Couple files for divorce after Tesla chief’s liaison with Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s wife.
Musk engaged in a brief affair with Sergey Brin’s wife last fall, prompting Brin to file for divorce earlier this year and ending their long friendship, according to sources.
Despite juggling business challenges, Mr. Musk has dealt with a string of personal issues, including manufacturing disruptions at Tesla Inc. as well as a court battle regarding his intent to withdraw Twitter’s $44 billion offer.
The Bloomberg Billionaires Index places Musk at the top of the list with a fortune estimated at $240 billion, while Sergey Brin ranks eighth with $95 billion.
The two entrepreneurs, among America’s most famous entrepreneurs, were longtime friends. During his time in Silicon Valley, Mr. Musk regularly crashed at Mr. Brin’s house.
Mr. Brin provided Tesla with about $500,000 during the 2008 financial crisis, when production was struggling. One of Tesla’s first all-electric sport-utility vehicles was given to Mr. Brin by Mr. Musk in 2015.
The two men and their teams have been at odds in recent months, according to people familiar with the situation. Financial advisers have been instructed by Mr. Sergey Brin to sell his investments in Mr. Musk’s companies, according to sources. No information could be found about the size of those investments or whether any sales have occurred.
Nicole Shanahan filed for divorce from Mr. Brin in January in Santa Clara County Superior Court, citing irreconcilable differences. After Mr. Brin learned of the brief affair, the divorce filing was made several weeks later.
A person close to Ms. Shanahan said that Mr. Sergey Brin and his wife were separated in early December, but still living together. Mr. Brin cited Dec. 15, 2021, as the date of the couple’s separation in the divorce filing.
Mr. Brin’s lawyer declined to comment. We reached out to Mr. Musk for comment, but he did not respond. Ms. Shanahan’s spokeswoman, who runs a foundation focused on reproductive justice, did not respond to requests for comment.
Sergey and I were at a party together last night, so this is total bs.” Musk tweeted after reading the article: “This is total bs. Sergey and I met at a party last night. Ms. Shanahan and he had only seen each other twice in three years, and it wasn’t romantic.
During an interview with the news website Puck earlier this month, Shanahan said: “I hope for Sergey and me to move forward with dignity and honesty for the sake of our child.” We are both working toward this goal.”
His personal life has attracted considerable attention in the past two months. He has been accused of exposing himself to a flight attendant at his aerospace company, SpaceX, which he has denied; Business Insider reported he had two children last year with a female executive at another company he co-founded, Neuralink; and one of his ten children publicly disowned him.
Earlier this month, Musk backed out of a deal to buy Twitter, saying the company had not provided the necessary information to assess the prevalence of fake and spam accounts. Twitter said it had “bent over backwards” to provide the information.
The couple met at the yoga retreat Wanderlust about seven years ago. Both had been married previously: Mr. Brin was married to Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of genetic testing company 23andMe Inc., and Ms. Shanahan was married to a finance executive. Mr. Brin has two children with Ms. Wojcicki.
Several people familiar with the relationship said Mr. Brin and Ms. Shanahan were having problems in their marriage by the fall of 2021. These problems were primarily caused by shutdowns of the Covid pandemic and the care of their 3-year-old daughter.
People said the meeting took place at the Art Basel event in Miami in early December 2021. Art Basel is a multiday festival that attracts wealthy attendees from around the world.
People with knowledge of the incident say Mr. Musk apologized profusely and pleaded for forgiveness at a party earlier this year.
Sergey Brin acknowledged the apology, but is still not speaking regularly with Musk, those people said.
Mr. Musk allegedly had a relationship with the singer Grimes after ending his relationship with her in September. Grimes and Mr. Musk had a daughter via surrogate in December 2021. Mr. Musk has twins with Shivon Zilis, a Neuralink executive, last fall as well.
Ms. Shanahan is reportedly asking for more than $1 billion in divorce mediation between Mr. Brin and Ms. Shanahan.
The two sides haven’t reached an agreement, with Mr. Brin’s side claiming that Ms. Shanahan seeks far more than what her prenuptial agreement entitles her to. She argues that her request is only a fraction of Mr. Brin’s $95 billion fortune, and that she signed the agreement under duress, while pregnant, the people said.
Together with Larry Page, he founded Google, now a unit of Alphabet Inc. GOOG -5.81%* in 1998. They stepped down from Alphabet’s management in 2019, but remain on the board.
He runs a $4.4 billion family foundation that supports such causes as education and Parkinson’s research, and he is affiliated with an airship startup called LTA Research and Exploration. He is currently writing a physics textbook.