Elon Musk is one of the world’s richest people, but he didn’t grow up wealthy, according to his mother Maye: She says she had to scrimp, save and hustle to raise him and his siblings after her divorce. “Anyone who knows me says they don’t envy my life. I’ve just been through very hard times,” Maye tells CBS News in a recent interview. “I had to pay the rent, I needed a roof over our head and food for us to eat.”
At 70, Maye is a model, nutritionist and full-time fan of her three grown entrepreneurial kids, Elon, Kimbal and Tosca but, for many years, modeling was a way to make money and maintain her family. She says she did it “to survive.” And at one point, she had to work a total of five jobs: “I was a research officer at the University of Toronto. I was teaching two nights a week at a nutrition college and two nights a week at a modeling agency. I modeled and I gave talks, and I had a private practice,” Maye tells Forbes.
When Maye was 22, she married Errol Musk, an engineer, and she became pregnant with Elon while they were on their honeymoon. After that, two other children followed, but the couple then divorced, leaving Maye, then 31, to raise the children as a single mother.
Elon says he’s “naturally good at engineering” because of his father, who came from a wealthy background, but his memories of Errol are far from fond: “He was such a terrible human being,” he tells Rolling Stone.
Without him, though, the family struggled to make ends meet. “After my divorce, I had to house and feed three kids without maintenance. Poverty makes you work really hard,” Maye tells the Huffington Post.
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