Steve Jobs is considered one of the fathers of Apple, but he wasn’t that great of a dad to his ‘secret’ daughter. Lisa Brennan-Jobs has a new memoir, ‘Small Fry,’ coming out, so get to know about his eldest daughter.
For billions of people, Steve Jobs is considered the man responsible for the phones in their pockets. For Lisa Brennan-Jobs, 40, he was the father who didn’t want her for a daughter. This troubled relationship has been detailed in her upcoming memoir, Small Fry, and an excerpt was published in Vanity Fair on Aug. 3. Spoiler alert – though things got better between, there was no grand reconciliation (Steve died at age 56 on Oct. 5, 2011 after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.) “For him, I was a blot on a spectacular ascent, as our story did not fit with the narrative of greatness and virtue he might have wanted for himself. My existence ruined his streak. For me, it was the opposite: the closer I was to him, the less I would feel ashamed; he was part of the world, and he would accelerate me into the light.”
1. She was born on a farm. “In the spring of 1978, when my parents [Steve and Chrisann Brennan] were 23, my mother gave birth to me on their friend Robert’s farm in Oregon, with the help of two midwives,” Lisa wrote in Vanity Fair. “The labor and delivery took three hours, start to finish. My father arrived a few days later. “It’s not my kid,” he kept telling everyone at the farm, but he’d flown there to meet me anyway. I had black hair and a big nose, and Robert said, “She sure looks like you.”
2. Steve denied he was her father until a DNA test proved he was her daddy. Since Steve wasn’t going to help financially, Lisa’s mother had to work multiple jobs in order to provide for her daughter. It all came to a head in 1980, when the D.A. of San Mateo County sued Steve for child-support payments. After a DNA test proved Steve was the father, he was required to cover welfare back payments and child support payments of $385 per month. After the case was finalized, Lisa met her father for the first time since she was a newborn.
“You know who I am?” he asked. He flipped his hair out of his eyes.
I was three years old; I didn’t.
“I’m your father.” (“Like he was Darth Vader,” my mother said later, when she told me the story.)
“I’m one of the most important people you will ever know,” he said.
3. He once told her “You’ll get nothing.” Lisa claims she once overheard her mother tell her boyfriend that whenever Steve got a scratch on his Porsche, he would get a new one. Since Lisa knew her father to be a millionaire, she believed it. Later in the year, while spending the night over at Steve’s house (so her mother could take college classes in San Francisco), she asked her father, “Can I have it when you’re done?”
“Can you have what?” he asked. “This car, Your Porsche.” Steve’s response? “Absolutely not…. You’re not getting anything,” he said. “You understand? Nothing. You’re getting nothing.”
4. Yes, the Apple computer is named after her. The Lisa computer from Apple was a precursor to the Macintosh, the first mass-market computer with an external mouse. However, it was too expensive and, according to Lisa, a commercial failure. She once asked her father if the computer was named after her. “Nope. Sorry, kid.” Yet, when she was 27 – after she and Steve had patched up their relationship – she found out the truth. After Steve invited her to go on vacation with him and his other family (he married Laurene Powell, 54, in 1991 and had three other kids, Eve, 20, Erin, 22, and Reed, 26). While staying at Bono’s villa in the Mediterranean, the US front man asked, “So, was the Lisa computer named after her?”
“Yeah, it was,” Steve said. “I thought so,” Bono said.
5. She’s a writer. Lisa graduated from Harvard University in 2000. During her tenure at the school, she wrote for The Harvard Crimson. Upon graduating, she moved to Manhattan to work as a writer, and she has been published in The Harvard Advocate, Spiked, Vogue, O, The Oprah Magazine and more. Her memoir, Small Fry, will be published by Grove Press on Sept. 4, 2018.