Timeline of Elon Musk’s Early Life, Career Achievements and Personal Life

Elon Musk’s name rings a very loud bell in the world of technology and business generally and the reason is pretty obvious; the man behind that name has become one of the most powerful and interesting business magnates in the contemporary world, having spearheaded the founding of several pioneering business projects over the years. He is widely regarded as one of the most innovative and brilliant minds on the planet who never takes ‘no’ for an answer, and who is constantly on the move looking for solutions to problems bothering majorly around artificial intelligence, transportation, finance, space technology, and infrastructure.

Over the years, the businessman has inspired millions of people with his incredible innovations and inventions, which have been termed ‘very brace moves’ by many around the world. Because of his business interests in different sectors, he has become what the media has called an ‘allrounder.’ However, even though, Elon Musk is known to have become super successful as one of the key leaders in the world of business globally, he is also known to love causing controversy, especially with his occasional public outbursts and somewhat erratic behavior. Ultimately, the life of this hard-working businessman is a very interesting and intriguing one.

Elon Musk At A Glance

What We Know About His Early Life

Elon Musk took his very first breathe on the 28th day of June 1971. The entrepreneur was given birth to in Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa, and he spent his early years growing up there. Musk was born to Errol Musk and his wife, identified as Maye Musk. Although he was born in South Africa, Elon also has Canadian, Dutch, and British roots.

His mother is a Canadian woman who hails from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, while his father is a South African. According to our findings, Musk got his British roots from his paternal grandmother. It is not very clear how he got his Dutch roots, but reports have it that he has Pennsylvania-Dutch ancestry.

Musk did not grow up as the only child of his parents; he has a young brother called Kimbal and a younger sister, whose name has been revealed to be Tosca. He is very fond of his siblings and has even done business with his brother before. The businessman is also reported to have a step-sister and step-brother.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk was very brilliant as a child.

How Elon Musk Spent His Early Years Will Intrigue You

Elon Musk’s early years are quite interesting, he grew up in South Africa. As a child, he didn’t do things that other kids would normally do, instead, he was an avid reader who spent most of his days with his face buried in piles of books. Even as a child, he read books that were usually supposed to be quite beyond a child’s grasp such as Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series.

Apart from being a voracious reader, Musk also took interest in computers during his childhood. When he just 10 years old, he taught himself computer programming after becoming engrossed with computing with the Commodore VIC-20. Two years later, when he was just about 12 years old, Musk had already created a BASIC-based video game, which he called Blastar. He later sold the code for the game to PC and Office Technology magazine for about $500.

Musk was born to be an achiever, and he showed signs of this from when he was very young, stunning even adults with his inquisitiveness and brilliance at research. His thirst for creating things eventually cut him off from much of his immediate environment and this frightened his parents. At some point, his mother and father were so scared that they ordered a test to check his hearing after he had become so lost in his daydreams about inventions.

The Dark Days of Bullying

Elon Musk’s early years were not all rosy, despite his brilliance, they were also dark because of the bullying he received while growing up. Our findings show that Musk suffered intense bullying in the hands of other children. While he was in grade school, Musk was reported to be quite short and very introverted. His reserved nature may have caused some of the bullyings.

On one occasion, a group of young boys accosted him and threw him down a flight of stairs. The effect of the fall made him go unconscious because he smashed his head into a pavement. The situation was so bad that he even had to require corrective surgery on his nose. Eventually, Elon Musk learned how to defend himself by learning karate and wrestling when he was 15. He also experienced a growth spurt, which helped to raise his confidence level.

Elon Musk
A teenage Elon Musk goofing around.

What Caused The Rift Between Musk and His Father?

Elon Musk and his father are quite at loggerheads today, and Musk has spoken about this before. In 1980, when Musk was just about 10 years old, his parents divorced. About two years later, Musk decided to go stay with his father, who is a wealthy electromechanical engineer, sailor, and pilot. According to Musk, he decided to live with his father because he felt some pity for the old man. However, things turned sour between them soon after.

Talking about this, Musk revealed in interviews that his father was verbally abusive towards him when he was young. According to Musk, his father called him an idiot several times and never believed that he would make anything meaningful with his life. He also said his father did some other terrible and criminal things.

Elon Musk is still estranged from his father even to date. While referring to the man once, Musk described his father as ‘a terrible human being.’ He has not spoken to his father in a very long time and has also vowed not to let his kids see their grandfather.

Where Did Elon Musk Have His Education?

Elon Musk had his high school education in South Africa but realized he did not want to attend college there. Instead, he wanted to study in America because, according to him, America was where great things are possible. However, his father was opposed to him leaving for America as he insisted Musk must study in South Africa.

Eventually, after he graduated from Pretoria Boys High School, Musk disobeyed his father’s wishes and secured a Canadian visa through his mother, and then moved to Canada shortly before he turned 18 years old in June 1989. He decided to go to Canada first because he was sure it was easier to go to America that way. While in Canada, Elon Musk enrolled at Queen’s University in 1989, and in that same year, he acquired his Canadian citizenship.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk with a friend at Queen’s University.

In 1992, he left Canada so he could study business and physics at the University of Pennsylvania in the USA. He graduated soon after, bagging a Bachelor of Science degree in economics and a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics. Not satisfied with just his Bachelor’s degree, Musk decided to pursue a doctorate by enrolling at Stanford University in California for a Ph.D. in energy physics/materials science. However, just two days later, he abandoned the move and dropped out so he could focus on building his businesses.

How Did Elon Musk Became One Of The World’s Most Prominent Businessmen?

Elon Musk has built a reputation as one of the most innovative and most prominent businessmen in the world, and his journey to where he is now has been very interesting and eventful. Over the years he has built businesses and introduced inventions and innovations that have skyrocketed his fame and fortune. Let’s see some of his businesses below.

The Journey With ‘Zip2’

Soon after he dropped out of Stanford University, abandoning his Ph.D. studies, Musk teamed up with his younger brother, Kimbal Musk to establish a software company which they called Zip2. They created the company with money they raised from some investors, and its objectives were to create and popularize an Internet city guide for the newspaper publishing industry in America. This city guide, which Musk thought to be revolutionary, was complete with maps, directions, and even yellow pages.

In no time, Zip2 was partnering with top newspapers to do business in the USA, including The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. The company grew quickly, and eventually, four years later in 1999, Zip2 was acquired by the Compaq Computer Corporation for $307 million. From the sale, Elon Musk was able to pocket an amazing $22 million.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk (right) and Peter Thiel (left) oversaw the birth of PayPal

How He Started X.com and PayPal

After leaving Zip2, Elon Musk did not just settle down and relax, instead, he used a major part of his $22 million settlement from the company’s sale to co-found another company called X.com. X.com was an online financial services/payments company. After co-founding it, Musk oversaw the quick growth of X.com such that it began to gain some attention online almost immediately. Shortly after, X.com merged with its rival, Confinity, and became known as PayPal.

According to reports, Musk was PayPal’s majority shareholder at the time of the merger and was naturally one of the leaders of the board. However, he started having some problems with the other company leadership because some of his ideas and innovations were not acceptable to them. Consequently, PayPal was acquired by eBay in October 2002, and Musk raked about $180 million from the deal.

Musk’s Adventures with SpaceX

In 2002, the same year he walked away from PayPal after its sale, Musk immediately turned his attention to space exploration and founded the company called SpaceX, which is also known as Space Exploration Technologies Corporation. He founded the company to develop spacecraft solely for commercial space travel. Elon Musk is now the CEO, as well as the chief technology officer of the company.

SpaceX is known for developing spaceship designs and manufacturing, as well as popularizing private space launch vehicles. The first two vehicles that the SpaceX company designed were the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 rockets, while its first spacecraft is called the Dragon. By 2006, about 4 years after its launch, SpaceX had become so highly established and popular around the world that NASA had to award the company with the contract to handle the transportation of cargo for the International Space Station.

Elon Musk and President Barack Obama at the Falcon 9 launch site in 2010

SpaceX Makes History

Elon Musk and the SpaceX company made history on the 22nd of May, 2012, when the company successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket into space using an unmanned capsule. When the spaceship touched down at the International Space Station, it brought with it 1,000 pounds of supplies for the astronauts stationed there, and this made it the very first private company to have ever sent a spacecraft to the International Space Station. Elon Musk was ecstatic! He had not only been involved but had also spearheaded the thrilling history-making adventure.

SpaceX has continued sending spaceships into space ever since. First, the Falcon 9 successfully carried a satellite to geosynchronous transfer orbit in December 2013. Then in February 2015, another Falcon 9, which was fitted with the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite, was launched by SpaceX, which was aiming to carry out observations on the extreme emissions from the sun which affect power grids and communications systems on Earth.

Yet again, in March 2017, SpaceX oversaw the successful test flight and effective landing of a Falcon 9 rocket made from reusable parts. This was followed by the successful test launch of the powerful Falcon Heavy rocket in February 2018. SpaceX was making incredible moves and breaking grounds.

That same year, the American government issued permission to SpaceX to launch a fleet of satellites into low orbit. This move was to ensure the smooth provision of internet service especially to rural areas and boost the service in the urban sides. Consequently, SpaceX rose to action, sending out the first batch of 60 satellites to low orbit in May 2019. Months later, in November, another batch of 60 satellites was launched.

The Growth Of Tesla, Inc

A highly adventurous businessman, Elon Musk is also a co-founder of Tesla, Inc. Tesla is the world’s leading producer and seller of the plug-in electric passenger cars. However, as a clean energy company, Tesla is not just a producer of electric cars, but also a producer of battery products and solar roofs.

The company was initially started by two men named Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning before Musk joined the team in 2004. He then rose to become the chairman of Tesla’s board of directors. He will later become the CEO and product architect of Tesla in 2008 and continues to hold the position to date. This makes him the longest-serving CEO of any automotive maker in the world.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk talking to an enthusiastic audience about a Tesla product.

In 2008, about 5 years after Tesla was formed, the company built and revealed its first sports car called the Tesla Roadster. The Roadster is hailed for its speed; the vehicle has the capability of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. It is also capable of traveling nearly 250 miles between charges of its lithium-ion battery.

Years later, in 2012, Tesla began the production of its first electric sedan called Model S. The vehicle, which could cover 265 miles between charges, quickly gained ground and was named the 2013 Car of the Year by Motor Trend magazine.

In March 2019, Tesla rolled out its Model 3 cars after some production delays. The same year, plans for the Model Y small SUV was also unveiled. At the moment, Tesla sells the Model S, Model X, and Model 3 cars.

SolarCity

In November 2016, Musk spearheaded the purchase of SolarCity by Tesla, Inc. SolarCity is now completely owned by Tesla as a subsidiary. According to reports, SolarCity was co-founded by Elon Musk’s cousins, Lyndon and Peter Rive in 2006 after receiving the initial concept and funding from Musk.

The company, which specializes in solar energy services, quickly became popular, and by 2013, it had risen to become the second-largest provider of solar power systems in the United States. Three years later, Elon Musk and Tesla purchased it. According to Musk, his major reason for this move was to actively combat the scourge of global warming.

OpenAI

In December 2015, Elon Musk, who had taken a very keen interest in the growth of artificial intelligence, created OpenAI and revealed his plans to the public. OpenAI is a not-for-profit artificial intelligence research company and the objective of Musk for creating it is to help develop artificial general intelligence in a way that is conveniently safe and equally beneficial to humanity.

Elon Musk remained on the board of OpenAI until 2018 when he left to avoid having a conflict with his role as Tesla CEO, especially because Tesla was also getting increasingly involved in artificial intelligence.

Neuralink

Elon Musk co-founded the Neuralink company in 2016. Neuralink is a neurotechnology startup company that Musk established to effectively integrate the human brain with artificial intelligence. What the company does is to create devices that can safely be implanted into the human brain so that human beings can successfully merge and interact with software. This eventually helps them keep pace with the speedy advancements in artificial intelligence.

Musk has explained that Neuralink ultimately seeks to create mind-computer interfaces, and that is similar to OpenAI, except that OpenAI is for non-profit.

The Boring Company

Elon Musk speaking to an audience on the aims of The Boring Company.

The Boring Company is also one of Elon Musk’s many companies. The company is an infrastructure and tunnel construction services company, founded by Musk in December 2016. It seeks to build tunnels for transportation in a bid to reduce street traffic. Elon Musk came up with the idea for the company when he got stuck in traffic one day.

He just took up his phone and tweeted: “Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging…”

Just weeks after tweeting this, Elon Musk stunned everybody with his quickness by actually bringing The Boring Company into life. By 2018, The Boring Company had already become active, with approved construction plans for several places across the United States, including Chicago, Baltimore, and Los Angeles.

Elon Musk’s Awards And Recognition Are Enormous

As expected, Elon Musk has bagged so many awards in apt recognition of his unbelievable strides in business. 2007 was a huge year for him as he received recognition from different quarters. That year he was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc. magazine because of the work he had accomplished on Tesla and SpaceX. Later in the same year, he emerged as the winner of the Index Design award for his design of the Tesla Roadster.

In 2010, Elon Musk was named one of 100 people who most affected the world by Time Magazine. The recognition placed him among the world’s most elite people. He was also listed by Esquire magazine as one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century. The same year, he was also presented with the FAI Gold Space Medal, the highest award in air and space, by Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, which is the world governing body for aerospace records. The FAI Gold Space Medal was given to Musk in recognition of the feat he achieved in designing the first privately developed rocket to reach orbit. He was also named a Living Legend of Aviation by the Kitty Hawk Foundation.

Elon Musk was recognized as one of “America’s 20 Most Powerful CEOs 40 And Under” by Forbes in 2011. That same year, he emerged the winner of the Heinlein Prize for Advances in Space Commercialization. The following year, in 2012, Musk was honored with the Royal Aeronautical Society’s highest award before being named the Fortune Businessperson of the year for SpaceX, SolarCity, and Tesla in 2013.

In 2016, Elon Musk appeared alongside other very influential world leaders on the Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful People. Nearly one year later, in May 2017, the businessman emerged as the winner of the Oslo Business for Peace Award. He was then elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2018. In 2019, Elon Musk appeared as the number one figure (a shared spot) on the Forbes list of the Most Innovative Leaders. The businessman has won so many other awards and recognition over the years.

Did You Know That Elon Musk Has Appeared In Movies?

Elon Musk is not just interested in building businesses and making inventions, he also loves the movies and has made several cameo appearances in films over the years. In 2010, Musk played himself in Iron Man 2. In the movie, he had a brief interaction with Tony Stark to whom he pitched an idea about developing an electric jet.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk’s cameo appearance on ‘The Big Bang Theory’.

Some years later, in 2015, Elon Musk made yet another guest appearance on The Simpsons in an episode titled “The Musk Who Fell to Earth.” The same year, he made a cameo appearance in an episode of The Big Bang Theory, in which he played himself yet again. In the scene, he is seen volunteering at a soup kitchen.

In 2016, the businessman starred as himself in Why Him? a romantic comedy film, where he was seen briefly, meeting one of the main characters, Ned Flemming in a bar at a party. In 2017, Elon Musk also starred in an episode of Young Sheldon, a spin-off prequel series of The Big Bang Theory. Through his guest appearances in TV shows and feature films, there is no doubt that Musk has won quite some admiration and has become popular with movie lovers.

How Wealthy Is He Right Now?

Elon Musk is one of the wealthiest people on the planet, and this is not in doubt at all. Having become of the most instantly recognizable names in the world of technological innovations and business, it is clear that Musk basks in incredible wealth and keeps making even more money as each day goes by. But how much is he worth?

As of February 2020, Musk’s net worth was set at about $38.2 billion by Forbes. This makes him the 23rd-richest person in the world at the moment, according to Forbes. Elon Musk’s billionaire status doesn’t come as a surprise at all considering all his work over the years.

Here’s A Breakdown of How His Wealth Came About

Elon Musk is reported to own about 22% of Tesla’s stock and right now, Tesla is worth more than $100 billion. The company has become the world’s second most valuable automaker, having beaten Volkswagen to the position in January 2020. Musk’s stake in Tesla includes 33 million shares and 2.1 million exercisable options. Beyond that, Elon Musk is also said to own about $12.5 billion stakes in SpaceX, according to Forbes.

Interestingly, he does not receive any salary from Tesla and works for free for the company. However, the businessman also has an incredible compensation plan with Tesla, which was unveiled in 2018, and it could potentially make him $100 billion richer.

According to the plan, Elon Musk will amass a whopping $100 billion in Tesla stock options over a decade in 12-tranches. The first chunk will be handed over to Musk when Tesla hits a market cap of $100 billion. When this happens, the remaining tranches will be given to the businessman any time Tesla increases in value by $50 billion.

What this means is that Elon Musk’s net worth stands a chance of swelling to an amazing $100 billion if he manages to grow Tesla’s market cap to $650 billion. And, with the way the electric car making company is going, this is very possible in a matter of a few years. Musk’s $38.2 billion net worth is set to swell soon.

How Does He Spend His Wealth?

Elon Musk does not just make money, he also spends it when he has to. According to our investigation, the CEO is the owner of nothing less than $100 million worth of real estate in California at the moment. Sources have revealed that Musk owns a 100-year-old, 16,000 square-foot villa in Hillsborough, a Northern California town. He bought the house, which sits on nearly 50-acres, for about $23.364 million in 2017.

One of Elon Musk’s mansions in California.

Also, Musk is said to own many homes in Southern California. Specifically, he owns six homes in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Bel-Air. Some of his awesome mansions in Bel-Air include a 20,000 square-foot house that he bought for $17 million in 2012. He also has a 7,000 square-foot house, which he purchased for about $20 million in 2015. In addition to this, he has another 9,300 square-foot home he acquired for the sum of $24.25 million in 2016.

Elon Musk loves cars, and this is no surprise considering his work in producing automobiles. According to findings, Musk now owns the Lotus Esprit submarine car used in a James Bond movie, having bought the vehicle for $920,000 at an auction. The Tesla CEO is also the owner of two gas-powered cars, namely Ford Model T and Jaguar E-Type Series 1 Roadster.

How He Gives Back To Society

Apart from making and spending his billions, Elon Musk also makes out time to give back to society and ease up the pains of people going through hard times and make the world a better place. Today, he is the chairman of the Musk Foundation, which he created to ensure the provision of solar-power energy systems to places that are ravaged by natural disasters and other tragedies.

In the year 2010, Elon Musk partnered with SolarCity to donate a 25 kW solar power system to the South Bay Community Alliance’s hurricane response center in Coden, Alabama. The following year, through his Musk Foundation, he donated about US$250,000 to the revamping of a solar power project in Sōma, Japan, because that city had just been ravaged by a devastating tsunami. He has been described as a top donor for the American Civil Liberties Union. He is also a signatory of The Giving Pledge, as well as a trustee of the X Prize Foundation.

In 2018, Musk, through the Musk Foundation donated over $480,000 to solve a water crisis raging in Flint, Michigan. The money was meant to install new water fountains with filtration systems for access to clean water in all the schools there. More than a year later, in 2019, it was reported that no less than 30,000 children in all the schools in Flint have been able to get safe drinking water freely available from the water filtration system.

Inside Elon Musk’s Interesting Family Life

Elon Musk’s life is not all about doing business and creating things; he also has a personal life involving family, wives, and children. The Tesla CEO has been married three times to two women. Musk’s first wife is Justine Wilson, a Canadian author. The two met each other when they were both studying as students at Ontario’s Queen’s University, Canada. They remained in touch, and eventually got married in 2000.

The couple’s first child was a boy named Nevada Alexander Musk. However, Nevada did not live long as he died suddenly of infant death syndrome (SIDS) when he was just 10 weeks old. Eventually, they had five other children, all boys, through Vitro fertilization. First came a set of twins in 2004, and then a set of triplets in 2006. Musk and Justine remained married until 2008 when they separated due to some differences they had. Today, they jointly share custody of all their five children.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk with his first wife, Justine and some of their kids.

After separating from Justine in 2008, Elon Musk began a romantic relationship with Talulah Riley, an English actress in the same year. Their romance waxed strong, and two years later, in 2010, they tied the knot as husband and wife. The couple remained married until 2012 when it was revealed that they had divorced. Musk sent Riley a message, telling her that their time together was amazing and that he will love her forever.

Shortly after their divorce, Elon Musk and Talulah Riley would later come back together in 2013 and got married for the second time. It appeared that the couple had decided to make things work out for good his time. However, this was not to be because Musk filed for divorce a second time from Riley in December 2014. But before the public could understand what was going on, it was announced that the divorce had been withdrawn and that Musk will remain married to his wife.

Surprisingly, in March 2016, news emerged again that Musk and Riley had begun divorce proceedings. This back and forth movement startled their many fans, and this time, the couple parted ways for good after their divorce was finalized in late 2016. After finalizing the divorce from Riley, Musk started dating popular American actress, Amber Heard in the same year, 2016.

The two dated for just about a year before they went their separate ways. The reason for their separation was that their schedules were conflicting too much, and they just had to part ways. Thereafter, Elon Musk and Grimes, a Canadian musician opened up and told the public that they were in love on May 7, 2018. At the moment, it is believed that they are still together as romantic partners. On the 8th day of January 2020, Grimes told fans that she was expecting a baby. Perhaps, Elon Musk would be the father.

Fact Check: We strive for accuracy and fairness, if you've found a possible error, be it factual, editorial or something that needs updating, please contact us
Samuel Daniel
Samuel Daniel
Samuel is a researcher and content creator who is deeply passionate about writing and singing. His expertise is in creative writing and fictional character development, as well as article writing, revolving around exciting names in the world of entertainment, sports and business. Previously, he has worked as Sports and Foreign news correspondent, and voice-over expert with NTA as well as a reporter and deputy news editor for orientation broadcast studio. He holds a B.Sc in Mass Communications

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