A Look at Elon Musk's Rocky Romantic History

Talulah Riley and Elon Musk at the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party (David Livingston/Getty Images)
Talulah Riley and Elon Musk at the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party (David Livingston/Getty Images)

Elon Musk has achieved many things. He founded PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX. He landed a spot on Kanye West's cultural radar. He's made (literally) billions of dollars. But one thing he's never seemed to master is his love life — and now, the 44-year-old mogul has made a U-turn yet again, reportedly changing his mind about divorcing his current wife, Talulah Riley (whom he previously divorced and subsequently remarried)… again.

But let's start at the beginning of his romantic history.

Justine (Wilson) Musk (Twitter)
Justine (Wilson) Musk (Twitter)

As a child in South Africa, Musk was bullied and spent a majority of time with his family and his computers. But, by the time he was in college, the entrepreneur had a bit more game. He met Canadian author Justine Wilson in the early '90s while students at Queen's University in Ontario, Canada, and, according to Wilson, he tried to blow him off at first, but "he's not a man who takes no for an answer." He later wooed her with shopping sprees at bookstores, and they tied the knot in 2000.

Shortly after they wed, Musk sold PayPal to eBay, which brought his net worth to somewhere over $100 million. The couple was married for nine years and share five sons together.

In an essay for Marie Claire, Justine recounted that just six weeks after her husband filed to end their marriage, he texted her "to say he was engaged to a gorgeous British actress in her early 20s who had moved to Los Angeles to be with him." (That actress was Talulah Riley.) Justine recalled that this was the moment she realized her marriage to Musk had "devolved to a cliché." "I was a starter wife," she said.

One thing that defied cliché, however, was Justine's discovery that she and Talulah actually liked each other. "People were puzzled that I didn't want to poke chopsticks in her eyeballs," Justine revealed. She even went so far as to describe the Pride and Prejudice star as "a lovely, bright" person who was "better fitted to my ex-husband's lifestyle and personality than I ever was."

It's worth noting that Musk's divorce and the beginning of his relationship with Riley weren't the only big changes he faced in 2008. Although he became involved in Tesla Motors in 2004, he assumed the role of CEO and product architect of the company following the financial crisis.

Talulah Riley and Elon Musk on July 4, 2011 (Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)
Talulah Riley and Elon Musk on July 4, 2011 (Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)

Musk married Talulah (for the first time) in 2010. Their union quickly soured, however, and they divorced just two years later.

Riley filed papers citing "irreconcilable differences," while Musk announced their separation via Twitter. "@rileytalulah It was an amazing four years. I will love you forever. You will make someone very happy one day," he promised.

On a phone call in January 2012 (the day after Talulah filed), Musk revealed that nothing terrible had happened between them — they had simply fallen out of love. "We took some time apart for several months to see if absence makes the heart grow fonder, and unfortunately it did not," Musk explained. "I still love her, but I'm not in love with her. And I can't really give her what she wants." He also noted that Talulah was the "polar opposite" of his first wife, and that, unlike he and Justine, he and Talulah would "always be friends."

And, it seemed, they would also be more than friends, as the pair remarried in July 2013. But then, on December 31, 2014, the entrepreneur — now estimated to be worth $14 billion — filed to divorce Talulah for a second time.

Before you break out the tissues, though — don't! Reports have surfaced that he has followed up by filing a request to dismiss his divorce request, and the documents indicate that the actress is in agreement with this change of heart.

Supporting this rumbling of reconciliation is the fact that the couple was spotted at the Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, last month looking chummy as they rubbed elbows with Warren Buffett and soon-to-be new dad, Mark Zuckerberg. In other words, maybe Musk is finally getting the hang of this marriage thing… then again, maybe not.