The SpaceX head and “Rum Diary” actress are the latest Hollywood-Silicon Valley couple
She marked it with a kiss.
Elon Musk confirmed Silicon Valley’s worst kept secret over the weekend by posting an image–lipstick mark on cheek included– on Instagram of himself with actress Amber Heard. The date night pic was the first time the Tesla chief exec has acknowledged a relationship with the “Danish Girl” star, who was previously married to Johnny Depp.
The SpaceX boss, known for his bold prognostications about the future, went out of his way to court Heard. Per the Hollywood Reporter, Musk asked filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and other mutual acquaintances to set them up after he made a cameo appearance in Rodriguez’s 2013 movie “Machete Kills,” in which Heard starred.
While not typically known for their cool, an increasing number of tech tycoons are dating Hollywood celebrities. Supermodel Miranda Kerr is engaged to Snap founder Evan Spiegel and 23andMe’s Anne Wojcicki once dated Alex Rodriguez. Reddit chairman Alexis Ohanian is the fiancé of tennis legend Serena Williams, while “Girls” star Allison Williams is married to College Humor co-founder Ricky Van Veen.
“A lot of self-described geeks are now Silicon Valley heads who get the prom queen, though they didn’t in high school,” says executive coach Debra Benton. Silicon Valley’s top managers are almost all men, with Wojcicki being a notable exception.
Corporate management experts say that Musk’s relationship is probably a plus for Tesla and Space X. “He gets a prize and looks like a winner,” says Benton, who has worked with companies like Citi and General Electric. “Therefore, the public thinks that his company is a winner too.”
She thinks Musk revealing their relationship on his own volition is a big plus. “It’s better than TMZ catching them sneak out of a restaurant,” Benton says. “He’s taking the wind out of the sails of concerns his executive team or board of directors might have about him being distracted.”
While Musk is revered in the tech industry, dating a celeb could also help expand Tesla’s brand awareness. Amber Heard “may have followers who don’t know about space exploration or the brilliant disruption he’s undertaking,” says New York-based exec coach Ann Mehl. “It could lead to more interest and perhaps more women getting interested in engineering as they ask ‘what’s this guy all about?’”
One potential downside for Tesla shareholders is if the new couple eventually break up tempestuously. Heard’s recent divorce with Johnny Depp for instance, resulted in more than a few splashy tabloid headlines. As such, Mehl recommends that Musk hire a celeb publicist, or at least seek counsel from another tech world bigshot who’s dated an entertainment industry star. “It might not hurt to get tips on how to guard your privacy,” she says. “He has so many responsibilities and won’t want to get sidelined.”
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