Elon Musk has been called many things, including eccentric, weird, spontaneous, and brilliant. Many consider him a genius, but some think the Tesla and SpaceX founder is simply out of his mind. In fact, there was a time in his childhood when Musk doubted his own sanity and thought he might be sent to a mental institution. Why would a 6-year-old think that?

Maybe crazy like a fox, but always amusing

Musk might be many things, but the South African native has never been accused of mediocrity.

Notable for his sometimes outlandish behavior, Musk crashed a million-dollar car that wasn’t insured and sent a Tesla into orbit around Mars.

He even smoked a joint with Joe Rogan on a live broadcast.

On that episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, Musk admitted to wondering if he were crazy when he was a young child.

“It was not a happy childhood. I think when I was, I don’t know, 5 or 6 or something, I thought I was insane.”

When Rogan asked why, Musk explained that even as a youngster, he knew other people’s minds were not always “exploding with ideas” like his.

He added that he felt strange while hoping others wouldn’t find out and “put me away.”

Elon Musk: Hero or madman?

Not content with acting oddly, Musk has also made numerous bizarre statements. In 2015, he appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. When the host asked if he was trying to save the world, Musk replied, “I’m trying to do useful things.” He also noted that Mars is “a fixer-upper of a planet” that might be better suited to human colonization if we dropped thermonuclear weapons over the poles.

Scientists are skeptical that such a nuclear-powered plot would make Mars more Earth-like, CNN reports. Nonetheless, Musk repeated his assertion with a two-word Twitter post in 2019: “Nuke Mars!”

There’s a good chance Musk is not an arch-villain, a superhero, or a crazy genius. As he revealed to a global audience on Saturday Night Live this past May, Musk has a form of autism called Asperger syndrome. MSN reports that Musk’s place on the autism spectrum explains his sometimes seemingly odd behavior and interactions.

During his opening monologue, Musk said he was the only SNL host with autism. The New York Post corrected him while explaining that SNL alumnus Bill Murray has also been diagnosed with Asperger’s.

Life hasn’t been easy for Elon Musk

To an outsider, it may seem that Musk lives a charmed life full of success and unimaginable wealth.

But according to his ex-wife and mother of most of his children, the future entrepreneur’s formative years were the opposite of easy. His second wife, Talulah Riley, confirmed the SpaceX leader endured a brutal childhood and experienced night terrors during their time together, the Daily Mail reported.

And in a Life Stories by Goalcast clip, Musk’s first wife, Justine, revealed much about her ex-husband’s difficult childhood in South Africa. The erstwhile Mrs. Musk explained that the future billionaire was bullied by can-tossing schoolmates who harassed the boy so much that he hated going to school.

Eventually, young Musk sought refuge in computer games, inspiring his interest in programming. Justine also noted that the bullies who threw cans at a young Musk don’t do it anymore.

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