Elon Musk’s father created a whirlwind of controversy this week after telling Australian radio hosts he is not proud of his billionaire son.
Errol Musk, 76, told Daily Mail Australia his three daughters were so upset with the comments on Kyle and Jackie O they refused to speak to him for days.
But the retired electrical engineer said the comments were misunderstood and that he didn’t properly hear the question.
‘Elon knows it’s not true, so he would never get upset about it. He just laughs this kind of stuff off,’ Mr Musk said.
‘But the last message Elon sent to me was ”Dad, the press play you like a fiddle so please keep quiet”.’
While the two have shared a somewhat rocky relationship over the years, Mr Musk said he had been proud of Elon from ‘the day he was born’.
Errol Musk (right) said his billionaire son Elon (left) knows his comments to Kyle and Jackie O are ‘not true’ – ‘he would never get upset about it. He just laughs this kind of stuff off’
The media storm follows bombshell revelations last month that Mr Musk has fathered two children with his stepdaughter Jana Bezuidenhout, 34.
It also comes on the heels of Elon’s ongoing tensions with US President Joe Biden – as well as his bitter legal fight to pull out of the $44 billion ($63billion AUD) Twitter buyout, something his father says he may partly be responsible for.
The Australian radio interview
During Monday’s radio interview on KIIS FM, Jackie O said: ‘Your offspring is a genius. He’s worth so much money and has created so many things, you can’t take that away from him. Are you proud?’
But Mr Musk shocked listeners by replying ‘no’.
‘You know, we are a family that have been doing a lot of things for a long time, it’s not as if we suddenly started doing something,’ Errol replied.
He clarified the awkward mix-up by saying: ‘I didn’t actually notice her question about being proud? I thought she asked “were you expecting this coming?”
‘It was only when I listened to the recording afterwards that I realised.’
Mr Musk, who was calling from South Africa, said he simply got lost in the conversation of the energetic hosts.
‘It was a bit more confusing because the other chap (Kyle), who was a nice fellow, was laughing a lot so I never quite picked up what she (Jackie O) was saying while I was talking,’ he said.
‘If you ask any parent if they are proud of their son, you are proud of them from the day they are born.’
Errol pictured holding his son Elon as a baby. He denies telling Kyle and Jackie O he was ‘not proud of his son, telling Daily Mail Australia he misheard their question because Kyle Sandilands was ‘laughing a lot’
Kyle and Jackie O were joined by the billionaire’s father for a candid interview on Monday in which Errol Musk revealed why he wasn’t proud of his son
But while he knows Elon is far too busy to be concerned about how his comments were reported, he revealed his daughters were extremely upset.
‘I still fly airplanes but my kids think I should go to a retirement home after that,’ he joked.
‘All three of them got a hold of me and said “what’s wrong with you, how could you possibly say something like that?”
‘Alexandra wouldn’t even speak to me. I kept sending her messages but she refused to talk.’
Mr Musk has since explained his mistake and he and his daughters are once again on good terms.
Backlash after having children with his stepdaughter
Kyle and Jackie O also asked Mr Musk about his relationship with 34-year-old stepdaughter Jana Bezuidenhout – who he was married to and shares two young children with.
He was married to her mother Heide Bezuidenhout in the early 1990s for two years before they divorced and Jana was placed in foster care.
‘I never really saw her much at all after that but then in about 2014, she wrote to me and said she was in a desperate situation living in a store room with some chap and they had no food and her eight-year-old daughter had been put into care,’ Mr Musk said.
‘The next day I went to see her and I sorted her out with some funds. She was so thin – I couldn’t believe anybody could be as thin as she was.
‘She is a real princess but she was dressed in rags so I took her [shopping] for clothing and food.’
Mr Musk continued to provide her with money for a number of years and the two grew closer.
Errol Musk has two children with his 34-year-old stepdaughter Jana Bezuidenhout
‘She left her boyfriend and came to me at one point when she was about 30 years old,’ he said.
‘Obviously there was a big generation gap but we really liked each other and enjoyed each other’s company.
‘We had a little boy, Elliot Rush who is now five, and I can’t imagine a world without him.’
Jana also welcomed a girl, Asha Rose Musk, in 2019.
‘She since has gone back to that boyfriend, and he is more her age, but I provide them with an apartment and medical aid, a car and whatever they need,’ he said.
‘We’ve never had DNA tests done because we love her anyway, no matter what. The main thing is we all love her.
‘They both have their little life and I don’t interfere. I get along with her boyfriend great. And Jana’s mother loves them too.’
Elon Musk pictured with his son X AE A-Xii, who was born in May 2020 from his relationship with singer Grimes
Errol Musk’s children Elon, Kimbal and Tosca (on lap) with his first wife and Elon’s mother, Maye
Elon’s battle with Biden and the Twitter deal
Mr Musk said he’s never had any doubts about Elon when it comes to his work ethic or scientific mind.
The 51-year-old is the world’s richest person after amassing a fortune of US$242billion, following his incredible success with the payment service platform PayPal, solar car company Tesla and the rocket-building firm Space X.
But his father does ‘worry’ about his recent political statements and the immense pressure he’s under.
‘At the beginning of this year Elon started making a lot of political statements because of this Biden situation in the United States,’ Mr Musk said.
‘You have this really strange thing where you have this guy who can’t put two sentences together who is supposed to be the President.
‘I told Elon, you are getting into the political side now. How is your security? You have to be careful because the political situation is very dangerous.’
Errol Musk said his son had sent him a message after his comments to the Kyle and Jackie O show: ‘Dad, the press play you like a fiddle so please keep quiet’
Tesla CEO Elon Musk looks on as he visits the construction site of Tesla’s gigafactory in Gruenheide, near Berlin, Germany in 2021
The US President earlier this year ruffled Elon’s feathers by ignoring Tesla and calling rival manufacturer GM – the nation’s electric car leader.
Mr Musk said Elon’s growing appetite for politics coincided with his ambition to purchase the social media platform Twitter for $44billion ($63billion AUD).
‘Elon had this idea that both sides have their chance to give their opinions, not just one side,’ his father said.
‘Then he decided he was going to go after Twitter with a plan to make it a neutral platform – that’s all he wanted. But from my experience that was a bit naïve.’
Now the tech billionaire and Twitter are set to go to court after Elon blew up the deal, accusing the company of drastically under-estimating the number of fake accounts.
‘A little while ago I tried to join Twitter and it told me I already had a profile with over 400 posts,’ Mr Musk said.
‘It was a fake account. It had foul language and all sorts of stuff like that. It was not me.
‘I mentioned that to Elon recently and told him to keep it in mind – and Elon has realised that now and he’s said ‘I’m not going to buy this platform if it’s full of a bunch of fake accounts’.’
‘I told Elon, you are getting into the political side now. How is your security? You have to be careful because the political situation is very dangerous,’ Errol Musk said he advised his son Elon
Elon Musk, 51, is the world’s richest man after amassing a fortune of US$242billion following his incredible success with the payment service platform PayPal, solar car company Tesla and the rocket-building firm Space X (pictured, Tesla staff)