Apple co-founder Steve Job told his daughter she “smelled like a toilet” when she visited him on his deathbed, she writes in a new memoir about their troubled relationship.
Lisa Brennan-Jobs visited her dad about every other month for the year before his death of complications from pancreatic cancer in 2011, she said in her memoir “Small Fry” in Vanity Fair’s September issue.
On one such visit, when her dad was so sick he could barely get out of bed, she sprayed herself with expensive rose facial mist she’d found in his bathroom before going to say good-bye.
“When we hugged, I could feel his vertebrae, his ribs. He smelled musty, like medicine sweat,” she wrote.
Brennan-Jobs, now 40, turned to leave and that’s when her dad called out, “Lis?”
“Yeah?” she asked.
“You smell like a toilet,” she recalls him saying.
By that point Brennan-Jobs writes she’d already given up on “the possibility of a grand reconciliation, the kind in the movies” with her famous father, who died at 56.
Her mom, Chrisann Brennan, had Lisa when both she and Jobs were 23 in 1978 — but he publicly denied he was her father until 1980, when the San Mateo district attorney forced him to take a paternity test and provide child support.
The court required Jobs to cover child support of $385 per month, which was then increased to $500 a month — plus back payments — and medical insurance until Brennan-Jobs turned 18. Four days after the case was finalized, Apple went public and Jobs became worth $200 million, his daughter wrote.
Even after the case, Brennan-Jobs says her dad was always stingy, aloof and curt with her — even denying that he named one of the first computers he worked on, “The Lisa,” after her.
That is until one rare joint vacation, when Brennan-Jobs was 27 and was invited to join a yacht trip with her stepmother, three half-siblings and a babysitter.
The family made a stop off the coast of the south of France to Bono’s villa — and the rockstar asked, “So was the Lisa computer named after her?” Brennan-Jobs writes.
“My father hesitated, looked down at his plate for a long moment, and then back at Bono. ‘Yeah, it was,’ he said.
“I studied my father’s face. What had changed? Why had he admitted it now, after all these years? Of course it was named after me, I thought then. His lie seemed preposterous now. I felt a new power that pulled my chest up,” she wrote.
She thanked Bono for asking.
“’That’s the first time he’s said yes,”’I told Bono,” she recalled. “’Thank you for asking.’ As if famous people needed other famous people around to release their secrets.”
In another heartbreaking memory, Brennan-Jobs recalls hearing a rumor as a child that her dad would buy a new Porsche every time he scratched his.
One night when she was in the luxury car with him she asked if she could have it when he was done with it.
“I wondered where he put the extras,” she wrote.
But he responded with anger.
“’Absolutely not,’ he said in such a sour, biting way that I knew I’d made a mistake,” she wrote. ” I wished I could take it back. We pulled up to the house and he turned off the engine. Before I made a move to get out he turned to face me.
“‘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.”
Brennan-Jobs’ memoir will be published on Sept. 4 by Grove Press.
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