Sergey Brin’s ex-wife Nicole Shanahan addresses Elon Musk affair allegations

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Sergey Brin’s ex-wife, Nicole Shanahan, has addressed the allegations that she had an affair with Elon Musk.

Shanahan denied claims that she was in a relationship with Musk during a recent interview with People. Her comments came one year after aWall Street Journal report claimed that when she split from Brin in December 2021, it was because she had an affair with the Tesla CEO.

During her conversation with People, she explained that she’s only friends with Musk. She also clarified that they got to know each other after Brin helped fund Tesla.

“Did Elon and I have sex, like it was a moment of passion, and then it was over? No,” she said. “Did we have a romantic relationship? No. We didn’t have an affair.”

She specified that she turned to Musk for advice about how she “might think about” different autism treatments for her now-four-year-old daughter, Echo, who she shares with Brin. She went on to explain how meaningful this talk was with Musk, as he’s done work with his neurotechnology company, Neuralink.

“It was a conversation that was very meaningful about life and how people show up for one another,” she said. “To be painted with such a massive scarlet letter for it just seems so unfair.”

The 37-year-old said that within her and her ex’s friend groups, she’s had many conversations about autism treatments. “There’s a community of friendship involving not just Sergey and Elon but many other people in the tech world — investors, founders, really big thinkers, dreamers and doers,” she explained.

She continued: “Elon was another person in this group of people. There’s almost this generational ecosystem and it’s a community. You run ideas past each other and you ask questions.”

Shanahan also acknowledged that the SpaceX founder isn’t one of her best friends, explaining that she doesn’t feel as close to him as she does with her “girlfriends”.

“My girlfriends that I’ve known for 10, 15 years that we’re like sisters to each other? No, it’s not that relationship — but I would call it a collegial environment,” she said about her friendship with Musk.

She also wondered how the affair rumours got started in the first place, as she questioned if it was due to “just general interest in sex, money, power”.

“I mean, that’s the piece that still has me confounded is how that part of the story effectively overshadowed everything else going on in the news at the time,” she said.

She compared the importance of climate change to the inaccurate rumours about the affair, as she asked: “Why does it matter so much?”

In July 2022, WSJ claimed, quoting people familiar with the matter, Shanahan had a brief affair with Musk in December 2021. The association is what led to the couple filing for divorce in January 2022 and brought an end to a long friendship between the two billionaires, the report said.

The WSJ report also claimed that Shanahan and Brin signed a prenuptial agreement and were discussing the terms of their divorce, in which she is seeking over $1bn.

However, Musk denied the report and said he had “nothing romantic” with her.

“This is total bs,” he tweeted. “Sergey and I are friends and were at a party together last night! I’ve only seen Nicole twice in three years, both times with many other people around. Nothing romantic.”

Speaking to People, she expressed that when this report came out, she felt like her professional life was also in jeopardy.

“I remember feeling like everything I had ever worked for was under siege by a press cycle that had no idea what was going on in my life and who I was,” she said.

She claimed that when people on Google have searched her name, Musk’s name also comes up, which she said has encouraged her to stay out of the spotlight.

“There’s a lot of layers of irony. It feels frustrating,” Shanahan said. “I stayed out of conferences and public conversations for almost a year. I had to come to terms with that reality

Although she didn’t specify who she thought that the sources in the WSJ report are, she shared a message to the sources. She said that she had “a strong sense of who they are and what they were motivated by”.

“It would be very easy to be angry and to feel defamed and seek clarity,” she added. “In practical terms I understand why they did it, but in a deeper, spiritual context, I can’t understand — I would never do anything like that.”

However, Shanahan said that she’s not harping on the past, as she concluded her message to the unnamedsources: “I forgive you, and I’m moving on.”

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