THE FATHER of the technology billionaire Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, has described the child he has fathered with his stepdaughter as “God’s plan”.
Speaking to The Sunday Times from his home in South Africa last night, Errol Musk, 72, said the 10-month old baby, Elliot Rush, whose mother is Jana Bezuidenhout, is an “exquisite child”.
He said he did not consider Jana, 30, his stepdaughter as he claimed she was raised away from the family for long periods of time.
Errol married her mother, Heide, when Jana was 4. The couple had two children together, but he maintained they separated after two years before reuniting. They divorced after 18 years.
Errol said Jana had contacted him last year and he did “everything in his power” to help her after she had split from her boyfriend.
“We were lonely, lost people,” Errol said. “One thing led to another — you can call it God’s plan or nature’s plan.”
Jana got in touch two months later to say she was pregnant. Errol assumed the ex-boyfriend was the father so insisted on a DNA test, which proved his paternity.
“Jana is a delightful girl and a wonderful mother. She said I had changed her life,” he said last night.
Errol helps support his stepdaughter and his baby son and sees them regularly, but says he does not live with them.
While he is clearly delighted — “If I drop dead tomorrow, I have left something behind” — his family, apparently, do not share his feelings.
His son, Elon (below), worth about £20bn, once described his father as “evil” and “a terrible human being”.
The froideur among members of the Musk family has been well-known for some time, but it was never clear what was at the heart of the row. The father and son are said not to have spoken for more than 18 months. Errol’s secret is now out — and many family members are horrified.
“Errol got Jana pregnant. He is the father of her baby boy, but he was a father to her,” a relation told Mail Online. “The whole family was outraged when we found out. This is the reason why Elon is so angry with Errol. He is the only father she has ever known. And now he is the father of her child as well.”
Errol disputed this and said he did not consider children from his four previous wives as stepchildren. “Of course I love him [the baby] dearly, even though it wasn’t planned.
“I told my daughter, Ali, about him because I thought she would be supportive and understanding. She said I was insane, mentally ill. She told the others and they went berserk.”
Elon, 46, has made no secret of his feelings towards his father, breaking down in tears during an interview with Rolling Stone magazine last year. “My dad will have a carefully thought-out plan of evil,” he said. “He will plan evil.”
He alleged his father had committed “almost every crime you can possibly think of” and done “almost every evil thing you could possibly think of”.
Errol disputed his son’s account, although he admitted he did once shoot dead three intruders at his home in the Western Cape of South Africa. He pleaded self-defence to a manslaughter charge and was acquitted.
He attributed his son’s animosity to the fact that he left America in 2003 and returned to South Africa.
The family has a knack for making money. Elon Musk is one of the biggest names in the technology world. He made his fortune from co-founding companies including Tesla, PayPal, SolarCity and SpaceX.
He has five Bel Air mansions in Los Angeles, seven private jets and has had relationships with the actresses Talulah Riley and Amber Heard. Elon has five sons with his former wife, Justine — a set of twins, Griffin and Xavier, and a set of triplets, Damian, Saxon and Kai.
Errol was a gifted engineer who became a millionaire by the time he was 30. “I drove them to school in a convertible Rolls-Royce Corniche, they had thoroughbred horses to ride and motorbikes at the age of 14. “They were spoilt, I suppose. Maybe that’s why Elon is acting like a spoilt child now,” he said.
Elon’s mother is Errol’s first wife, Maye. The couple met in school and married in 1970, with Elon arriving a year later, followed by two more children. The couple divorced in 1979. Maye now lives in Canada and works as a highly successful model and dietician.
The case has parallels with the film director Woody Allen’s affair with Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his partner Mia Farrow. Allen married Previn in 1997 and Farrow has never forgiven Allen. Only time will tell whether Elon Musk forgives his father.
This article first appeared in The Sunday Times