Elon Musk's Remark to First Wife: 'I'd Fire You' if You Were My Employee


In a candid essay written during her divorce proceedings in 2008, Justine Musk, Elon Musk's first wife, provided a stark glimpse into their tumultuous marriage. The essay has garnered renewed attention in the wake of the recent release of Mr. Musk's biography.

Published in Marie Claire magazine in 2010, Justine Musk, a renowned author and mother of five sons, detailed the course of their relationship and the souring of their union. Within the essay, she highlighted "warning signs" that surfaced even on their wedding night.

"'I am the alpha in this relationship,' Elon told me as we danced at our wedding reception," Ms. Musk recounted. Initially brushing it off, she later realized the seriousness of his statement. Elon's upbringing in the male-dominated culture of South Africa, combined with his unyielding drive to compete and dominate, spilled over into their personal life.

"The significant economic disparity between us amplified this dynamic, leading to a shift in power dynamics. Elon's decisions took precedence over mine, and he frequently commented on perceived shortcomings," Ms. Musk continued. Frustrated, she reminded him, "'I am your wife, not your employee.'"

He countered, "'If you were my employee,' he insisted, 'I would fire you.'"

Within the essay, Ms. Musk disclosed that Elon pressured her to further bleach her hair. The strain on their relationship intensified after the devastating loss of their first son, Nevada, to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Subsequently, she gave birth to twins and triplets.

"Nevada's passing sent me spiraling into years of depression and distraction. This would likely persist to this day if one of our nannies hadn't recognized my struggle," she wrote.

The couple finalized their divorce in September 2008. Elon Musk later stated that he offered Justine a settlement "equivalent to a pre-tax income of $80 million," which she declined. He assumes all expenses for their children and provides an additional $20,000 (after taxes) per month. Additionally, Justine retained ownership of the family home in Bel Air.

The essay offers a poignant reflection on the complexities of their past marriage and sheds light on the challenges they faced as a couple. It stands as a testament to the resilience of individuals in the face of adversity.