Steve Jobs's high school girlfriend, and the mother of his first child, is looking to monetize her association with the late technology icon. And judging by what's already known about their on-and-off romance, she should have much of interest to recount.
Chrisann Brennan, a painter based in the Bay Area, will write a memoir of her relationship with Jobs, to be published next year by St. Martin's Press, a division of Macmillan. According to the publisher, Brennan's book will describe the founding of Apple (AAPL) and tell of "Jobs's enormous appeal, energy and drive as well as his developing ambition and ruthlessness in business and personal dealings," The New York Timesreports. St. Martin's announced the memoir on Thursday, the day before the one-year anniversary of Jobs's death from pancreatic cancer.
Brennan and Jobs met in 1972 at Homestead High School in Cupertino, Calif., where he was a senior and she a junior. Their first summer together, the couple lived in a cabin, meditating and going to lectures. Brennan had been turned down by the cabin's owner, who said there wasn't room for two people, but Jobs was able to convince him otherwise. "This alerted me to something remarkable in him," Brennan wrote in Rolling Stone shortly after her ex-boyfriend's death. "This guy could make things work. And from the way he'd taken charge of the situation, I knew he knew it too."
When Brennan was 23, she gave birth to a daughter, Lisa, just as Apple was starting to undergo significant growth. That same year, Apple began developing a personal computer intended for business users, called the Lisa. But Jobs, who initially oversaw the project, denied paternity of Brennan's daughter.
While the impresario of Silicon Valley grew fabulously rich, his former girlfriend went on welfare in order to raise their child. "At one point," recountsFortune, "Jobs even swore in a signed court document that he couldn't be Lisa's father because he was 'sterile and infertile, and as a result thereof, did not have the physical capacity to procreate a child.'" (Jobs would later marry Laurene Powell, a Stanford MBA, with whom he had three children.) Jobs also claimed that the name of his new computer project was an acronym for "Local Integrated Software Architecture."
After two years, Jobs did the right thing, acknowledging Lisa and establishing a relationship with her. ("Obviously," he told his biographer, speaking of the Apple Lisa, "it was named for my daughter.") Lisa Brennan-Jobs went to Harvard -- paid for by her father -- and became a writer, recalling her divided childhood in the pages of Vogue:
In California, my mother had raised me mostly alone. We didn't have many things, but she is warm and we were happy. We moved a lot. We rented. My father was rich and renowned and later, as I got to know him, went on vacations with him, and then lived with him for a few years, I saw another, more glamorous world. The two sides didn't mix, and I missed one when I had the other.
One year ago today, Jobs's death triggered an outpouring of affection and esteem for the man who seemed to have done more than anyone else to usher in a new era of human relations with technology. Those who knew him, predictably, have a more complicated view of his life. In her Rolling Stone piece, Brennan mentioned "the all-too-often despotic jerk Steve turned into as he rose to meet the world." Her book may offer Apple devotees another window on what it took to create the world's most valuable company.