‘His voice hurt — sharp, in my chest’

WHEN Lisa Brennan-Jobs was born on a farm in 1978, her father was nowhere to be seen.

Her mother Chrisann had fallen pregnant during an on-again, off-again relationship with the man who would become the famous founder of Apple, Steve Jobs.

But for the first two years of his first child’s life, Jobs denied the baby girl was his.

It was a tough start in life for the now 40-year-old, who endured a strained relationship with her father and his second family.

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Ms Brennan-Jobs, a writer, has just penned a new book, Small Fry, which details that troubled relationship with the tech genius.

In an excerpt published by Vanity Fair, Brennan-Jobs describes how it took legal action for her father to acknowledge her.

“In the spring of 1978, when my parents were 23, my mother gave birth to me on their friend Robert’s farm in Oregon, with the help of two midwives,” she wrote.

“My father arrived a few days later. ‘It’s not my kid,’ he kept telling everyone at the farm.”

Jobs chose his baby daughter’s name — Lisa, but for the next two years he contributed nothing else.

“Until I was two, my mother supplemented her welfare payments by cleaning houses and waitressing. My father didn’t help,” she wrote.

In 1980, Steve Jobs was finally sued for child support payments — something he did not take kindly to.

“My father responded by denying paternity, swearing in a deposition that he was sterile and naming another man he said was my father,” Brennan-Jobs wrote.

But the child took a DNA test, which gave a 94.4 per cent chance the two were related — the highest possible at that time.

As a result, Jobs was forced to pay $US385 ($AU520) a month — which he increased to $US500 ($AU675) — as well as medical insurance until his daughter turned 18.

Just four days after the case was finalised after having been rushed through by Jobs’ lawyers, Apple went public.

Overnight, Jobs was worth $200 million.

By the time Brennan-Jobs was seven, she and her mother had moved 13 times, renting places “informally” and relying on friends to house them.

Her father showed up around once a month, driving a black Porsche convertible while his child and ex-partner struggled to get by.

But despite his coldness, the little girl was fascinated by her “multi-millionaire” dad and clung to the belief he had named the “Lisa” computer after her.

Later in her childhood, Brennan-Jobs would occasionally stay with her father as her mother took college classes.

During one of those visits, the girl finally found the courage to ask her father if she could have his car once he was finished with it — an innocent question from a child that sparked a vicious reply.

“‘Absolutely not’, he said in such a sour, biting way that I knew I’d made a mistake,” she wrote. ‘You’re not getting anything’, he said. ‘You understand? Nothing. You’re getting nothing.’

“Did he mean about the car, something else, bigger? I didn’t know. His voice hurt — sharp, in my chest. I had made a terrible mistake and he’d recoiled.”

Brennan-Jobs offered a partial explanation for her father’s continued distance: “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,” she wrote.

The coldness from her father and his new family — wife Laurene Powell and their three children, Eve, Reed and Erin Jobs — remained, even as Jobs was dying.

Ms Brennan-Jobs described avoiding her brother, sisters and stepmother around the house during a sickbed visit “so I wouldn’t be … hurt when they didn’t acknowledge me or reply to my hellos”.

Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs will be published on September 4, 2018, by Grove Press.