Elon Musk had a brief affair last fall with Nicole Shanahan, the then-wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, according to an explosive Wall Street Journal report published Sunday. But while the Journal reports the affair led to Brin’s divorce with Shanahan and the end of Musk’s close friendship with Brin, Musk denied the report. On Sunday he called it a “hit piece” and on Monday tweeted a selfie of himself with Brin.
Brin and Shanahan were separated but still living together at the time of the alleged affair in December, a person close to her told the Journal. Brin, who married Shanahan in 2018, filed for divorce in January, citing “irreconcilable differences,” several weeks after learning of the affair, the Journal reported.
Musk rejected the Journal’s report in a tweetcalling it “total bs.”
“Sergey and I are friends and were at a party together last night!” Musk tweeted Sunday. “I’ve only seen Nicole twice in three years, both times with many other people around. Nothing romantic.”
On Monday, Musk posted a selfie with Brin in the background.
“I spoke to both Sergey and Nicole about the article and they were both adamant that they had not talked to WSJ, nor authorized anyone to speak on their behalf,” Musk told the New York Post on Monday. “Moreover, I was with Sergey from Saturday night to yesterday afternoon with many mutual friends and it was a super positive vibe.”
The Wall Street Journal said in a statement to CNET that “we are confident in our sourcing, and we stand by our reporting.”
Musk and Brin had been longtime friends, with Musk reportedly often sleeping at Brin’s Silicon Valley home. Brin, who’s worth $95 billion, has made several investments in Tesla since the car company that Musk runs was created in 2003. Alongside his Google co-founder Larry Page, Brin contributed to a $40 million funding round in 2006. When Tesla was facing a cash crunch in 2008, Musk sent pleas to several friends for investments, according to Ashlee Vance in his 2015 biography of Musk. Brin invested $500,000.
The Journal reported that Musk apologized to Brin at a party earlier this year but that Brin, despite acknowledging the apology, isn’t on regular speaking terms with Musk.
Musk, in a subsequent tweet, called the article a “Tesla hit piece.”
News of the alleged affair comes at a turbulent time for the Tesla and SpaceX founder and CEO, who’s also the wealthiest person on the planet. Earlier this month, Twitter sued Musk to complete his proposed $44 billion purchase of the social media platform after he informed Twitter he was ending the agreement to buy the company.
Around the same time, it was revealed that Musk and one of his top executives secretly had twins in November. Musk has also battled allegations that SpaceX paid a flight attendant $250,000 to settle allegations that the billionaire exposed himself to her during a flight.
Musk didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Neither Brin nor Shanahan, who runs a foundation focused on reproductive justice, could immediately be reached for comment.