20 Lesser-Known Facts About Elon Musk’s Life

by Neha Bansal2 years ago
Picture 20 Lesser-Known Facts About Elon Musk’s Life

Synonymous with the name Tesla, Elon Musk’s name is heard everywhere today. The co-founder of the electric car company, Tesla, and space exploration company, SpaceX, Elon Musk manages to create a media frenzy every now and then owing to his outlandish ideas and claims. He is one of the most prolific inventors responsible for advancements in futuristic technology. If his larger-than-life ideas intrigue you, here are 20 lesser-known facts about Elon Musk’s life that you should know about.

1 Elon Musk was born to a supermodel and a diamond mine owner in South Africa. He immigrated to Canada when he was 17 years old to live with his siblings and mother.

Elon Musk with his mother and siblings
Image Credit: Maye Musk/Observer.com

Elon Musk was born in the year 1971 in the town of Pretoria, South Africa to parents Maye and Erron Musk. His mother was a model and dietitian born in Saskatchewan, Canada but raised in South Africa. His father is a South African electromechanical engineer.

He was also a trained pilot and a sailor. Later, Erron tried his luck as a consultant and property developer. There is also a rumor that he was once a half-owner of a Zambian emerald mine. Musk’s younger brother’s name is Kimbal, born in 1972, and his younger sister is named Tosca, born in 1974.

He hails from an affluent family and was the oldest of three siblings. His parents got divorced in 1980, and Elon remained in Africa to stay with his father. But, he regretted his decision two years later and then moved to Canada to live with his siblings and mother.

His family was quite rich in his youth. His father was quoted saying in an interview, “We had so much money at times we couldn’t even close our safe.” (1, 2)


2 Elon Musk was once bullied by a gang of boys from his school who threw him down a flight of stairs. He had to be hospitalized. 

Elon Musk Bullied in School
Front row: Elon Musk (from the left). Image Credit: Eva Fox/Twitter.com

His early schooling was done in Waterkloof House Preparatory School and Bryanston High School. He later graduated from Pretoria Boys High School.

He remembers his early days in school as being the awkward-looking child that no one liked. Musk was once bullied so severely by a group of schoolboys that he had to be hospitalized. They shoved him down a flight of stairs and beat him until he blacked out.

For his undergraduate course, he went to Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.  He eventually transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, earning dual degrees in Physics and Economics. (Source)

3 Elon Musk taught himself coding at the age of 12. He then coded a BASIC-based video game called Blastar and sold it to PC and Office Technology magazine for 500 dollars. This was his first earning as a video-game developer.

Elon Musk Learned coding at the age of 12
Image Credit: medium.com

Elon Musk was once a videogame designer as a child. Like many of the nerdier children of the ’80s, Elon put his computer to good use. In 1984, he coded a simple space-shooter game that he named Blastar. He then sold the code for the game to a PC and Office Technology magazine for $500.

This code was then republished in Elon Musk’s biography. Google software engineer Tomas Lloret then created an HTML 5 version of the game, and it is now available on the Internet to play. (Source)


4 Before coming to America, Elon Musk stayed at a relative’s place in Canada. There, he had to work odd jobs to save enough to be able to afford college. His jobs included cleaning boilers. The boilers were so dirty that he had to wear a hazmat suit. 

Elon Musk did odd jobs
Elon Musk in his cousin’s farm in Canada (Image to the left). Image Credit: Reddit/r/muskclan via mensxp.com, Ekon Musk/Twitter.com

After completing high school, Musk thought that it would be easier to get American citizenship from Canada than from South Africa. To pursue his desire, he studied at Queen’s University in Ontario and then switched to the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. But, despite studying in Pennsylvania, he did not get this American citizenship until 2002.

Although born rich, after his parents’ divorce, Elon benefited from his father in no way. He had to fend for himself. He moved to Canada and showed up at a relative’s house unannounced. There, he did odd jobs until he could afford to go to college. One of his jobs included cleaning boilers. He recalls it being so filthy, that he had to get a hazmat suit to do the work. (1, 2)


5 Elon Musk attended Stanford University only for two days before he decided to drop out and start with his new venture, Zip2 . He sold this company after four years to a tech giant for $307 million. 

Elon Musk attended Stanford University
Image Credit: Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock.com, Diego Grandi/Shutterstock.com

In 1995, Musk was accepted at Stanford University. He attended college for 48 hours before he decided to drop out to pursue a business career. He, along with brother Kimbal, co-founded the web software company Zip2.

This company was a digital version of the yellow pages telephone directory available on the Internet with maps included. This startup was later acquired by Compaq for $307 million in 1999. He had a 7% share of the company and so, he received $22 million for the deal.

The same year, he co-founded an online bank called X.com, which merged with Confinity in 2000 to function under a new name, PayPal. PayPal was later bought by eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion. (Source)

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