Steve Jobs is an icon for the ages but his personal life was fraught with upheavals despite which he came out on top.
There are no coincidences in this world, some say. And, in the case of the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs that may be true. The legendary businessman was given up for adoption, but not because his parents wanted to abandon him. They had no other choice. His biological mom also ensured that his son would be college-educated before she was ready to give up her firstborn.
As legendary as Jobs' story is, his biological parents had an equally interesting love story, one that was filled with many hurdles. Jobs' biological father, Abdulfattah "John" Jandali was a Syrian Muslim and his mother, Joanne Carole Schieble, was an American. They met while studying at the University of Wisconsin. Schieble reportedly became pregnant after visiting Jandali and his family in Syria but her father forbade her from marrying a Muslim. Jandali was from a prominent family in Homs, Syria, which has been ravaged since then.
Being an unmarried interracial couple in the Midwest in the 1950s, they faced many problems and eventually had to break up. In 1955, when the Apple founder was born, Schieble's father, who was dying at the time, "threatened to disown her if she wed Abdulfattah," according to USAToday. So, they didn't marry and gave up Jobs for adoption.
His biological mom moved to San Francisco and that's where Jobs was given up for adoption. Paul and Clara Jobs became the Apple founder's parents but not before they promised her that her child would go to college someday, according to Nicki Swift. Jandali and Schieble got married years later and had another child, the novelist Mona Simpson.
Steve Jobs’s biographer, Walter Isaacson revealed on CBS's 60 Minutes that Jobs had met Jandali a couple of times unwittingly at a restaurant in Sacramento. "I was in [the] restaurant once or twice and I remember meeting the owner who was from Syria. And it was most certainly [my father]. And I shook his hand and he shook my hand. And that’s all," said Jobs to Isaacson. He found out later that Jandali was his father when he met his biological sister, Mona Simpson.
"When I was looking for my biological mother, obviously, you know, I was looking for my biological father at the same time, and I learned a little bit about him and I didn't like what I learned. I asked her to not tell him that we ever met... not tell him anything about me," said Jobs to Isaacson.
Raised by his adoptive parents, Jobs was protective of them. He would "bristle whenever anyone referred to Paul and Clara Jobs as his 'adoptive' parents or implied that they were not his 'real' parents," Isaacson wrote in Jobs's biography. The tech titan, who died in 2011, referred to his biological parents as "my sperm and egg bank," according to USAToday.
The Second Couple, Paul and Clara Jobs wanted to Adopt young #SteveJobs but Joanne refused to sign the papers.— Teknesty (@teknesty) April 2, 2019
As they were not College educated and threatened to go to Court.
Only after Paul Jobs agreed to ensure College education for Steve, She agreed.#LunchwithLegends pic.twitter.com/d6zqMab6ux
Jobs' biological mother eventually divorced Jandali and married ice skating instructor George Simpson. Apparently, Jandali had not been present in his daughter, Mona's life either but she tracked him down.
Jandali reportedly told Simpson that he wished she could have seen him when he was managing a Mediterranean restaurant north of San Jose. "That was a wonderful place," he said. "All of the successful technology people used to come there. Even Steve Jobs." So, while he remembered meeting Jobs, he was unaware that it was his own son.
However, Jandali, who has been married four times, was proud of his children. As cited by USAToday, in a 2011 interview published by the Lebanese site, Ya Libnan, he said, "Steve is my biological son, but I didn’t bring him up, and he has a family that adopted him. So if it’s said that I’m the ‘father of invention’, then that’s because my biological son is a genius and my daughter a brilliant writer. I thank God for my success in life, but I’m no inventor."
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.— Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar) October 5, 2020
—Steve Jobs (1955 - October 5, 2011) pic.twitter.com/CDj5QPr6If
"I’m proud of my son and his accomplishments, and of my work. Of course, I made mistakes, and if I could go back in time I would have put some things right. I would have been closer to my son, but all’s well that ends well. Steve Jobs is one of the most successful people in America, and Mona is a successful academic and novelist."
It is not known how this complicated past affected Jobs, but he had almost abandoned his firstborn, Lisa, as well. He didn't want anything to do with her for a long time but their relationship changed for the better as he got older.