Elon Musk’s first wife was disappointed in their marriage

Elon Musk’s first wife was disappointed in their marriage

Elon Musk

  • Elon Musk met his first wife, Justine, at college when she was 18 and he was 19.
  • Their relationship was rocky from the start. Elon’s biographer says his friends and family didn’t want them to get married.
  • They divorced after eight years together. Justine said she’d felt like a “trophy wife” and was disillusioned by their jet-setting lifestyle.

Justine Musk is a fantasy author from Canada.

She’s also Elon Musk’s ex-wife and the mother of five of his children.

Little information is publicly available about her early life, with most coverage focusing on her relationship with Elon, now the world’s richest person, who serves as CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. Justine lifted the lid on their turbulent relationship in an explosive Marie Claire column in 2010. Walter Isaacson’s recent biography of the tech mogul cast further light on the couple’s time together.

Justine Musk was born in 1972 as Jennifer Wilson and grew up in Peterborough, Ontario, around 80 miles north-east of Toronto.

She studied at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, where she majored in English literature. It was here, when she was 18, that she met the then-19-year-old Elon.

For their first date, he invited her for ice-cream, but when he came to pick her up she wasn’t there. He walked around campus carrying the gradually melting cone until he found her studying, she wrote in her Marie Claire column.

“He’s not a man who takes no for an answer,” Justine wrote.

While Elon studied at Queen’s, she was “not the only woman he pursued,” she wrote. He ended up transferring to the University of Pennsylvania, but they stayed in touch. He would sometimes send her roses and go for dinner with her when he came back to visit his friends at Queen’s, she wrote.

“It was the first time that a boy found my sense of ambition — instead of my long hair or narrow waist — attractive,” she wrote.

After studying, Justine spent a year teaching English in Japan, where she ultimately decided to ditch the name Jennifer “because it was far too common and the name of a lot of cheerleaders,” she told Isaacson. She returned to Canada, took a bartending job while working on a novel, and mulled over whether to return to Japan or go to grad school, she wrote in her Marie Claire column.

But things changed when she rekindled her relationship with Elon, culminating in her moving into the apartment in Palo Alto that he shared with his housemates and their dog.

Justine spent most of her time writing in their bedroom. “Friends would not want to stay at my house because Justine was too grumpy,” Elon told Isaacson.

Their relationship was turbulent. They often had big arguments in public, and Elon “never hesitated to let me know that I was wrong about something,” Justine told Isaacson. “And I would fight back. I realized that I could say anything to him, and it just did not faze him.”

As his wealth grew, Justine “made uneasy jokes” that he’d dump her for a supermodel, she wrote. But instead, Elon proposed to her one day on a street corner.

Some of Elon’s friends and family, including his mother Maye Musk, younger brother Kimbal Musk, and college friend Navaid Farooq, didn’t approve of the relationship, per Isaacson’s book. Some even tried to talk him out of the wedding.

But the couple still got married in Saint Martin, in the Caribbean, in January 2000. Elon and Justine got into an argument the day before the ceremony was due to take place over their unsigned prenup and Elon told his mother that the wedding was off, to her delight, Isaacson wrote.

The wedding ultimately went ahead. During their first dance, Elon whispered to Justine that he was “the alpha in this relationship,” she wrote in her Marie Claire column.

Justine said that Elon “wanted to get married and have kids early on,” according to Ashlee Vance, once of his biographers.

Their first child, Nevada, who was born in 2002, died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. He stopped breathing in his sleep when he was 10 weeks old and his parents took him off life support after three days, Justine wrote in Marie Claire. “I held him in my arms when he died,” she wrote.

“Nevada’s death sent me on a years-long inward spiral of depression,” Justine wrote. She wrote that one of the ways she coped was by trying to get pregnant again “as swiftly as possible,” visiting an IVF clinic less than two months later.

Through IVF, Justine gave birth to twins Griffin and Jenna in 2004 and triplets Damian, Kai, and Saxon in 2006. In between, she published her first novel, “BloodAngel,” in 2005.

Elon and Justine had a jet-setting lifestyle. They went to parties with celebrities, traveled in Musk’s private jet, and lived in a 6,000-square-foot house in Bel Air, Los Angeles with five domestic staff, Justine wrote in Marie Claire.

But they weren’t happily married.

“It was a dream lifestyle, privileged and surreal,” she wrote. “But the whirlwind of glitter couldn’t disguise a growing void at the core. Elon was obsessed with his work: When he was home, his mind was elsewhere. I longed for deep and heartfelt conversations, for intimacy and empathy.”

During some arguments, Justine would say how much she hated Elon and he would call her a “moron” or “idiot,” per Isaacson’s book. She wrote in her Marie Claire column that he sometimes told her that, if she were his employee, he’d fire her.

“I met him when he didn’t have much at all,” she told Isaacson. “The accumulation of wealth and fame changed the dynamic.”

Musk kept urging her to dye her hair blonder and even go platinum, and she had to attend events where “the men talked and the women smiled and listened,” she wrote in her Marie Claire column.

“I barely recognized myself,” she wrote. “I had turned into a trophy wife — and I sucked at it.”

“I didn’t want to be a sideline player in the multimillion-dollar spectacle of my husband’s life,” she wrote. “I wanted equality. I wanted partnership. I wanted to love and be loved, the way we had before he made all his millions.”

Describing the social circle she was in during their marriage, Justine wrote: “Women disappeared after some point in their 30s, and any female ambition other than looking beautiful, shopping, and overseeing the domestic realm became an inconvenience.”

The couple ultimately divorced in 2008. “I felt numb, but strangely relieved,” Justine wrote. She used the separation as an opportunity to dye her hair dark and cut it.

Just six weeks after starting divorce proceedings, Elon texted her to say he was engaged to actor Talulah Riley, Justine wrote.

Justine wrote that she didn’t regret her marriage to Elon. “I will always respect the brilliant and visionary person that he is,” she added.

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