Elon Musk was finalizing a divorce, dating the actress Amber Heard, and developing The Boring Company around the time he was said to have exposed himself and sexually propositioned a SpaceX flight attendant.
An Insider investigation by Rich McHugh, published Thursday, found that the flight attendant accused Musk of exposing his erect penis, touching her leg, and offering to give her a horse in exchange for a sexual favor in late 2016. She declined his proposition, per documents and interviews procured by Insider.
At the time, Musk was in the middle of divorce proceedings with the actress Talulah Riley. It was their second split: Musk announced their divorce in 2012, and the couple remarried in 2013. Musk then filed for divorce from Riley in December 2014, then withdrew the paperwork seven months later. In 2016, their relationship ended for good, with their divorce finalized that October.
That year Musk was also rumored to be dating Heard, whom he met and bonded with at the Met Gala in May 2016.
More details about Musk and Heard's yearlong relationship recently emerged in the course of the latter's high-profile defamation trial against her ex, Johnny Depp. According to Heard's therapist, the actress "felt nothing" and her "soul was dead" when she started dating Musk several weeks after splitting with Depp.
In October 2016, Musk also announced that Tesla was planning to develop solar roofs. A month later, Tesla closed on its acquisition of Musk's cousins' company, SolarCity — a landmark deal that later landed Musk in a $2 billion lawsuit from Tesla's shareholders, which he won in April 2022.
And in December 2016, Musk came up with the idea of The Boring Company. He tweeted on December 17 that year: "Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging..."
"It shall be called 'The Boring Company,'" Musk tweeted.
According to Insider's investigation, SpaceX in 2018 paid the flight attendant a $250,000 severance agreement in exchange for a promise not to sue over the claims or discuss the payment, Musk, or his businesses.
Musk told Insider that there is "a lot more to this story" and on Friday morning called the accusations "utterly untrue." He also called the story "politically motivated hit piece."