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Elon Musk's life has been one of bad childhood, utter loneliness and constant heartbreaks

His parents got divorced when he was barely 10 and his mum worked at least five jobs to feed him, his brother Kimbal and sister Tosca
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

There's no doubt that Elon Musk is the real-life Tony Stark, especially now that he has realized his lifelong dream of launching human beings into space via his rocket company SpaceX. His genius, thus far, has been unparalleled in modern-day technology advancement; And he has lived up to his reputation of being a business magnet — something he prefers to the oh-so-boring tag of a business magnate. But what most people don't see is that behind Musk's pathbreaking inventions lies a broken heart. Contrary to popular belief, Musk has treaded a rather tumultuous road to becoming one of the most influential billionaires of our times.

Musk's parents got divorced when he was barely 10. His Canadian mother Maye, a struggling model in South Africa at the time, worked at least five jobs to feed him, his brother Kimbal and sister Tosca.

“I remember crying when one of my kids spilled milk. I cried because I couldn’t buy another milk that day,” Maye once recalled. The 71-year old, who still models, argued that if Musk got his entrepreneurial skills from his father, he definitely got his ability to save money from her.

Maye Musk attends the 2019 GQ Men of the Year (Getty Images)

Away from the public eye, Musk has always been a vulnerable soul. Following his parents' divorce, he felt sorry for his brilliant father Errol and tried to give him company for years. But it seems the patriarch did not treat his son very well. Tears rolled down the 48-year-old billionaire's face when he recounted those years during an interview with Rolling Stone, albeit he did not reveal any specifics.

President Donald Trump acknowledges Elon Musk after the successful launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the manned Crew Dragon spacecraft (Getty Images)

At school, Musk would be picked on for years as he was always the youngest and smallest kid in class. He coped with the stress by delving into science and taught himself how to code — selling his first computer game 'Blastar' at the tender age of 12. It seemed like things would somehow get better when the family emigrated to Canada, but his childhood trauma would have long-lasting effects. 

Musk came into the spotlight after earning his first billion in 2002 with PayPal, which he and his brother Kimbal created together. He married his first wife Justine shortly before earning the fortune, but as someone rightly said, money cannot buy happiness. The young couple's firstborn son died just 10 weeks after being born. 

It was too much for Musk, who, once again, dove into a 120-hour-a-week work schedule just to cope with the loss. His hard work would pay off in the form of SpaceX, a company he founded in 2002 with a vision of building spacecraft for commercial space travel. A relentless and ambitious workaholic, Musk co-founded another company just a year later. This one, however, aimed to offer electric vehicles at prices affordable to the average consumer — and we've all witnessed how far Tesla has come to this day.

(Getty Images)

Back home, Musk and his wife were still hoping to have children. However, this time they decided to try in-vitro fertilization — and that is how Justine managed to become pregnant with twins, and with triplets two years later. After losing a son, the couple now had five of them. Of course, the kids lit up the Musk household like never before, but with Musk's constant absence and work ethic, it was too much for Justine to bear alone. She eventually asked him for a divorce, and it was anything but an easy separation.

At a time when Musk was literally broke from his investments, Justine asked the courts for his house, his Tesla Roads, child support until they turned seventeen, $6 million in cash, alimony of $80,000 a month, a 10% stake in Tesla, and a 5% stake in SpaceX. The courts eventually granted Justine all her requests, forcing Musk to live off loans from his friends. Somehow, he managed to pull through.

“This past year has been the most difficult and painful year of my career,” Musk later told The Times. In a bid to ease his pain, Musk got engaged to actress Talulah Riley just two months after his divorce. "I will never be happy without having someone. Going to sleep alone kills me" he revealed in one of his interviews.

But Musk just couldn't hold a stable family life while making history on the world outside. In 2012, SpaceX became the first private company to launch a spacecraft to the International Space Station. All the time, money, and nervous energy spent on that historic launch would adversely affect his relationship with Riley, who couldn't take it anymore and decided to split with him.

A devastated Musk tweeted to Riley after the separation: “It was an amazing four years. I will love you forever. You will make someone very happy one day.”

However, the couple soon reconciled and married each other again a year later, only to end their relationship for good in 2016. There was just no getting around Musk's devotion to the shop floor.

Elon Musk and Talulah Riley attend the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference (Getty Images)

As Musk admittedly couldn't bear being alone, he started dating actress Amber Heard soon after the split. But the Hollywood star also couldn't cope with his busy schedule and soon, the two would break up as well. This seemed like the final straw for Musk, who was left alone with his work and eventually became an insomniac. The Tesla board began fearing his use of prescription drug Ambien, which is used for insomnia relief. Meanwhile, Musk did not hide his use of the drug, admitting it was "often a choice of no sleep or Ambien" — and it would plague his life for a long time. During Musk's 47th birthday, he worked for 24 hours. “All night — no friends, nothing,” he told The Times.

In 2018, Musk began dating talented young musician Grimes in yet another attempt to save himself from loneliness. This year, they had their first child together, a baby boy. And it seems like she really does support him.

Elon Musk and Grimes attend the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala in New York City (Getty Images)

Looking into the future, all that Musk's fans can do is hope and pray for the best — because without him, our collective dream of someday becoming an interplanetary species will probably remain science fiction for a long, long time.