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Interview with ChrisAnn Brennan

Aired November 12, 2013 - 10:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Explain what Steve Jobs was like when you guys first met.

CHRISANN BRENNAN, AUTHOR: The way I saw him is he was tall and handsome and I know this may sound farfetched, but I think I knew he was a genius to begin with because there was a -- the kind of humility that hangs off of people who are that bright and --


COOPER: You were in high school, right?


COOPER: So even then there was something about him.

BRENNAN: Oh, my God, yes.

COOPER: Do you remember the genesis of Apple?

Do you remember the first time you heard about the idea?

BRENNAN: The first time I knew he was into technology was because I went to his house and he had it all over his bedroom. And he worked out in the garage with Woz. So this was way before Apple.

And then --


COOPER: Were you part of that? I mean, did you -- were you interested in technology?

BRENNAN: Not at all. In fact, when he and Woz would get together, their voices pitched in such a particular way that it just shot me out of the environment.


COOPER: What, it was irritating?

BRENNAN: Overly -- it was worse than fingernails on a blackboard.

COOPER: Oh, really?

BRENNAN: Yes. COOPER: In the book, you really write about how he -- how he began to change as Apple came into life. I mean, how a sort of -- you write about a sense of entitlement, really.

BRENNAN: I got back from India after living there for a year. So he was different. Both of us were different.

And Apple was beginning and the part of Steve that I was in love with was the poet and the one -- the mystic. And then he's starting Apple and I start to see -- he -- one day he brings home a casing for the new Apple.

And he's tossing it in his arms, showing me and his parents and it was the first time I go, oh, my God, this is real. OK. Start paying attention.

COOPER: That was the first time?

BRENNAN: Well, I mean, he went to work every day. But I think people don't necessarily see what people are doing at their work.

COOPER: Right.

BRENNAN: And then -- I don't know; there was something about the three-dimensionality --


BRENNAN: -- and the technology I never tuned into that much. But seeing that casing I did.

COOPER: How did your relationship begin to change?

BRENNAN: He had always been so conscientious and so caring about me. But he started getting meaner and there was this one example, where he showed me the paper with the original sketches on it for the logo, the Apple logo.

And he said, "Which one do you like?"

And I said to him, I -- the one I liked was the one they used.

And I said, "I love that one." And -- because it looked like a piece of jewelry. I just liked it.

And he said a lot of people -- a number of people responded to that.

And I told him -- and, by the way, what you really want is a logo that's so recognizable you don't need a word there.

And then he ripped me to shreds and walked away.


BRENNAN: So it was back and forth.

COOPER: Why do you think it was that moment that made him erupt at you?

I mean, why so...

BRENNAN: Oh, I just think that maybe he wanted to be the one with the right idea; maybe he wanted to be the one who was the most insightful.

COOPER: And what point did you realize you were pregnant?

BRENNAN: I had decided to leave the relationship. It just gotten too much and I was happy about that. I was finally like thinking clearly. I went and got very reliable birth control, at least I thought so.

So I was just taking steps. And then in the midst of those steps, two things happened. They were going to give me a position at Apple to design the blueprints for the Apples and the other; right after I got offered that, I found out I was pregnant.

COOPER: And he denied for a long time that Lisa, your daughter, was his daughter.

BRENNAN: Right. Yes, he did.

COOPER: That must have been -- I mean, extraordinarily painful.

BRENNAN: Steve's behavior was so painful that I was numb by that time.

And it was par for the course at that point. And it was -- I was a little disoriented because he -- because of how unkind he had become. And I was disoriented, I think, because of the hormones.

And so I just wasn't thinking well for myself.

COOPER: Did he ever embrace her? Did he -- ?

BRENNAN: Oh, yes, yes. Lisa's -- I mean, her name is Lisa Nicole Brennan-Jobs (ph). When she was about 8 or 9, he was fired from Apple. He -- a year before, he found his biological family. And his sister, Mona Simpson (ph), just kind of saw what was happening and started helping him do the right thing.

COOPER: And toward the end, I mean, they had a relationship.

BRENNAN: They had a very close relationship.

COOPER: And did you watch when he would give presentations?

Did you -- what do you think when you see those?

BRENNAN: There was a time when she was 5 or 6. He had a secretary call and said could you please bring her to one of his presentations?

And so I took her out of school and we went to see it. A huge auditorium and I myself was going, whoa. And you know, she'd just sit in there, watching the whole thing. Later she told me she wished I hadn't brought her to it. It was a bit too intense for her. Yes. But I realized why everyone was so excited about Steve that day.

COOPER: It's always interesting to hear -- I mean, people who are considered geniuses, what -- there's what they have achieved and then there -- it's been -- there is how they are in their life, how they are in day-to-day. And often it's a very different picture. I mean, it's often people who are driven to success, it comes in sometimes from a very dark place or a --

BRENNAN: Well...

COOPER: -- where do you think it came from for him? I mean, that drive?

BRENNAN: -- well, that -- if you think about creativity as being filling in the gap, world-changing creativity is always about filling in the gap. And --

COOPER: You mean filling a void?

BRENNAN: -- filling a void, yes, yes.

COOPER: Inside yourself.

BRENNAN: Yes, and the world.

COOPER: And the world.

BRENNAN: Because we're both. If you think about the fact that Steve was not loved, was not nurtured --


COOPER: -- first two years of his life.

BRENNAN: -- first six months. Let's even just talk about the six months. What he created, he was a part of the computer revolution. And the computer revolution connected the whole world. And so here he is, disconnected from love. And it seems to me it drove that genius into being a part of future connection.

COOPER: Can you separate sort of his accomplishments in the public sphere from the way he was with you, the way he was personally?

BRENNAN: I sort of think his heart was fractured some of the times, but not all the time. That was the gift of the book to myself, was that I got to see -- I got to connect to him through love because I could see where the problems were and where he was so remarkable.

COOPER: It must be strange to have had this connection and have this connection with somebody whose products are so ubiquitous. I mean, do you -- do you use an iPhone? Do you use Apple products? Because I would -- does it -- is it a strange thing if you do, to have that encounter on a daily basis with something he created?

BRENNAN: Well, a lot of people created the Apple products. He was really good at picking people. We got to remember that. He always loved the idea of being the orchestrator, the leader of the orchestra.

COOPER: Do you use an iPhone?

BRENNAN: I use an iPhone; I use -- I like -- I think they're absolutely beautiful.

COOPER: Why did you decide to write?

BRENNAN: I'm a painter. And I don't use words well. I'm dyslexic. I think in pictures. I worked on the first 100 pages for three years, teaching myself to write and also teaching myself not to blame. I didn't want to make myself into a victim. And I didn't want to make him into a villain.

COOPER: That's not how you see him?


COOPER: Thank you very much.

BRENNAN: No, thank you.