Maye Musk says she knew her son Elon was a 'genius' when he was just a toddler
Elon Musk's mother has revealed how she knew her son was a "genius" from when he was just three, even after nursery staff "rolled their eyes" when she tried to get him admitted a year early.
Maye Musk, 74, said her son's potential was opaque to others because he was "shy" as a child, but he went on to become the richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of $218 billion. Maye, who is a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model and dietician, gushed over her boy's achievements in an interview with the Today show on Tuesday, May 31.
Maye revealed how officials at a local nursery school "rolled their eyes" when she told them her son was ready to take admission. "Yes (I knew he was special from the beginning)," she said. "At three years old I took him to the nursery school and I said, 'I want to enroll him.' They said he should really wait a year. I said, 'No, I have a genius son.' They rolled their eyes. Everybody." She added, "Because he was shy, they didn't see the genius, because I was the only person he had to talk to. That’s why I knew about this. He would reason with me but remember everything going on."
The proud mom, however, admitted she didn't expect her son to launch multiple pathbreaking companies and remembered trying to talk him out of building electric cars and rockets. Maye said Elon's younger brother Kimbal was instrumental in helping the "genius" make a name for himself in the business world. The siblings would eventually found a software company called Zip2 in 1995 along with businessman Greg Kouri. Compaq later acquired the firm for $307 million in 1999. Musk received $22 million through the sale of his 7% share.
Maye said Kimbal ensured Elon was able to stay away from the spotlight and wasn't disturbed behind the scenes. He was able to explain his brother's brilliant ideas to the world. "In the beginning, Kimbal was with him in the first company and Kimbal could explain what a computer is... what's a curser, what's a mouse, and the background as to why the program is so great," Maye told Today.
However, Elon was forced to step into the spotlight after selling PayPal to eBay for $1.5 billion in a deal that netted the tycoon $175.8 million. He was forced to create a public profile for himself in order to materialize his future endeavors in electric cars, rockets, and solar energy. "After he sold PayPal, I saw there was an interview with him, and I called him and I said, 'Elon, you did an interview,'" Maye recalled. "And he said, 'No one will sell me rocket parts because they don't know who I am, I've never done an interview.' Because Kimbal would do it all."
During the Today interview, Maye also spoke of her "difficult" relationship with Elon's father Errol, who she described as a "nasty partner" who would regularly scream at her. She said she was struggling to make ends meet after she left him and eventually moved to Canada with their three children.