Who is Nicole Shanahan? Inside the life of Google co-founder Sergey Brin's estranged wife, who had an alleged affair with Elon Musk.

Who is Nicole Shanahan? Inside the life of Google co-founder Sergey Brin's estranged wife, who had an alleged affair with Elon Musk.
Nicole Shanahan (left) and Sergey Brin.Ian Tuttle/Getty Images
  • Nicole Shanahan was married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin for four years before the pair split.
  • Shanahan founded legal tech company ClearAccessIP before focusing on more philanthropic ventures.

Nicole Shanahan is the estranged wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, but her resumé includes much more than a four-year marriage to billionaire.

Shanahan — who made headlines after the Wall Street Journal reported that she had an affair with Tesla CEO Elon Musk while she was married to Brin — is a California-based attorney and founder of legal tech company ClearAccessIP and the Bia-Echo Foundation.

She launched the foundation in 2019, and gave $100 million to social programs focused on efforts like improving the criminal justice system and climate change. The funding also supports fertility later in life, a topic she has firsthand experience with after struggling to become pregnant in her thirties, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported.

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The Bia-Echo Foundation's mission is to "invest in changemakers at the forefront of innovation" in the core areas of criminal justice reform, the health of the planet, and reproductive longevity and equality, according to its website.

Shanahan is also an academic fellow of CodeX, the Stanford Center of Legal Informatics, where she works on a project that applies data science to the prosecutorial process, according to the Stanford Law directory.


Before Shanahan and Brin met at a yoga retreat in 2015, Shanahan was married to a finance executive, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The pair were first spotted together at a dating app CEO's island wedding, according to Insider.

Despite her reported initial struggles to become pregnant, the couple welcomed a daughter in 2018.

Shanahan spoke about her fertility struggles in an emotional speech at the launch of the Center for Female Reproductive Longevity and Equality in 2019, Page Six reported.

"Like many women who are not quite ready to start a family in their early 30s, I decided, or so I thought at the time, to take matters into my own hands and freeze embryos," she said. "However, after three failed attempts at embryo-making and three dozen visits to in vitro fertilization clinics around the Bay Area, I learned that I was not nearly as unshakable as I thought I was."


In January, Brin filed for divorce after learning about the alleged affair between Shanahan and Musk, the Journal reported. The divorce proceedings are still ongoing.

"I hope for Sergey and I to move forward with dignity, honesty and harmony for the sake of our child," Shanahan told Puck News earlier this month in regards to the divorce. "And we are both working towards that."