Grimes and Elon Musk's custody battle has turned into a California-Texas showdown. Here's a complete timeline of the case. (2024)

Elon Musk and Grimes are locked in a contentious custody battle over the three children the former couple share: 3-year-old X Æ A-12, also known as baby X, 2-year-old Exa, and 1-year-old and Tau.

The billionaire and the musician have filed dueling lawsuits against one another in two different states, Texas and California respectively, setting up their first major fight in court: proving where the children actually live, and in which state the case should go forward. Where the case plays out could have major consequences, as Texas limits child support payments for three children to $2,760 a month, while California has no cap.

Here's a timeline of the custody battle, including when the suits were filed and the accusations Musk and Grimes have made against each other in court.

April 22, 2022: Grimes filed petition in Los Angeles

Grimes claimed in a recent court document that she first filed a petition to "determine parental relationship" in Los Angeles on April 22, 2022. Business Insider was unable to independently verify the petition in LA County's online courts database.


The document would've been filed a few months before Musk and Grimes welcomed their third child, Techno Mechanicus, or Tau, via surrogate in June 2022. Musk had also fathered another child with Grimes via surrogate in December 2021, Exa Dark Sideræl.

Musk began the process of buying Twitter (now called X) in April 2022. The pair had flown out to see Grimes' parents on April 9, but Musk had stayed behind at the hotel in "stress mode," weighing whether to buy the social media company, Grimes told Walter Isaacson. The billionaire later made his $44 billion bid on April 14.

What followed was a tumultuous year for both Grimes and Musk. The billionaire began sleeping at the social media company's headquarters and got into a series of political spats.

That same year, Grimes also learned Musk had separately fathered a set of twins with a director at one of his startups. In July 2022, Grimes learned of Musk's twins with Shivon Zilis via a Business Insider report, according to Isaacson's biography on Musk.

In August 2023, Grimes and Musk traveled to Tokyo together, but Musk said in his petition that their relationship broke down shortly after. He said Grimes flew back to California on a commercial flight on August 23 and that their two youngest children "have not been back in Texas" since, according to the court documents.

September 7, 2023: Musk sues Grimes

Musk sued Grimes in Texas in early September to "establish the parent-child relationship" with their three kids.

In his petition, he said he took legal action after he realized Grimes "was not returning to Texas with the younger children." Meanwhile, their eldest son, X, had remained with Musk in Texas.

On the same day Musk filed his custody suit, Grimes wrote and then quickly deleted a post on X calling for Musk to "let me see my son or plz respond to my lawyer," adding in response to a photo of Musk with Zilis: "I have never even been allowed to see a photo of these children until this moment, despite the situation utterly ripping my family apart."


Grimes and Zilis later took to social media to say they were no longer feuding.

September 29, 2023: Grimes sues Musk

Weeks after the Texas suit, Grimes sued Musk in San Francisco, asking for primary physical custody and joint legal custody of their three kids.

Meanwhile, Musk waded into the immigration debate, visiting the US-Mexico border on September 28 and calling for a Trump-style wall.

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Ten days prior, Musk took his three-year-old son, X, to a meeting with the president of Turkey in New York. The event led to an awkward exchange in which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asked Musk where his "wife" was.


"Oh, she's in San Francisco," Musk replied. "We're separated, I take care of him mostly."

October 6, 2023: Grimes says the kids don't live in Texas

Grimes responded to Musk's lawsuit in October, arguing that Texas was not the right jurisdiction for the custody battle. In the filing, Grimes said that two of the children had been living with her in California for more than six months before the litigation began and that California is their home state.

She acknowledged that one of the children, X, was not presently in California, but said he was only absent from the state over her objection.

On October 5, Musk learned he was under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission for his Twitter purchase, while on October 7, Musk's X struggled to combat misinformation on the Israel-Hamas war. His company continues to see a mass exodus of advertisers over reports of unchecked hate speech on the site.


November 3, 2023: Grimes tracking down Musk

Grimes revealed in court records on November 3 the lengths to which her team went to serve Musk custody papers, which included tracking his private jets.

Also on November 3, Musk sat down for an interview with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to chat about AI regulation, following a global summit on the issue.

November 20, 2023: Musk accuses Grimes of trying to avoid Texas courts

Musk filed an amended petition on November 20 that accused Grimes of moving to California this year in order to avoid the jurisdiction of Texas, where the billionaire could be ordered to pay significantly less in child support.

The petition was filed only a few days after Musk faced backlash for appearing to boost an anti-semitic post on X. Tesla owners and investors alike spoke out against the billionaire. Then Musk appeared to go on what some called an "apology tour" on November 27.


November 28, 2023: Musk voices security concerns

Musk asked a Texas judge to restrict access to his custody battle for his kids' safety.

That same week, Musk sat down for a bizarre interview with Andrew Sorkin at the Dealbook Summit. At the event, Musk told X advertisers that had fled the platform to "Go f*ck yourself" and even directed his comments directly at Disney CEO Bob Iger.

November 30: Grimes says Musk won't let nannies testify for her

In court records filed at the end of November, Grimes accused Musk of not allowing their children's nannies to testify on her behalf. Family law experts previously told Insider that interviews with nannies might be used to help prove where the kids primarily live.

Grimes said Musk was using nondisclosure agreements that he previously had the nannies sign in order to prevent them from speaking. However, she claimed Musk was "cherry-picking" information from the nannies for his benefit.


On November 30, Tesla hosted its biggest event of the year — Cybertruck deliveries. The 30-minute event drew ire from some Tesla fans after Musk failed to deliver on some of his promises for the vehicle, including its price and range.

December 4: Musk details evidence of the children primarily living in Texas

In an amended complaint filed in Texas court, Musk included Grimes' own social media posts over recent years in which the musician both explicitly said and heavily suggested she was living in Austin, Texas — including posts from months after she claims she moved to California with her two youngest children.

Musk also detailed aspects of the kids' lives in Texas, including their doctor's visits and schooling. The billionaire also filed another motion to seal the case, arguing his and his children's security is at risk as long as the filings remain accessible to the public.

Meanwhile on social media, Musk has continued to lash out at advertisers who are retreating from his social media platform. On Thursday, the billionaire took aim at Iger again, saying the Disney CEO should be "fired immediately."

Grimes and Elon Musk's custody battle has turned into a California-Texas showdown. Here's a complete timeline of the case. (2024)


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