Elon Musk’s ex-wife told his biographer

Elon Musk’s ex-wife told his biographer

Elon Musk Twitter

Walter Isaacson has chronicled the lives of some of the world’s most influential innovators and tech execs. His newest opus, a biography of Elon Musk, was released on Tuesday.

Isaacson wrote the book over a period of two years, during which he shadowed Musk, and spoke to several sources close to Musk, including his former spouses. One takeaway that Isaacson — and others — seem to have is that the richest man in the world still struggles with the early experiences he had with his father, Errol Musk.

On a recent episode of Lex Fridman’s podcast, Isaacson said that Musk’s second wife, British actress Talulah Riley, told him that “deep inside the man is this man child still standing in front of his father.” Riley and Musk have been married and divorced twice over the years. The pair first got married in 2010, divorced two years later, but reconciled and married again in 2013, only to divorce a second time in 2016.

During times of deep stress, for example in 2008 when Tesla had a brush with near-bankruptcy, Riley told Isaacson that Musk would vomit, and then channel his father, even using phrases that his father had said to him. “Love and family are kind of associated with those psychological torments” for Musk, Riley told Isaacson.

Isaacson himself described Errol Musk on the podcast as “psychologically problematic and difficult.”

He also recounted a traumatic event from Musk’s childhood during which Musk had been bullied on the playground and “pummeled so badly” that he had to be hospitalized for almost a week. When Musk returned home, though, his father “berated” him for more than an hour, calling him “stupid,” and taking the side of the person who had beaten him, Isaacson said on Fridman’s podcast.

In an email to Insider, Errol Musk denied Isaacson’s account of the incident. “Me taking the side of the boy who hurt Elon? No,” he wrote. Errol Musk added that he had learned about the entire incident from the headmaster of Elon Musk’s school at the time.

Back in 2015, Errol Musk also told Biz News that his son’s school was “noncommittal” about the incident — and the case was also dismissed by the local police — so he removed Musk from the school “immediately.”

Riley is also reportedly still in contact with Musk. In texts that were released last fall as part of X’s (then Twitter’s) litigation against Musk, Riley appeared as a mysterious contact named “TJ” (her middle name is Jane). She asked Musk to fight “woke-ism” at Twitter and make it “radically free speech.” She also criticized the platform for banning the account of Christian satirical site, The Babylon Bee. The account was banned after it mocked and misgendered transgender government official Rachel Levine.

After Musk bought Twitter, he reportedly wanted to reinstate the Babylon Bee’s account on his first day of taking over. The account was eventually reinstated on November 18.

Riley did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for a comment.

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