Grimes told Walter Isaacson that Elon Musk “associates love with being mean or abusive” because of his father.
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Elon Musk “associates love with being mean or abusive” Grimes told Musk’s new biographer.
The singer, Musk’s ex-girlfriend, said he is emotionally volatile and has “distinct personalities.”
Both Grimes and Musk’s first wife say his views on love are, in part, a result of his relationship with his father.
Elon Musk has a complicated view of love, Grimes, his former girlfriend, told Walter Isaacson, whose biography on the Tesla CEO was released today — and she partly puts the blame on his father, Errol Musk.
“He’s attracted to chaotic evil,” Grimes, the singer whose legal name is Claire Boucher, told Isaacson. “It’s about his father and what he grew up with, and he’s quick to fall back into being treated badly. He associates love with being mean or abusive.”
Grimes’ comment referred to Musk’s previous relationship with actress Amber Heard, likening her to the “chaotic evil” category in the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons. Musk and Heard reportedly began dating in 2017 and broke up within the year.
Musk’s first wife Justine Wilson, who he was married to from 2000 to 2008, also points to Errol Musk as a cause for some of the billionaire’s behavior.
Wilson said that during their relationship they would often get into arguments, and he would call her a “moron” or an “idiot” — put-downs she associated with Errol Musk, she told Isaacson.
“There is a combative element to him,” Wilson told Isaacson. “I don’t think you can be in a relationship with Elon and not argue.”
Musk would disconnect emotionally, she told Isaacson, which she thinks is a result of how he was treated as a child.
“When you’re from a dysfunctional background or have a brain wired like his,” Wilson told Isaacson, “intensity takes the place of intimacy.”
Isaacson appeared to disagree with this assessment, at least in part, adding that Musk has powerful feelings for his kids and can even be “emotionally needy.”
Errol Musk called the claims “rubbish” in a response to Insider.
“The word ‘moron’ is peculiar to the USA,” Errol Musk, who is South African, said in an emailed comment. “I have never used it.”
Errol Musk told Rolling Stone at the time that he had never intentionally hurt anyone, excluding one scenario where he said he shot and killed three people who illegally entered his house.
Wilson, a representative for Heard, and a representative for Grimes did not respond to requests for comment ahead of publication.
Musk takes on ‘distinct personalities,’ Grimes said
While Grimes told Isaacson that she feels Musk is misunderstood due to having Asperger’s syndrome, a diagnosis he first revealed during a 2021 episode of “Saturday Night Live” in 2021, she did expand on the challenges of their relationship.
“He has numerous minds and many fairly distinct personalities,” she told Isaacson, according to the book. “He moves between them at a very rapid pace. You just feel the air in the room change, and suddenly the whole situation is just transferred over to his other state.”
The biographer said he’d also witnessed Musk’s emotional volatility — and he and Grimes are far from the first to comment on it. Tesla cofounder Martin Eberhard previously told Insider that Musk used to “scream” at him if he wasn’t mentioned in a story about Tesla, and past reports have suggested that Musk has a temper.
In 2018, Wired reported that Tesla employees were told to avoid passing Musk’s desk because he had a habit of “rage firing” workers. An earlier Musk biography, published in 2021, said the Tesla CEO had a reputation for exploding at top executives and employees on the assembly line.
In the past, Musk has denied allegations that he rage-fired employees, saying he gives “clear and frank” feedback to employees.
Grimes told Isaacson she sees Musk’s different moods almost as entirely different people, adding that these different personalities even appear to have different preferences when it comes to things like music. When the billionaire’s mood shifts, he’ll sometimes fail to remember things that were said to him when he was in a different emotional state, she told Isaacson.
“When we hang out, I make sure I’m with the right Elon,” she told Isaacson. ‘There are guys in that head who don’t like me, and I don’t like them.”
Grimes said her “favorite version of E is the one who’s down for Burning Man and will sleep on a couch, eat canned soup, and be chill.” Her least favorite is one she calls “demon mode” — “when he goes dark and retreats inside the storm in his brain.”