Lisa Brennan-Jobs

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Lisa Brennan-Jobs
Brennan-Jobs in August 2005 (A JPG image)
Brennan-Jobs in August 2005
Born Lisa Nicole Brennan
(1978-05-17) May 17, 1978 (age 37)
All One Farm commune, Oregon
Nationality American
Alma mater

Lisa Nicole Brennan-Jobs (born Lisa Nicole Brennan; May 17, 1978) is an American writer. She is the daughter of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and Chrisann Brennan. For several years Jobs denied paternity, which led to a legal case and various media reports in the early days of Apple; they eventually reconciled. Brennan-Jobs later worked as a journalist and magazine writer.

An early Apple computer, the Lisa, is named for Brennan-Jobs, and she has been depicted in a number of biographies and films, including the biopics Pirates of Silicon Valley, Jobs, and Steve Jobs. A fictionalized version of her is a major character in her aunt Mona Simpson's novel A Regular Guy.

Birth and the Apple Lisa[edit]

Lisa Nicole Brennan was born on May 17, 1978 on Robert Friedland's All One Farm commune outside of Portland, Oregon.[1][2] Her mother, Chrisann Brennan, and her father, Steve Jobs, first met at Homestead High School in Cupertino, California in 1972 and had an on-again, off-again relationship for the next five years.[1][2] In 1977, after Jobs had founded Apple Inc., he and Brennan moved into a house with their friend Daniel Kottke near the company's office in Cupertino, where they all worked.[1][2][3] It was during this period that Brennan became pregnant with Lisa. Jobs, however, did not assume responsibility for the pregnancy, which led Chrisann to end the relationship, leave their shared home, and support herself by cleaning houses.[2]

In 1978, Brennan moved to the All One Farm commune to have the baby. Jobs was not present for the baby's birth and only came up three days later after Robert Friedland, the farm's owner and a friend of Jobs' from Reed College, persuaded him to do so. Brennan and Jobs named the baby Lisa. Jobs named the computer project he was working on the Apple Lisa after her. Shortly after, Jobs publicly denied that he was the child's father. He claimed that the Apple Lisa was not named for her, and had his team come up with the phrase "Local Integrated Software Architecture" as an alternative explanation for project's name.[1][4] Decades later Jobs admitted that "obviously, it was named for my daughter."[1]

Paternity case and reconciliation[edit]

Jobs, however, publicly denied paternity after she was born, which led to a legal case. Even after a DNA paternity test established him as her father, he continued to deny it.[1][4][5] It required him to provide Brennan with $385 per month and to reimburse the state for the money she had received from welfare. After Apple went public and Jobs became a millionaire, he increased the payment to $500 a month.[2] Michael Moritz interviewed Jobs, Brennan, and a number of others for the 1982 Time Person of the Year special issue, released on January 3, 1983. In his interview, Jobs questioned the reliability of the paternity test, which had found that the "probability of paternity for Jobs, Steven... is 94.1%").[6] Jobs responded by arguing that "28% of the male population of the United States could be the father."[1][2][6] Rather than name him "Person of the Year", as he and many others expected while giving the interviews, the issue was instead titled "Machine of the Year: The Computer Moves In."[7] The thematic change occurred after Moritz heard about Brennan-Jobs as well as Jobs' management style.[1][2]

Years later, after Jobs left Apple, he acknowledged Lisa and attempted to reconcile with her. Chrisann Brennan wrote that "he apologized many times over for his behavior" to her and Lisa and "said that he never took responsibility when he should have, and that he was sorry."[2] After reconciling with her, nine-year-old Lisa wanted to change her last name and Jobs was happy to agree to it. Jobs legally altered her birth certificate, changing her name from Lisa Brennan to Lisa Brennan-Jobs.[8] Brennan credits the change in Jobs to the influence of his newly found biological sister, author Mona Simpson, who worked to repair the relationship between Brennan-Jobs and her father.[2]

According to Fortune magazine, after his death Jobs left Lisa a multimillion-dollar inheritance.[9]

Education and career[edit]

When Brennan-Jobs was living with her mother, she attended The Nueva School. Later, after she moved in with her father, she attended Palo Alto High School. She enrolled at Harvard University in 1996 and studied overseas for one year at King's College London.[1] While a student at Harvard, she wrote for The Harvard Crimson.[10] She graduated in 2000 and subsequently moved to Manhattan to work as a writer.[1] She has written for The Southwest Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Harvard Advocate, Spiked, Vogue, and O, The Oprah Magazine.[4][5]

Representations in film and literature[edit]

Brennan-Jobs has featured in several biographies of her father, including Walter Isaacson's 2011 authorized biography Steve Jobs. Mona Simpson's 1996 novel A Regular Guy is a fictionalized account based on the story of Brennan-Jobs and her parents.[1] She has been depicted in three biopic films: Brooke Radding portrayed her in the 1999 TNT TV film Pirates of Silicon Valley, while she is played as a child by Ava Acres, and as an adult by Annika Bertea in the 2013 film Jobs. In the 2015 film Steve Jobs, directed by Danny Boyle, Brennan-Jobs is portrayed at different ages by Perla Haney-Jardine, Ripley Sobo, and Makenzie Moss. Steve Jobs screenwriter Aaron Sorkin said that he discussed the screenplay with Brennan-Jobs in advance and that she is the "heroine of the film".[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Isaacson, Walter (2011). Steve Jobs. Simon & Schuster. p. ebook. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Brennan, Chrisann (October 29, 2013). The Bite in the Apple: A Memoir of My Life with Steve Jobs. St. Martin's Griffin. p. ebook. 
  3. ^ Edwards, Jim (December 26, 2013). "These Pictures Of Apple's First Employees Are Absolutely Wonderful". Business Insider. Retrieved 2015-01-19. 
  4. ^ a b c Diane, Bullock (2011-10-06). "The Kids of Business Icons: Lisa Brennan-Jobs". Minyanville. Retrieved 2015-07-02. 
  5. ^ a b Bora, Kukil (2011-10-07). "Steve Jobs’ Daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs, the Girl Who Was Denied Paternity". International Business Times. Retrieved 2015-07-02. 
  6. ^ a b Cocks Jay. Reported by Michael Moritz. "The Updated Book of Jobs" in Machine of the Year: The Computer Moves in. Time Magazine, January 3, 1983:27.
  7. ^ Machine of the Year: The Computer Moves in. Time Magazine, January 3, 1983
  8. ^ “Fast-forward six years when Lisa was nine, after she and her father had grown to know and love each other … It was in that window of time that Steve and Lisa decided to get her birth certificate straightened out. At nine, Lisa went from Lisa Brennan to Lisa Brennan-Jobs. Steve told me that he could hardly believe that she wanted to take his name. Very plainly relieved and honest, he said, 'I am just so happy that she does' … William Fenwick of Fenwick & West was the lawyer Steve used to fact-check and change the birth certificate." In Brennan, Chrisann. THE BITE IN THE APPLE:A Memoir of My Life with Steve Jobs. St. Martin's Griffin. p. ebook. 
  9. ^ Peter Elkind (2015-08-05). "When Steve Jobs' ex-girlfriend asked him to pay $25 million for his "dishonorable behavior"". Fortune Magazine. Retrieved 2015-11-01. In his estate, Jobs left their daughter a multi-million-dollar inheritance, which Lisa has used to help support her, according to Brennan. 
  10. ^ "Lisa N. Brennan-jobs - Writer Profile". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  11. ^ Miller, Ross (2014-11-17). "Aaron Sorkin says Steve Jobs' daughter Lisa is the hero of his film". The Verge. Retrieved 2015-07-04. 

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