California attorney Nicole Shanahan speaks after Independent US presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. announced her as his running mate in March 2024.
Nicole Shanahan in March 2024.Anadolu/Getty Images
  • Nicole Shanahan took ketamine with Elon Musk and had a sexual encounter in 2021, NYT reported, citing multiple sources.
  • Shanahan, a lawyer and RFK Jr.’s running mate, was married to Brin from 2018 to 2023.
  • Shanahan and Musk both previously denied having an affair.

Nicole Shanahan took ketamine with Elon Musk at a private party in 2021 and later told her husband at the time, Google cofounder Sergey Brin, that she had sex with the Tesla CEO, The New York Times reported, citing multiple sources.

The New York Times published an article on Wednesday about Shanahan, a lawyer campaigning as Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s running mate for the 2024 presidential election.

The article discussed details of her relationship with Brin, whom she married in 2018 before the pair finalized their divorce in May 2023, and sheds new light on a past allegation that she had an affair with Musk in 2021, which both Shanahan and Musk have denied.

During Shanahan’s marriage to Brin, the Times reported that Shanahan partied with Silicon Valley’s upper echelon and engaged in recreational drug use that included ketamine and cocaine, citing eight sources as well as documents the publication viewed. Ketamine is a “dissociative anesthetic” that can have some hallucinogenic effects, according to The Drug Enforcement Administration. Ketamine can be legally prescribed under federal law and recent research indicates it could be used to treat depression, but it’s also a popular party drug.

Nicole Shanahan and Sergey Brin, who were previously married. Foto: Ian Tuttle/Getty Images

Stressors like the COVID-19 pandemic and their daughter’s autism diagnosis began weighing on the former couple’s marriage, prompting Shanahan to start going out and attending events without Brin, according to the report.

“At a party in early 2021 in Miami, Ms. Shanahan was so intoxicated by drugs and alcohol that she required an IV infusion,” the outlet reported.

Three sources told the Times that Shanahan and Musk had an affair in December 2021 during a private party in Miami. They both took ketamine and “disappeared together for several hours,” the Times reported, citing four people who had been briefed on the matter and related documents.

Musk said in March 2024 that he takes a “small amount” of ketamine every other week and that he has a prescription.

“Ms. Shanahan later told Mr. Brin that she had had sex with Mr. Musk, three of the people said. She also relayed the details to friends, family and advisers,” the Times reported.

Elon Musk. Foto: Anna Webber/Variety/Getty Images

Brin filed for divorce from Shanahan one month later in January 2022, citing “irreconcilable differences.”

Representatives for Shanahan, Musk, and Brin did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment ahead of publication.

The Wall Street Journal first reported in July 2022 that an “alleged affair” between Shanahan and Musk had created a rift between the Tesla CEO and Brin, whom many considered to have a close and amicable friendship.

Musk denied the affair with Shanahan that July, calling the WSJ report “total bs” in an X post. At the time, Musk’s relationship with singer Grimes, with whom he shares three children, had ended.

“This is total bs. Sergey and I are friends and were at a party together last night!” Musk wrote. “I’ve only seen Nicole twice in three years, both times with many other people around. Nothing romantic.”

He added in another post: “Haven’t even had sex in ages (sigh).”

Musk also posted a photo of himself with Brin, which he said had been taken at the party the previous day (his biographer Walter Isaacson later said that Brin had “tried to avoid” the selfie).

“We are confident in our sourcing, and we stand by our reporting,” The Wall Street Journal said in a statement at the time.

Shanahan also denied any affair, telling People that the speculation was “utterly debilitating.”

“To be known because of a sexual act is one of the most humiliating things . . . it was utterly debilitating,” she told the outlet. “I remember feeling like everything I had ever worked for was under siege by a press cycle that had no idea what was going on in my life and who I was.”

In response to questions from a The New York Times reporter, Shanahan said she was “shocked the NYT is letting you run something like this.”

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