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Elon Musk Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here is a look at the life of Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur behind Tesla and SpaceX.


Birth date: June 28, 1971

Birth place: Pretoria, South Africa

Birth name: Elon Reeve Musk

Father: Errol Musk, engineer

Mother: Maye (Haldeman) Musk, nutritionist and model

Marriages: Talulah Riley (2013-2016, divorced for the second time), (2010-2012, divorced for the first time); Justine Wilson (2000-2008, divorced)

Children: with Justine Wilson: Nevada, died at 10 weeks; twins Griffin and Xavier; triplets Damian, Saxon and Kai; with Grimes: X Æ A-Xii and Exa Dark Sideræl; with Shivon Zilis: twins (names unknown publicly)

Education: Attended Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, 1990-1992; University of Pennsylvania, B.S. in economics and B.A. in physics, 1995; briefly attended Stanford University in 1995

Other Facts

CEO and lead designer of Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), a commercial space exploration company.

CEO and product architect of electric automaker Tesla Motors.

Chairman of Musk Foundation, an organization supporting research on renewable energy, human space exploration and pediatrics.

At age 12, sold his code for a video game called “Blastar” to a computer magazine for $500.

Film director Jon Favreau has said Musk helped inspire the on-screen version of genius billionaire Tony Stark in the “Iron Man” films.


1995 – Musk co-founds Zip2 Corp., a company that develops online city guides.

1999 – Sells Zip2 to Compaq for $307 million.

March 1999 – Co-founds, an online banking and financial services company.

March 2000 – merges with Confinity and is renamed PayPal in 2001.

June 2002 – Musk founds SpaceX, with the intention of decreasing the cost and increasing the accessibility of space travel.

October 2002 – PayPal is acquired by eBay in a $1.5 billion deal. Musk pockets $165 million.

February 2004 – Musk joins Tesla as chairman of the board and oversees the initial round of investment funding.

October 2008 – Becomes CEO and product architect of Tesla.

December 8, 2010 – The Dragon, an unmanned craft developed by SpaceX, splashes down in the Pacific Ocean. The Dragon is the first commercial spacecraft by a privately owned company to orbit the Earth and return.

May 25, 2012 – The Dragon makes history as the first private capsule to connect to the International Space Station (ISS).

May 31, 2012 – After delivering more than 1,000 pounds of cargo, including food, clothing, computer equipment and supplies for science experiments to the ISS, the Dragon splashes down about 560 miles off Baja, California. Musk declares the flight a “grand slam.” It is the first commercial mission completed by a privately-owned spacecraft.

December 11, 2015 – Announces plans to help fund a non-profit artificial intelligence research center called OpenAI.

April 8, 2016 – For the first time, SpaceX lands its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship.

March 30, 2017 – SpaceX launches a used rocket. This is the first time in the history of spaceflight that the same rocket has been used on two separate missions to orbit.

June 1, 2017 – Quits two of President Donald Trump’s business advisory councils after the president announces he will pull the United States out of the historic Paris climate agreement. Musk tweets, “Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.”

February 6, 2018 – SpaceX launches Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful operational rocket. The rocket carries a red Tesla roadster into space, replete with a fake astronaut in the driver’s seat.

August 7, 2018 – Musk announces, via Twitter, that he is considering taking Tesla private. He claims that funding has been secured.

August 10, 2018 – Two shareholders file lawsuits accusing Tesla and Musk of violating federal securities law by allegedly making false statements to boost the company’s stock price. Musk’s tweet about securing funding to take Tesla private on August 7 boosted Tesla’s stock price immediately. But in the days following, it lost most of those gains, reacting, at least in part, to reports from Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal that the federal Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Musk’s claim.

August 24, 2018 – In a statement posted on the Tesla website, Musk says he intends to keep the company public after consulting with the board of directors.

September 17, 2018 – Vernon Unsworth, the caver who helped rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand in July, files a defamation lawsuit against Musk in a federal court in California. Musk grew angry with Unsworth after the caver criticized Musk’s attempts to help with the Thai cave rescue effort by building a miniature submarine. On Twitter, Musk made the unfounded claim that Unsworth was a “pedo” or pedophile. Musk doubled down on his claim in other tweets before deleting them. On December 6, 2019, a jury decides that Musk did not defame Unsworth.

September 18, 2018 – Tesla confirms that the Justice Department is investigating whether comments made by Musk in August about taking the company private were illegal.

September 27, 2018 – The Securities and Exchange Commission sues Musk for making “false and misleading” statements to Tesla investors via Twitter on August 7. The SEC asks that Musk be prevented from serving as an officer or a director of a public company.

September 29, 2018 – Musk agrees to a settlement over fraud charges with the SEC. Under the terms of the settlement, Musk will step down as chairman of Tesla and pay a $20 million fine. Tesla also agrees to pay a $20 million fine, appoint two new independent directors and establish a committee to oversee Musk’s communications.

December 18, 2018 – Demonstrates his Boring Company’s first tunnel, built as an experiment in underground transportation with the aim of providing alternative routes to traffic-jammed streets.

February 25, 2019 – After Musk tweets about the number of cars he anticipates Tesla will produce in 2019, the SEC asks a federal judge to hold him in contempt of court for violating the terms of the settlement. The agreement bars Musk from posting company info on social media without pre-approval.

March 7, 2019 – Bloomberg reports that Musk’s Department of Defense security clearance is under review. He resubmitted his application after he smoked marijuana during a live podcast interview in September 2018.

April 26, 2019 – Musk reaches a settlement with the SEC to resolve the case involving the 2018 tweet about taking Tesla private at $420 a share. According to the agreement, Musk cannot tweet about some topics without obtaining pre-approval from an experienced securities attorney.

September 28, 2019 – Musk reveals a prototype of Starship, the rocket and spacecraft at the center of his plan to colonize Mars. During an hour-long presentation about the next steps, he says the first passengers could board Starship and travel to orbit within a year.

March 23, 2020 – California Governor Gavin Newsom announces that Musk had acquired 1,000 ventilators and would be distributing them to help California hospitals treating patients infected with the coronavirus. Weeks later, Newsom’s Office of Emergency Services tells CNN that the governor’s office had been speaking to hospitals in the state every day and to date had “not heard of any hospital system that has received a ventilator directly from Tesla or Musk.” In a series of tweets, Musk asked Newsom to “please fix this understanding” and included a partial list of hospitals he said had been sent ventilators.

April 29, 2020 – After tweeting about coronavirus for months, Musk calls stay-at-home orders meant to slow the coronavirus pandemic “fascist” and likens them to “forcibly imprisoning people in their homes.”

May 4, 2020 – Musk announces the birth of his son, X Æ A-12 Musk, with singer Grimes.

May 9, 2020 – Tesla files suit against Alameda County, California after local officials there refused to let the company reopen its Fremont factory. Via social media, Musk threatens to move the Tesla’s headquarters out of California, to a state where shelter-in-place rules are less restrictive.

May 24, 2020 – Grimes announces she and Musk have changed their son’s name to X Æ A-Xii in an Instagram post.

May 30, 2020 – SpaceX and NASA launches Falcon 9, the first launch from US soil since 2011.

August 28, 2020 – Musk reveals a protype of an implantable chip for the brain in a pig test subject. The implant from his company, Neuralink, would connect wirelessly to a small, behind-the-ear receiver that could communicate with a computer.

January 11, 2021 – In a YouTube video, it is announced that Musk has donated $5 million to the online learning organization Khan Academy.

May 8, 2021 – Musk hosts “Saturday Night Live.”

December 13, 2021 – Time magazine names Musk as Person of the Year.

March 10, 2022 – In an interview with Vanity Fair, Grimes reveals she and Musk welcomed their second child together, a daughter named Exa Dark Sideræl Musk.

April 4, 2022 – Twitter says in a filing that Musk has bought 9.2% of its shares. The following day, Twitter says in a regulatory filing that it plans to appoint Musk to its board for a term that ends in 2024. As part of the deal, Musk agrees not to acquire more than 14.9% of the company’s shares while he remains on the board. On April 10, it is announced that Musk has decided not to join the board.

April 13, 2022 – An SEC filing shows that Musk has made an offer to purchase Twitter.

April 25, 2022 – Twitter agrees to sell itself to Musk in a deal valued at around $44 billion. Less than a month later, Musk announces via Twitter that the deal is temporarily on hold. In his tweet, Musk links to a Reuters report about Twitter’s most recent quarterly disclosure regarding its spam and fake account problem.

July 8, 2022 – In an SEC filing, Musk moves to terminate his deal to buy Twitter because he believes the company is “in material breach of multiple provisions” of the original agreement.

July 12, 2022 – Twitter files a lawsuit against Musk in an effort to force him to follow through with his deal to buy the company.

October 27, 2022 – Musk officially completes his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter. The deal’s closing averts a looming legal battle if the acquisition did not close by 5 p.m. ET Friday, October 28.

November 16, 2022 – Musk testifies in his own defense in a Tesla shareholder lawsuit examining the massive compensation package that helped make him the world’s richest person. The lawsuit, filed by plaintiff Richard J. Tornetta in Delaware’s Chancery Court, alleges that Musk’s huge 2018 pay package was unjust enrichment, and alleges the board failed to meet its legal duty to act in the best interest of Tesla shareholders. Tesla said at the time it could be worth nearly $56 billion, and the net value today is $50.9 billion.

April 2023 – Twitter adds “Government-funded Media” labels to the Twitter accounts for BBC, PBS, and Voice of America. Twitter initially adds a “state-affiliated” label for NPR but switches it to “Government-funded” following an email exchange between Musk and NPR.

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