A 22-year old Steve Jobs poses at the first West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco, California, where the Apple II computer was debuted. Tom Munnecke/Getty Images (CUPERTINO, Calif.) – In the wake of Steve Jobs’ resignation as Apple CEO last week, the billionaire’s biological father has told media outlets that he regrets giving up his son for adoption some fifty years ago.
Abdulfattah John Jandali, a Syrian immigrant who now works as a vice-president at a casino in a Reno, Nev., was quoted by the New York Post as saying he didn’t know until just a few years ago that the baby he and his ex-wife, Joanne Simpson, gave up grew to be Apple’s CEO. Jandali has emailed his son a few times, he said, but did not call Jobs for fear that he would think Jandali was after his fortune.
Jandali told the Post that had it been his choice, he would have kept the baby, but Simpson’s father did not approve of her marrying a Syrian, so she moved to San Francisco to have the baby alone and give it up for adoption.
Jandali said he hoped Jobs would call him someday, and would be happy for the two of them to get just a cup of coffee together once before it is too late. Jandali is 80, and Jobs has been in declining health.
Jandali did not immediately return calls for comment from ABC News.
Though he was one of the world’s most famous CEOs, Steve Jobs has remained stubbornly private about his personal life, ignoring the media and the public’s thirst for knowledge about his inner life ever since he co-founded Apple Computer in 1976.
“He’s never been a media person,” said industry analyst Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies. “He’s granted interviews in the context of product launches, when it benefits Apple, but you never see him talk about himself.”
Bajarin said Jobs, 56, keeps a close cadre of friends, including John Lasseter of Pixar and Larry Ellison of Oracle, but beyond that, shares very little of his personal life with anyone.
But that personal life – given up at birth for adoption, romantic links with movie stars, a child out of wedlock – is full of intrigue for his fanbase and Apple consumers.
Many fans know that Jobs and his wife, Laurene Powell, have been married for over twenty years; the two were married in a small ceremony in Yosemite National Park in 1991, live in Woodside, Calif., and have three children: Reed Paul, Erin Sienna, and Eve.
Less well-known are the other members of his family. He has a daughter, Lisa Brennan Jobs, born in 1978 with his high school girlfriend, Chris Ann Brennan.
His sister is Mona Simpson, the acclaimed writer of books like Anywhere But Here. Jobs did not meet Simpson until they were adults, when he was seeking information on his birth parents. Simpson later wrote a book based on their relationship. In the book, A Regular Guy, Simpson shed light on Jobs’s relationship with Brennan and his daughter, Lisa.
Fortune magazine reported that Jobs denied paternity of Lisa for years, at one point swearing in a court document that he was infertile and could not have children. According to the report, Chris Ann Brennan collected welfare for a time to support the child, until Jobs later acknowledged Lisa as his daughter.
The highlights of Jobs’s career trajectory are well-known: a prodigy who dropped out of college and, at 21, started a computer company with his buddy Steve Wozniak in his parents’ garage; a multimillionaire by 25; on the cover of Time magazine at 26; and thrown out of the company at age 30, in 1985.
During those years, though, Jobs also lived an exciting personal life. At Reed, Jobs became romantically involved with the singer Joan Baez, according to Elizabeth Holmes, a friend and classmate. In The Second Coming of Steve Jobs, Holmes tells biographer Alan Deutschman that Jobs broke up with his serious girlfriend to “begin an affair with the charismatic singer-activist.” Holmes confirmed these details to ABC News.
Deutschman’s book also says Jobs went on a blind date with Diane Keaton; went out with Lisa Birnbach, author of The Preppy Handbook; and hand-delivered computers to celebrities he admired. Deutschman did not immediately return calls for comment.
Most recently, as Jobs battled pancreatic cancer, he shied away from disclosing health details to the public or to his employees. Fortune magazine reported that instead of surgery to remove the malignant tumor, Jobs instead treated his tumor with a special diet. The Apple Board of Directors pressured Jobs to get the surgery, and eventually he did.
As Jobs went through professional ups and downs – leaving Apple, working at NeXT and Pixar, and eventually returning to Apple – he kept his private life closely guarded. Now, as he steps down as CEO of Apple, the public will be watching this private man to see what comeback might be next.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
My first thought when reading this is “Oh yeah, you missed his money too…” I guess that is a bit cynical but you do wonder. The story does sound sincere and I have heard it many times in my work with families where cultural and generational influences force moms to relinquish their children to be adopted. Very sad story either way.