Elon Musk breaks down in tears while describing ‘terrible’ father: report

One might imagine the young Elon Musk happily tinkering by his engineer father’s side, picking up the skills and dreams that would one day put him on top of the world.

That’s not what happened.

Musk’s father Errol, though a brilliant engineer, was a “terrible human being,” Musk said in a just-published interview.

“You have no idea,” the Tesla CEO and founder of three other billion-dollar companies told Rolling Stone, his voice trembling with emotion, according to the magazine’s report.

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“My dad will have a carefully thought-out plan of evil. He will plan evil.”

Tears began streaming down Musk’s face after he alleged his father had committed “almost every crime you can possibly think of” and done “almost every evil thing you could possibly think of,” according to Rolling Stone.

He told the interviewer he couldn’t remember the last time he’d cried.

Errol Musk disputed his son’s account, telling the magazine that he’d never intentionally hurt or threatened anyone, or been charged with anything other than shooting to death three people who were part of a group who broke into his home. The elder Musk said authorities had cleared him of charges because the killings had been done in self-defense.

The younger Musk said he had tried in vain to change his father’s ways.

The Rolling Stone article, published Nov. 15, provides a window into the emotional world of a man known for his epic-scale thinking, revolutionary ideas and the transformative products from companies he founded or co-founded:  Tesla, PayPal, SpaceX and Solar City.

Musk revealed that his breakup with actress Amber Heard left him in an awful state, and in the middle of it he had to launch Tesla’s entry-level Model 3 sedan — the company’s big hope for bringing electric vehicles to the masses. Heard, he said, had broken up with him.

“I was really in love, and it hurt bad,” he said.

He had been in “severe emotional pain” for several weeks when it came time to put the new sedan on the market.

“It took every ounce of will to be able to do the Model 3 event and not look like the most depressed guy around,” he said.

“For most of that day, I was morbid. And then I had to psych myself up: drink a couple of Red Bulls, hang out with positive people and then, like, tell myself: ‘I have all these people depending on me. All right, do it!'”

Musk also revealed to Rolling Stone that he’s not exactly enchanted with having Tesla as a public company — a situation that, for example, led to Musk having to explain to analysts during the most recent earnings report why the Model 3 was three months behind schedule.

“I wish we could be private with Tesla,” Musk said.

“It actually makes us less efficient to be a public company.”

Tesla as a public company also has to contend with speculators shorting Tesla stock — gambling that it will drop in price.

“They’re jerks who want us to die,” Musk said. “They’re constantly trying to make up false rumors and amplify any negative rumors. It’s a really big incentive to lie and attack my integrity.”


Photo: Elon Musk in 2013. (Nhat V. Meyer/Mercury News archives)


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  • Arthur Burnside

    I find it pretty hilarious that lying Elon would complain about someone trying to influence the value of his company’s stock (the short sellers), something that no one has tried to do more than little Elon. Maybe Elon should ask why short sellers have so many reasons to short the stock – huge debt, poor management , a string of broken promises by Musk, etc. ELON’s behavior is why the short sellers have a case.
    And a view like he has of his father indicates mental problems of a high order.
    Married more than a few times and “in love” (yeah, right) with a sexually confused girl 15 years his junior. I’m still trying to figure out what Musk has done which is “revolutionary.” Scratching my head on that one.

    • Cyberspace

      Your comment that you can’t figure out what he has done that is revolutionary undermines the rest of your argument.

    • Sandy *

      forget about what musk has done so far. Have you done anything which is close to 1% of what Elon has done… if not, you are not fit to comment in his achievements.

      • Dmitry Wallace

        haven’t impregnated my daugher like his father did.

        • Wind10

          Oh yes because the actions of his father are entirely his responsibility. I’m sure no one would have to think twice about your comment or question your mental comprehension.

      • CK

        That’s not how criticism works. Anyone is allowed to criticize. You don’t have to have achieved something monumental to point out that someone else sucks.

    • Chris

      By god, if our president can do it, so can Elon!

    • brian

      elon musk is one of the greatest con men on earth, and i love the fact that everybody gets so protective of him, he has burned through a lot of our money to become a billionaire.

  • Thelip95032

    @kentbeuchert:disqus @
    “I’m still trying to figure out what Musk has done which is “revolutionary.””

    If you are that close minded you must be used to people not engaging you in conversation.

  • Bobby Young

    I wonder ,just wonder how much of his Animus at his father was influenced by his mother.

    • Yunus Pınar

      Not a lot, it would seem. After Musk’s parents got divorced, Musk spent two years with his mother, then he and his brother decided to move in with their dad, a decision they’ve both stated was the most terrible decision they’ve ever made. Also, I read in his biography that Musk and his first wife decided that their children would not meet their grandfather. It seems to be a general consensus that Musk’s father was a problematic guy.

      • Bobby Young

        thats sad.