Steve Jobs' ex-girlfriend: "Our lovemaking had been sublime"

Chrisann Brennan, who met the tech innovator in high school, reveals the nature of their tumultuous relationship

By Prachi Gupta

Published October 15, 2013 8:02PM (EDT)

The New York Post has published an excerpt from the memoir of Chrisann Brennan, the first girlfriend of late Apple founder Steve Jobs. In "The Bite in the Apple: A Memoir of My Life With Steve Jobs,” Brennan describes the rocky relationship the two shared between 1972 and 1977, just as Jobs was founding the company that would later make him a billionaire.

In the excerpt, Brennan reveals that Jobs, who went on to marry Laurene Powell in 1991, would call Brennan 15 years later to reflect on their "profound lovemaking":

Even after swapping rooms in this way, Steve and I still shared nights of lovemaking so profound that, astonishingly, some fifteen years later, he called me out of the blue to thank me for them. He was married at the time of his call and all I could think of was, Whoa . . . men . . . are . . . really . . . different. Imagine if I had called him to say such a thing.

We remembered different things. Mainly I recalled how awful he was becoming and how I was starting to flounder. But he was right: our lovemaking had been sublime. At the time of Steve’s phone call, I found that as I listened I was as awed by the memory as by his strange need to risk an expression of such intimacy. After I hung up I stood still and thought, Maybe Steve thinks that love has its own laws and imperative. But why call now?

When they were not enjoying sublime love, Jobs would refer to Brennan as his "brilliant flower":

On the nights when Steve and I didn’t have something to do together — and there were more and more of these — he would often come home late and wake me up to talk and make love. On the nights he just wanted to talk, I knew he had been with Kobun [Japanese Zen master Kobun Chino Otogawa was a longtime spiritual adviser to Jobs]. I would wake up to find Steve gently ecstatic, speaking to me in symbolic language with the Zen master’s distinct speech pattern. A number of times he spoke to me about how he had been given “five brilliant flowers.” His demeanor would gleam when he said this, and I would listen to find out what the symbol meant to him. My best guess after months of these reveries was that the flowers were five different people whose enlightenment Steve would be involved in. These blooms apparently included me.

But Brennan's excerpt also describes how the larger-than-life Jobs "was learning how to gain power by insinuating negative self-images onto others," and shows a darker, less stable side of the revered tech innovator:

Steve had always been a brilliant misfit, but at this time — to be generous — he wasn’t managing his growing power very well. In fact, he was positively despotic. Excellence had always been a gorgeous thing in Steve, but now he was using it like a weapon. He’d look for excellence and when he didn’t find it, he’d behave badly and take it out on people.

As Steve’s first girlfriend I increasingly experienced what it felt like to have him turn against me. And so it was at this time that I began to perceive that awesome and awful could be but a hair’s breadth apart.

Brennan's memoir comes out Oct. 29.

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at

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