Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s alleged affair with the wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin prompted the couple’s divorce earlier this year, according to a report published Sunday.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Brin, who along with Larry Page co-founded Google in 1998, filed for divorce from his wife of nearly four years, Nicole Shanahan, in January, just weeks after learning that she had a brief affair with Musk in December.
Citing several people familiar with the matter, the newspaper reported that liaison between Musk and Shanahan happened during the Art Basel event in Miami – and shortly after Brin and his wife separated but were still living together.
The divorce filing in Santa Clara County Superior Court cites "irreconcilable differences." As mediation continues, Shanahan is seeking $1 billion, far more than she is entitled under her prenuptial agreement. But her lawyers say she signed the prenuptial agreement under duress while pregnant with their now 3-year-old daughter and that $1 billion is just a small fraction of Brin’s $95 billion fortune.
Musk has reportedly apologized to Brin and begged for forgiveness, but their once close friendship has taken a turn as Brin over the past several months has ordered his financial advisers to sell off his personal investments in Musk’s companies.
The Journal reported that Brin gave Musk $500,000 to use to help keep Tesla afloat during the 2008 financial crisis, and in return, Musk gifted Brin one of Tesla’s first all-electric sport-utility vehicles in 2015. Musk also regularly stayed at Brin’s Silicon Valley home.
Musk is the wealthiest person in the world with an estimated $240 billion fortune. With an estimated $95 billion fortune himself, Brin is the eighth-richest person in the world, according to Bloomberg.
Musk is embroiled in a legal fight with Twitter after backing out of a $44 billion acquisition deal earlier this month. His personal life has also taken the spotlight after news emerged that he fathered twins with Shivon Zilis, a senior executive at one of his companies, Neuralink, who were born last fall.
Last fall, Musk also called it quits with his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Claire Boucher, known as the singer Grimes, but the two still welcomed their second child via surrogate in December. In June, another of Musk’s children sought a gender change to female and to cut ties with her father.