Elon Musk has taken to Twitter to deny the reported affair he had with Nicole Shanahan, the ex-wife of his longtime friend and American business magnate Sergey Brin.
The Tesla founder reacted to a report from the Wall Street Journal on Sunday that alleged he had a brief relationship with Shanahan in Miami in early December last year.
The publication, which cited “unnamed people close to the matter,” claimed that Musk and Brin had a falling out after the Google co-founder discovered the purported affair.
Musk, 51, described the report as “total BS,” noting that he and fellow billionaire Brin, 48, were still friends and even recently attended a party together.
“I’ve only seen Nicole twice in three years, both times with many other people around. Nothing romantic,” he added.
Musk, whose estimated net worth of $253 billion makes him the wealthiest person in the world, wrote in a separate tweet that “there just isn’t much time for shenanigans.”
“None of the key people involved in these alleged wrongdoings were even interviewed!” he noted.
The two prominent entrepreneurs have a long history as friends that spans over a decade. Brin reportedly gave Musk approximately $500,000 for Tesla during the financial crisis in 2008, while Musk gifted Brin one of Tesla’s first all-electric sport-utility vehicles in 2015.
The recent report claimed that the alleged case of infidelity has caused a rift between them, with Brin purportedly instructing his advisers to sell his personal investments in Musk’s companies.
Brin, who is estimated to have a net worth of around $90 billion and ranks as the ninth richest person in the world, filed for divorce from Shanahan in January due to irreconcilable differences. At the time of the alleged affair, he and Shanahan were separated but still living together.
Shanahan, 33, is a lawyer who has made a name for herself in Silicon Valley as an entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Born and raised in Oakland, California, to a Chinese immigrant mother and a father who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Shanahan has previously spoken about her humble beginnings.
Shanahan told San Francisco that her family lived on public assistance as she grew up with almost no money and parental guidance.
“I learned how to compete in really creative ways by making broken objects perform at levels beyond their perceived capacity,” she was quoted as saying. “This is a skill that helps me navigate almost every day of my life at work and at home, and especially being an entrepreneur.”
According to her LinkedIn profile, she first studied economics, Asian studies and Mandarin Chinese at the University of Puget Sound in Washington State before studying global intellectual property trade and Chinese law at the National University of Singapore in 2013. She then earned her law degree at Santa Clara University.
When she was in her mid-20s, Shanahan recalled undergoing severe depression after being sexually assaulted while working at a company called RPX Corporation. The experience forced her to temporarily quit practicing law.
In 2019, she founded investment firm Bia-Echo, which financially aids organizations supporting reproductive longevity and equality, criminal justice reform and environmentalism.
As an academic fellow of Code X, the Stanford Center of Legal Informatics, she also launched a multi-disciplinary project called the Smart Prosecution, which partners with district attorneys and community organizations to apply data science to the prosecutorial process.
Shanahan met Brin at a yoga retreat in 2015 and married him three years later. While she signed a prenuptial agreement with Brin, she is now seeking over $1 billion as they negotiate a settlement for their divorce. Meanwhile, Brin is seeking to share custody of their daughter as part of the divorce arrangements.