• Gwynne Shotwell once accused a SpaceX employee of having an affair with her husband, The Wall Street Journal reported. 
  • Shotwell became suspicious after the woman helped her husband plan a surprise birthday party, per the report.
  • The Journal cited people close to the woman and emails it viewed.

Gwynne Shotwell, Elon Musk's second-in-command at SpaceX, once accused an employee of having an affair with her husband, The Wall Street Journal reported.

It cited the SpaceX employee's account to friends and family and emails she showed the outlet.

Shotwell, SpaceX's chief operating officer, reportedly became suspicious of the woman after her husband enlisted her help to plan his wife's surprise 50th birthday party.

The employee rang Robert Shotwell to arrange for him to collect boxes for the party from her house, which led to Gwynne Shotwell suspecting the pair of having an affair, the report said.

Robert Shotwell sent the woman an email in November 2013 with the subject line "Trouble," adding: "She accused us of having an affair …Be prepared when she gets in."

The employee reportedly told a human resources executive about Shotwell's accusation, which later got back to the COO. The report said that Shotwell appeared to retaliate against the employee. Musk is the CEO of SpaceX.

The woman told people close to her that she ended up in a tug-of-war between Shotwell and Musk. While Shotwell tried to push her out, Musk appeared to be trying to pull her in. The woman no longer works for SpaceX.

SpaceX representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider made outside normal working hours.

In response to the Journal's report, Musk's lawyers sent a sworn declaration from SpaceX's HR vice president stating he could not locate an HR complaint from the woman.

Shotwell told the Journal in a statement that its report did not reflect SpaceX's culture. She did not respond to its questions about the employee's claims.

The Journal's story also mentioned that a SpaceX employee who first met Musk when she was a summer intern had sex with him.

Shotwell is regarded by some as the secret to the company's success. According to an org chart reported by The Information, the executive leads operations and oversees most teams and projects.

Shotwell has 21 direct reports compared to Musk's four, and she oversees most of SpaceX's central business, including the teams working on Starlink, Falcon, and Starship.

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