During his lifetime Steve Jobs was notoriously private about his personal affairs, but since his death that shroud of mystery has been pulled back a bit. It was pulled back even further this week, when Chrisann Brennan, Jobs’ first serious girlfriend and the mother of his daughter Lisa, released the first excerpt from her tell-all book, “The Bite in the Apple: A Memoir of My Life With Steve Jobs.”
Brennan and Jobs met as students at Homestead High School in Cupertino, Calif., and briefly lived together with Daniel Kottke, their mutual friend and one of the first Apple employees. Now a San Francisco painter who creates "visionary and futurist paintings that are multi-dimensionally activated for evolution on Earth," Brennan chronicles the ups and downs of their intense, on-again off-again five-year relationship in the memoir, to be released Oct. 29 through St. Martin’s Press.
In a snippet published in the New York Post on Tuesday, Brennan tells how her relationship with Jobs “was running hot and cold” when they moved in together in 1977, and then when she became pregnant with his child later that year, they split for good.
After the two went their separate ways at 23 – coincidentally, the same age Jobs’ biological parents were when they had him -- Jobs categorically denied for years that he was the father of their daughter, despite taking a positive paternity test in 1979. He maintained in court that it was impossible he was the father, because he was “sterile and infertile, and as a result thereof, did not have the physical capacity to procreate a child.”
Adding insult to injury, Jobs also claimed during a 1983 interview with Time magazine that “28 percent of the male population in the United States could be the father.”
For a time, Brennan supported herself and Lisa, for whom Jobs later admitted the Apple Lisa computer was named, by waitressing and going on welfare. Jobs eventually recognized Lisa Brennan-Jobs as his child and later paid for her to attend Harvard.
Among the subjects Brennan opens up about in the book are Jobs’ relationship with his spiritual adviser, Japanese zen master Kobun Chino Otogawa, a dynamic she found to be “self-aggrandizing.”
“Steve had a way of being spiritually advanced while also being emotionally underdeveloped, and I started to wonder why Kobun didn’t understand this,” Brennan writes. “I was wary because I didn’t think enlightened people bragged, and I sensed that these two were too infatuated with themselves.”
Brennan also alleges that as Apple began to take off, Jobs’ success quickly changed the power dynamic in their relationship. She pinpoints one encounter, after they threw a party together in their home, where she felt truly subordinate to Jobs for the first time, because she realized that he expected her to clean up for him.
“The next morning there was a confusing moment when Steve, looking around and squinting, asked what we should do with ‘it.’ I didn’t understand the question until I realized that he was asking if there was a service we could call in to take care of the dirty dishes,” she writes. “He had entered into an elite world where others took care of the lower-level functions so that he could operate with more efficiency, on his presumably higher plane. I not too happily cleaned them up by myself.”
Weeks afterward, according to Brennan, he began complaining about her having “too many wrinkles” when she furrowed her brow. “It was mean and I felt rejected, but I just didn’t have a comeback.”
It was around that time, Brennan says, that through his newfound power at Apple, Jobs’ behavior as a “brilliant misfit” transformed into “positively despotic.”
“As Steve’s first girlfriend, I increasingly experienced what it felt like to have him turn against me. And so it was at this time that I began to perceive that awesome and awful could be but a hair’s breadth apart,” Brennan says.
Read the full excerpt from Brennan’s novel at the New York Post's site.