The world’s richest person had an affair with the world’s eighth-richest person’s wife last year at Art Basel, according to a bombshell new report from the Wall Street Journal. Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk “engaged in a brief affair last fall with the wife of Sergey Brin, prompting the Google co-founder to file for divorce earlier this year and ending the tech billionaires’ long friendship, according to people familiar with the matter,” the Journal reported Sunday. A big-time big-tech melodramatic mess, in other words.
The story alleges that Brin has since directed his financial advisers to sell off his investments in Musk’s companies. The Journal was unable to confirm any of the sales or how big they may be but reports that during the 2008 financial crisis, Brin provided about $500,000 to the then-struggling Tesla.
In a January divorce filing citing “irreconcilable differences” with his wife of almost four years, Nicole Shanahan, Brin said they had been separated since December 15. The Journal’s sources said the alleged affair occurred when Musk and Shanahan were both at the swank Art Basel festival earlier that month in Miami, at which point Brin and Shanahan’s marriage was already in trouble for other reasons.
And on top of all that, per the Journal, “At a party earlier this year, Mr. Musk dropped to one knee in front of Mr. Brin and apologized profusely for the transgression, begging for forgiveness, according to people with knowledge of the incident. Mr. Brin acknowledged the apology, but still isn’t speaking regularly to Mr. Musk.”
Neither Musk nor Brin nor Shanahan spoke to the Journal about the allegations, but on Sunday night, Musk denied the report in a series of messages he posted on the social-media platform he is attempting to get out of buying. “This is total bs. Sergey and I are friends and were at a party together last night! I’ve only seen Nicole twice in three years, both times with many other people around. Nothing romantic,” Musk tweeted, before adding: “Haven’t even had sex in ages (sigh)” — and claiming in another thread, “I work crazy hours, so there just isn’t much time for shenanigans.”
Musk also complained in another tweet that the Wall Street Journal “is supposed to have a high standard for journalism and, right now, they are way sub tabloid,” and he accused the publication of reporting “third-party random hearsay.” Earlier this month, a report from Business Insider claimed that Musk, who has vowed to personally help solve underpopulation, had secretly fathered a set of twins with a top executive at one of his companies. In May, another Insider report alleged that Musk had exposed himself to and propositioned a SpaceX flight attendant, who reported the incident to the company and received a $250,000 settlement. More recently, when he’s not feuding with Donald Trump, Musk has been caught up in a legal battle with Twitter after the company sued him to hold him to his $44 billion commitment to buy it.
Fraught Musk Summer continues, whether we like it or not.