The Untold Truth Of Elon Musk's Children

This article contains descriptions of sudden infant death syndrome. 

Where do we begin with Elon Musk? His technological contributions are amazing and some have even helped the Ukraine fight in the war against Vladimir Putin's Russian regime. More famously, Musk is deeply invested in space exploration with "Occupy Mars" being a mainstay tagline for his long-term goals. His corporation, SpaceX, is notably geared towards this exact goal. "Tesla is to protect life on Earth, SpaceX to extend life beyond," Musk tweeted on July 15, 2022. This stargazing spirit has left Musk with an astonishing net worth and has made him the richest person in the world.

While Musk has much to his credit, the Tesla CEO is followed by drama pretty consistently. In 2022, he proposed to buy Twitter for $44 billion and then pulled out of the decision. Unsurprisingly, Twitter followed up with legal threats and he reacted with a meme. Classic. But it's Musk's family drama that might be the most exciting part of his life. Musk's dad, Errol Musk, fathered two children with his stepdaughter, Jana Bezuidenhout, who is 41 years younger than him. "The only thing we are on Earth for is to reproduce," Errol told The Sun in July 2022. "If I could have another child I would. I can't see any reason not to," he added. While this might be one of the more intense stories in his family tree, as of 2022, Musk himself was father to ten children by different mothers and he has a lot to say about reproducing.

The tragedy of Musk's first son

Elon Musk met his first wife, Justine Wilson, at Queen's University in Canada, where she was a freshman and he was a year ahead of her. "He was a scientific type, at home with numbers, commerce, and logic," she wrote for Marie Claire, while she was an aspiring writer. Wilson recalled how supportive Musk was of her writing career and that he wasn't intimidated by her ambitions. Instead, he was attracted to that aspect of her personality and supported her. 

In 2000, the couple married. By then, Musk had already become hugely successful. Per Time, he'd sold PayPal, which he had co-founded with Peter Thiel, and by 2002, he was worth $100 million. By this point, Wilson and Musk had moved to Los Angeles where they welcomed their first child, a son named Nevada Alexander. Tragically, he died when he was still a baby. "Nevada went down for a nap, placed on his back as always, and stopped breathing," Wilson wrote in Marie Claire. "He was 10 weeks old, the age when male infants are most susceptible to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). By the time the paramedics resuscitated him, he had been deprived of oxygen for so long that he was brain-dead." 

The author added that she and Musk grieved differently. While she was open about the tragedy, he wanted to keep it private. "Elon made it clear that he did not want to talk about Nevada's death," she stated.

A complicated relationship with his twins

Loaded with grief following the death of Nevada Alexander, Justine Wilson and Elon Musk decided to have another child. "I buried my feelings ... coping with Nevada's death by making my first visit to an IVF clinic less than two months later,"  Wilson wrote in Marie Claire. "Elon and I planned to get pregnant again as swiftly as possible." In 2004, they welcomed twins, Griffin and Vivian Musk.

In June 2022, Vivian legally declared her gender transition. Per TMZ, she also changed her name to Vivian Jenna Wilson with court documents citing the reason for her name change. They stated, "Gender Identity and the fact that I no longer live with or wish to be related to my biological father in any way, shape or form." Later that same month, a judge from the Los Angeles County Superior Court approved Vivian's wish to change her name and obtain a new birth certificate, according to NBC News. "There being no objections, the petition for change of name, recognition of change of gender, and issuance of new birth certificate is granted," the judge declared.

While Musk hasn't openly spoken about his daughter's transition, he has made general comments regarding gender identity on Twitter. In July 2020, he tweeted, "Pronouns suck." In December of that same year, he added, "I absolutely support trans, but all these pronouns are an esthetic nightmare." Suffice to say, Vivian's name change may have hit a nerve.

Welcoming triplets while filing for divorce

As Justine Wilson wrote for Marie Claire, in 2006, she and Elon Musk welcomed triplets Kai, Saxon, and Damian Musk, thanks to IVF. Two years later, Musk filed for divorce. Writing about the events leading up to the end of their relationship, Wilson explained that she got in a car accident that left her so shaken she asked her husband to work on their marriage. "Elon agreed to enter counseling, but he was running two companies and carrying a planet of stress," she wrote. "One month and three sessions later, he gave me an ultimatum: Either we fix this marriage today or I will divorce you tomorrow, by which I understood he meant, Our status quo works for me, so it should work for you. He filed for divorce the next morning." And that was the end of that.

Both Wilson and Musk went on to find love again. However, after Wilson wrote about the end of their marriage for Marie Claire, Musk wrote a piece for Insider in 2010 to clarify their relationship post-marriage. Musk said that he paid Wilson's legal fees during their divorce and paid all expenses related to their kids. He added, "Custody of our five children is split evenly. Almost all of my non-work waking hours are spent with my boys, and they are the love of my life." So while the marriage didn't work out, fatherhood appeared to be everything for Musk. 

Musk's relationships following his first divorce

After Elon Musk divorced Justine Wilson, he met actor Talulah Riley in London and the pair got married in 2010. "It all happened very fast," Riley told CBS News in 2014. "... We were engaged after, I think ... two weeks of knowing each other." Riley said that she was 22 at the time and became a stepmother to all of Musk's children. When asked what attracted her to Musk, she answered, "Well, he was very charming and definitely the most interesting and eccentric person I have ever met." The couple actually married twice — once from 2010 to 2012, before divorcing and marrying again from 2013 to 2016, according to E! News.

Hot on the heels of her own divorce from Johnny Depp, Amber Heard began dating Musk in 2016. They went public with the relationship in 2017 but it didn't last long. They split up in February 2018 and months later, they explained what happened in a shared statement published by People. "The distance has been really tough on our relationship because we haven't been able to see each other much," they shared. "All relationships have their ups and downs, of course." 

Musk was uncharacteristically open about his heartbreak after the relationship ended. "I just broke up with my girlfriend," he told Rolling Stone in 2017. "I was really in love, and it hurt bad ... Well, she broke up with me more than I broke up with her, I think."

Grimes and Elon welcome X Æ A-12

Canadian musician Claire Boucher, better known as Grimes, began dating Elon Musk in May 2018, confirming rumors by attending the Met Gala together. In January 2020, Grimes broke the news that she was pregnant and didn't explicitly state that Musk was the father until March, per Us Weekly. On May 4, 2020, they welcomed son X Æ A-12 (later renamed X Æ A-Xii to reportedly comply with Californian law). Grimes explained his unique name on Twitter. "X, the unknown variable," she began. She added that Æ stood for her Elvish spelling of AI, artificial intelligence. A-12 was an aircraft that she and Musk loved, known for its speed. "Great in battle, but non-violent," she added, and noted that the A stood for her favorite song, "Archangel" — which some outlets, such as Mixmag, was thought to be by British electronic artist, Burial

Unsurprisingly, X immediately became a young celebrity thanks to his parents. However, Grimes later spoke about her dislike of how famous the baby already was. "Whatever is going on with family stuff, I just feel like kids need to stay out of it, and X is just out there," Grimes said to Vanity Fair in April 2022. "I mean, I think E is really seeing him as a protégé and bringing him to everything." Grimes was referring to instances where Musk brought X along as a young child, both on virtual calls and at in-person conversations. Despite accepting X's life being so public, she still had her reservations.

An unexpected set of twins

In November 2021, Elon Musk surprised everyone when he had twins with Shivon Zilis, the project director of his company, Neuralink. He and Grimes were separated at this point. The news only aired because Insider obtained court documents that revealed that Musk and Zilis requested the twins take his last name and have her surname as their middle names. The request was approved by a judge. The twins, whose names and sexes were kept private, were born in Austin, Texas.

Zilis has quite the resume, even without the romantic connection to Musk. According to The Guardian, the Canadian executive attended Yale before working at IBM. She later took a job at Vector Institute, a nonprofit organization in Toronto, Canada, dedicated to artificial intelligence. Per her LinkedIn profile, in 2017, she became a project director at Tesla. At the same time, she began working as the Director of Operations and Special Projects at Neralink, so she was clearly in Musk's orbit. She got some major cred along the way, making Forbes' "30 Under 30" list of top young venture capitalists in 2015.

The twins were born weeks before Musk and Grimes welcomed a daughter via surrogacy, so it begs the question: Did Grimes know that Zilis was pregnant? While there was no indication to suggest as much, the two women did share an interaction on Twitter. When someone smack-talked Musk, Zilis defended him and Grimes replied to her with a twinkling star emoji.

There was also a surprise daughter with Grimes

It seems like having twins with Shivon Zilis wasn't Elon Musk's only secret fatherhood move. In March 2022, Grimes revealed to Vanity Fair that she and the busy father welcomed a daughter via a surrogate, something they chose not to disclose. Grimes told the outlet that during her pregnancy with her son, X Æ A-Xii, she had serious health complications. "I took a few steps and collapsed," Grimes said. "It was kind of scary because you don't want to fall a lot when you're eight months pregnant. So I would just crawl to the bathroom and crawl back or whatever." In light of this, they felt it would be better to use a surrogate for their second child, whom they named Exa Dark Sideræl Musk.

Per their respective social media accounts, Grimes and Musk have been silent about their daughter, Y for short. But what about her relationship with Musk? "There's no real word for it," she told Vanity Fair. "I would probably refer to him as my boyfriend, but we're very fluid. We live in separate houses. We're best friends. We see each other all the time ... We just have our own thing going on, and I don't expect other people to understand it." Grimes admitted that their new arrangement meant that the two of them had the best connection they've ever had. Does this mean that more children could be on the horizon? Yes! Grimes said that they're hoping for three or four kids.

His children have shaped his business philosophy

For Elon Musk, having children isn't just a personal decision but a philosophy. At a Wall Street Journal event in 2021 (via CNBC), Musk said that there were not enough people in the world and added he wanted to lead by example by having lots of children. He also claimed that many are misled by ideas about overpopulation. Musk has reiterated this idea frequently on Twitter. "Doing my best to help the underpopulation crisis," he tweeted in July 2022. "A collapsing birth rate is the biggest danger civilization faces by far." Nick Cannon, who is a father to eight children, responded, "Right there with you my Brother!" Musk added to the thread to say, "Far too many people are under the illusion that Earth is overpopulated, even though birth rate trends are so obviously headed to population collapse."

But Musk isn't all talk. When someone on Twitter very reasonably pointed out that many people can't afford to have children, he replied that he's putting his money where his mouth is. "Kids are worth it if at all possible," he commented in response. "I'm planning to increase childcare benefits at my companies significantly. Hopefully, other companies do [the] same. Also, Musk Foundation plans to donate directly to families." Well, for a father of ten, at least the Tesla CEO is planning on making parenting easier for employees who choose that path.