ELON Musk is a prolific pioneer who sent the world’s most powerful rocket to Mars in a bid to save humanity.
But who is the man behind his magnate? Here’s what we know about the entrepreneur’s extraordinary existence.
Who is Elon Musk?
The visionary thinker is famous for his galaxy-wide scope and vast ambition – but his earlier life is less well-known.
Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1971, to South African electromechanical engineer, pilot, and sailor Errol Musk and model and dietitian Maye Musk.
His parents divorced in 1980, and lived mainly with his father which later said was a “bad idea”.
As a 12-year-old child he taught himself computer programming and sold the code of a video game to a PC magazine for $500 (£300).
The gifted child was severely bullied, and at 17 moved to Canada to study.
Two years later he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, where he gained two degrees in physics and in business.
While studying there Musk and fellow Penn student Adeo Ressi rented a ten-bedroom fraternity house, using it as an unofficial nightclub.
At the age of 24 he moved to California to start a Ph.D. in applied physics and material science at Stanford University but left the programme after just two days to pursue other projects.
Now 47, he is the founder and CEO of SpaceX, co-founder, CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors, co-founder and chairman of SolarCity, co-chairman of Opan AI, co-founder of Zip2 and founder of X.com, which merged with PayPal.
His stated aim is to reduce global warming and save humans from extinction by setting up a colony on Mars.
In February 2018, Musk’s company SpaceX launched the world’s most powerful rocket to the red planet with the aim of saving humanity.
The billionaire inventor is also working on the world’s largest lithium-ion battery to store renewable energy.
Musk has also said he fears a global artificial intelligence arms race could spark World War 3 and warned humanity must act now to stop killer robots wiping us out.
He says he is bipolar and has revealed the “great highs and terrible lows” of his life.
Who is Elon Musk’s girlfriend?
Musk married English actress Talulah Riley in 2010, remarried her in 2013 after the pair briefly divorced in 2012, and then finally divorced for a second time in October 2016.
Actress Amber Heard, who is divorced from Johnny Depp, has been in an on-off relationship with Musk.
In February 2018 it was reported that the pair had split for a second time because “the timing wasn’t right”.
Musk is now dating musician Grimes, 30, aka Claire Boucher.
The couple made their debut at the Met Gala in May 2018.
Does Elon Musk have children?
Musk’s personal life is as colourful as his multi-faceted world of business.
He had six sons with his first wife, Justine Wilson, before the pair separated in 2008 after eight years.
Their first child died at the age of ten weeks, and they had their five sons through IVF – twins in 2004, followed by triplets in 2006.
MORE ON ELON MUSK
Did Elon Musk help with the Thailand cave rescue?
Musk was accused of using the Thai cave boys’ ordeal for self-publicity after saying his firm would build a submarine to rescue them.
Hero British cave diver Vernon Unsworth said Musk’s offer was a “PR stunt” and suggested the billionaire “stick his submarine where it hurts”.
The situation escalated quickly when Musk claimed Unsworth branded him a “paedo” and said he was not involved in the rescue.
He finally apologised a day later following the outcry over his tweet.
However, on September 5, Musk double down on his vile claims against the hero diver, accusing him of being a “child rapist” in an explosive email to a reporter.
The outspoken tech CEO, 47, claimed Vernon Unsworth, 63, moved to Thailand to find a child bride.
He repeated his bizarre claims in an email to Buzzfeed reporter Ryan Mac saying: “Call people you know in Thailand, find out what’s actually going on and stop defending child rapists”.
Lawyers for Unsworth are now planning to sue Musk in three countries – the UK, US and Thailand.
Unsworth told The Times the billionaire’s claims he moved to Thailand to find a child bride are “100 per cent” false and “very hurtful.”
His lawyer, Mark Stephens, said: “Just as we get a series of legal proceedings drafted, Mr Musk adds another libel to it.
“This has been going since July and he has not produced a scintilla of evidence. He may have money but he does not seem to have much class.”