June 17, 1978: Steve Jobs’ first child, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, is born.
The child of 23-year-old Jobs and his high school girlfriend Chris-Ann Brennan, Lisa’s parents are no longer a couple when she is born. What follows are several shameful years in which Jobs denies paternity of his daughter, before they eventually reconcile.
Lisa was born on Robert Friedland’s All One Farm commune outside of Portland, where Jobs briefly worked. By the time she was born, Jobs was working at Apple. He refused to acknowledge paternity even continued after a blood test concluded that Jobs had a 94.4 percent chance of being the father.
With Apple still in its embryonic stages, Jobs agreed to pay $385 per month in child support, as well as pay for her health insurance. This figure increased to $500 per month after Apple went public and Jobs became a multimillionaire.
Eventually, Jobs matured and apologized for his past actions. He developed a strong relationship with his daughter, and when he passed away in 2011 he left her a multimillion dollar inheritance. Lisa was one of the only people who turned down Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson for an interview for his 2011 biography Steve Jobs.
She later shared her story with screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who used it as the emotional throughline for his screen adaptation of Isaacson’s book. In the movie, Lisa is played at different ages by Perla Haney-Jardine, Ripley Sobo, and Makenzie Moss.
Lisa went on to study at Harvard University, where she wrote for The Harvard Crimson. She’s since written for The Southwest Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Harvard Advocate, Spiked, Vogue, and O, The Oprah Magazine. This year, she is releasing a book about the rocky relationship with her father. It will come out in September.
Naming the Lisa
For Apple fans, perhaps the anecdote best known about Lisa relates to the naming of Apple’s ill-fated 1983 Lisa computer. At the time, Steve Jobs denied that it was named after Lisa Brennan. He was in the middle of a paternity lawsuit, and such an admission would have certainly hurt his case.
Instead, Jobs claimed that the Lisa computer stood for “Local Integrated System Architecture.” Aware of the full story, some Apple engineers joked that it should be “Let’s Invent Some Acronym” instead.
Eventually, Jobs did admit that the computer was named after Lisa, just as he admitted that Lisa was his daughter. In the official biography, Steve told Walter Isaacson, “obviously it was named for my daughter.” Here in 2018, just 30-100 of the original Lisas are thought to still exist — which is why they go for good money at auction.