. Instead, she was there to witness a lot of her then-husband's entrepreneurial ambition in motion — rockets and all. "There was a lot going on," she gushed. "A lot that was very stimulating."

Amber Heard

Elon Musk's next public relationship was with actor, Amber Heard. According to People, the entrepreneur developed an interest in the Hollywood star back in 2012 when they both appeared in the gory "Grindhouse" spin-off, "Machete Kills." However, he denied any romantic interest due to Heard starting her tumultuous relationship with Johnny Depp that same year. The pair were first spotted together around 2016 but didn't become Instagram official with their romance until April of the next year. By fall, they were over.

In a join-statement published by People, the former couple suggested that while their respective busy schedules had made the relationship unsustainable, they remained friends. Soon after, Musk reflected on the split during a Rolling Stone interview. "I was really in love, and it hurt bad," he commiserated. "She broke up with me more than I broke up with her, I think." In the year that followed, the two were rumored to have rekindled their romance, only to have put a final end to things in February 2018. 

During Depp's defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife, text messages between Heard and her former agent were read out which insinuated that the "Aquaman" star's romance with Musk may have been little more than a rebound, via Insider. One message to Heard read, "You weren't in love with [Musk] and you told me a thousand times you were just filling space." That may have been hard on the mogul, who told Rolling Stone he was looking for his soulmate.


Of all of his romances, Elon Musk's relationship with Grimes is likely the most talked about and reported on. The couple first went public at the 2018 Met Gala (above), walking the red carpet in coordinating black and white outfits and looking well and truly smitten with one another. Despite some formative drama involving Azealia Banks, for the most part, things appeared to have been easy and happy in those first months. 

In 2020, to the shock of almost everyone, the pair welcomed their first child, a son they named X Æ A-Xii. But a little over a year later, Musk told  Page Six that they may or may not have broken up. "We are semi-separated," he stated, mysteriously. "But still love each other, see each other frequently, and are on great terms." In 2022, during an interview with Vanity Fair, Grimes accidentally revealed that the pair had welcomed a second child, a daughter named Exa Dark Sideræl, without anyone knowing.

As for their relationship status, it seems the couple never recovered from their semi-separated status. Musk told Page Six that the boundaries of their romance changed because of distance — she was working in Los Angeles a lot while he was often either in Texas or out of the country. Meanwhile, Grimes described their relationship as fluid to Vanity Fair and emphasized their mutual desire to be dedicated to each other but free. So, don't be surprised if they formally get back together, or welcome another child, down the line.

Natasha Bassett

After semi-separating from Grimes, Elon Musk spent some time on his own, seemingly choosing to pursue fatherhood and his business ventures over yet another romantic relationship. Then, in June 2022, he was spotted vacationing with Natasha Bassett, an Australian actor best known for a small role in Baz Lurhman's 2022 film, "Elvis." It's unclear where the pair first met, but a source told Hollywood Life things got serious between them pretty quickly. Unfortunately, the relationship didn't last very long, and by July the same outlet was reporting that things were over between the pair.

Why, you may be wondering? Well, it turns out Bassett wasn't okay with the fact that Musk had secretly fathered twins with another woman (more on that later) and had failed to mention the pregnancy to her for the duration of their relationship. That deception, combined with the fact that she wanted to focus more on her rising career than her relationship, was said to have doomed the blooming love. 

An alleged friend of Bassett's told Hollywood Life, "She is now getting the kind of recognition that she has worked so hard for ... she doesn't have time for outside noise." While rumors swirled that Musk had tried to win Bassett back, she was said to have remained uninterested. 

Shivon Zilis

Elon Musk's most recent relationship, if you can even call it that, is also far and away his most mysterious one. In July 2021, Insider published a story claiming that Musk had fathered a set of twins with Neuralink executive, Shivon Zilis. Since their source was a court document regarding a petition to change the name of the babies, the story didn't reveal many details about the duo's relationship — or lack thereof. 

Neither Musk nor Zilis has discussed their connection nor their children together. However, colleagues who work alongside the Neuralink executive claimed to Reuters that Zilis had insisted that she and her boss had never had a romantic relationship. Instead, she was said to have conceived the children via in vitro fertilization (IVF). As reported by the outlet, whether romantic or otherwise, the close bond between the two was seen as potentially being in violation of the company's employee policies which prohibits close personal relationships of any kind to avoid conflicts of interest. Still, the two were reported working closely with one another at the company following the shock revelation.

Whether the two ever dated or simply decided to mix business with parenting, the situation was indeed an unusual one. Whatever the case, it could be argued that the two appear to have since prioritized their professional relationship over a personal one.