Talulah Riley: ‘Elon Musk is the perfect ex-husband’

The author and actor, who married the Tesla billionaire twice, talks to Charlotte Cripps about her new novel ‘The Quickening’ and why she’s happiest away from LA and in the English countryside

Thursday 30 June 2022 14:34 BST
<p>Talulah Riley’s ‘The Quickening’ is her second novel </p>

Talulah Riley’s ‘The Quickening’ is her second novel

I mean, there’s some pretty graphic stuff in there – like castration. I don’t know if would be good for TV. It basically turns into torture porn at the end,” laughs Talulah Riley. She is discussing her new book The Quickening about a terrifying dystopian matriarchy where “the future is fully female” as the tagline reads, and in which men are second-class citizens – many are forcibly turned into eunuchs in grotesque scenes. London looks very different – for example, St Paul’s Cathedral is now an all-female spa where women can “free bleed” on their period and its dome has a golden teat like a “beautiful blond breast”.

Men are tortured, castrated and kept like trophy wives in marital homes. It’s as dark and gripping as Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale – and, in my opinion, a no-brainer for a TV series. She’s also starring as Vivienne Westwood in Danny Boyle’s Pistol, the new FX TV drama charting the rise of the Sex Pistols on Disney+ – the fashion designer gave Riley her blessing to play her, and is, most famously, Elon Musk’s ex-wife. They married and divorced twice – first in 2010 to 2012 and then in 2013 to 2016.

“Obviously I understand it looks strange. But that logic made sense at the time,” says Riley, 36, sitting curled up on a chair looking refreshingly unglamorous in an old white fluffy jumper while explaining her on-off, on-off relationship with the billionaire Tesla and SpaceX boss–who is in the process of buying Twitter for $44bn.

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