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Elon Musk sued Grimes for custody of their three children a month before she filed a lawsuit against him

Both the tech mogul and the singer took legal action against each other, but the pair have reached a settlement that, for the time being, avoids a trial

Elon Musk y Grimes
Elon Musk and Grimes.Getty Images

Tycoon Elon Musk and singer Grimes have three children together, and the former couple appears to be waging personal, legal and (of course) storytelling battles over them. The two dated between early 2018 and spring 2022 (approximately), share three children and are in the midst of a custody battle to determine where the children live and who pays child support. On Tuesday, the fact that the Canadian artist, 35, had filed a lawsuit against Musk became public; three days later, it has been reported that he sued her first a month ago. However, it seems that they have reached an in extremis agreement that avoided a trial to decide the fate of their children, which was scheduled to take place this Friday.

On September 29, Grimes, 35, sued Musk, 52, in California, and only one sentence was leaked from that lawsuit: she had filed “a petition to establish a parental relationship.” That is a legal request for parents to recognize that their children are indeed theirs when the parents aren’t married, as is the case for Grimes and Musk, and as happened a few months ago with Al Pacino and Noor Alfallah, the mother of the actor’s son. Once the “parental relationship” is established, the parent can start suing for custody, child support, visitation... However, it has been leaked that Grimes also sued for physical custody of the children and petitioned for a “standard restraining order” so that the children cannot leave California, where she lives. Musk lives in Texas, and he wants to prevent her from taking them away.

Although it seemed that Grimes had taken the first step (in fact, a few days earlier she had already let it slip on her X account, formerly Twitter, that the Tesla founder would not let her see her youngest son, nor would he respond to her lawyer), it turns out that Musk beat her to the punch. A new lawsuit was leaked three days after Grimes’s own lawsuit became public. According to Insider, Elon Musk filed a lawsuit against Claire Boucher (the singer’s real name) in San Francisco on September 7, over three weeks before his ex-partner sued him. Grimes was served on the 13th and filed suit against him on the 29th.

In the lawsuit, Musk also petitioned to “establish a parent-child relationship” with the three children, in order to have access to them. In addition, the tycoon accused Grimes of having fled Texas and settled in California “in an apparent attempt to circumvent [the] jurisdiction” of the southern state, Musk’s residence for at least “six consecutive months.” Although Musk was confident they could decide custody of the little ones —X Æ A-Xii (about three years old and referred to as X), Exa Dark Sideræl (born via surrogate in December and called Y) and the youngest, Techno Mechanicus (affectionately known as Tau, also born via surrogate and about a year old)— themselves, he wanted the Texas courts to make the decision if they were unable to reach an agreement. According to Page Six, Grimes has declared herself a non-resident of Texas in Musk’s lawsuit, despite the fact that the couple and their children lived there, in the same house, during May, June and July of this year.

Grimes with Elon Musk at the Met Gala on May 7, 2018.
Grimes with Elon Musk at the Met Gala on May 7, 2018. Charles Sykes (AP)

In the end, the two reached an agreement that meant that they didn’t attend the legal proceedings held earlier on Friday, the details of which are unknown. Neither of the two wanted to publicly expose their children or the case. In fact, the legal documents made it difficult to identify them, because they referred to the parties by the initials of their middle names (R for him, Elon Reeve Musk; and E for her, Claire Elise Boucher) and did not use the children’s names. In fact, Musk claimed in his lawsuit that the leaking of information about the case “would jeopardize the health, safety or liberty” of the children, Grimes and himself. Ultimately, however, news of the lawsuits became public.

The couple’s timeline, their relationship’s fits and starts and their personalities make it difficult to predict what will happen in this case. In May 2018, the pair went public with their relationship at the Metropolitan Museum gala in New York. In May 2020, their first child was born; controversially, they named him X Æ A-12, which they subsequently changed to X Æ A-Xii. A year and a half later, in September 2021, the couple announced that they were “semi-separating.” At the time, Musk asserted: “But we still love each other, see each other frequently and are on very good terms.” The two were on such good terms that, unbeknownst to the public, they were about to have another child together, a girl named Y. She was born via surrogate in December 2021, but the birth only became public when Grimes mentioned it in an interview with Vanity Fair. Later, they had another child together, Tau, who was also born by surrogate, as a recent biography of Musk reveals.

Therefore, the couple’s relationship has continued to be one of stops and starts, even as they lived together last spring, raising their children, three of Musk’s ten kids (he has five with his first wife and one-and-a-half-year-old twins with one of his employees). For the time being, the two managed to reach a last-minute agreement. In any case, the man who bought Twitter and renamed it X is looking to get the agreement in writing and clarify the terms of the children’s guardianship. If the agreement reached today is not successful, he will seek mediation; if that does not succeed, he intends to pursue the matter—including a trial—in Texas.

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