Elon Musk has been the target of a relentless smear campaign this year. While greedy  figures spew salacious gossip, diehard Tesla fanboys claim to know the real deal — right down to the most obscure detail about The Ironman.

1. Musk has a net worth of $21.8 billion.

All that work at Tesla, SpaceX, and PayPal has really paid off for Musk. He’s currently the 37th-richest person in the world, according to Forbes.

2. Musk was the inspiration for Tony Stark.

The superhero/serial entrepreneur Tony Stark a.k.a Ironman, is based at least a little bit on Musk. The actor who plays him, Robert Downey Jr., reportedly wanted to sit down with Musk to get inspiration for the character. Parts of Iron Man 2 were even filmed at SpaceX and Musk made a cameo appearance in the movie.

3. Musk taught himself computer programming at the age of 9.

He reportedly taught himself the basics of computer programming when he was only 9 years old. Three years later, Musk built a space-themed PC game called Blastar. He sold the code for Blastar for $500 to a computer magazine.

 4. Musk dropped out of Stanford after just two days.

After earning two bachelors’ degrees (yes, two) at the University of Pennsylvania, he moved to California to study Physics at Stanford. But after just two days, he dropped out to found his first company, Zip2 Corporation.

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5. Musk’s official Tesla salary is  lower than you think.

Musk’s total compensation package for Tesla is less than $40,000, and he reportedly doesn’t even cash the checks. However, between the 35 million Tesla shares he owns, and his earnings from SpaceX and he’s doing alright.

6. Musk used to live on a budget of $1 a day.

Musk was determined to survive on $1 a day by buying food at the supermarket in bulk when he arrived in North America. “I went more for the hotdogs and oranges… [but] you do get really tired of hot dogs and oranges after a while,” explained Musk — mixing things up every now and then with some “pasta and green pepper and a big thing of sauce” which he said could “go pretty far too.”

7. Betting on Musk at Tesla’s IPO would’ve made you a lot of money.

Back in 2010, if you’d invested in Elon Musk’s electric car startup when it made its initial public offering, that investment would’ve really paid off. A $1,000 investment in Tesla would be worth more than $21,000 as of Dec. 12, according to CNBC calculations, including price appreciation and dividend gains reinvested. 

8. Musk started building his own rockets when he was a kid.

A housekeeper would take care of Musk and his siblings when his parents were away. “She wasn’t, like, watching me. I was off making explosives and reading books and building rockets and doing things that could have gotten me killed,” said Musk. “I’m shocked that I have all my fingers.”

9. Musk ran a nightclub out of his house in college.

When he was attending the University of Pennsylvania, Musk and his roommate decided to escape student housing and live in a bigger house off-campus. In order to pay the rent, they turned it into a nightclub that attracted as many as 1,000 patrons per night.

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