Steve Jobs’ Daughter Claims He Told Her She ‘Smelled Like A Toilet’ While On His Death Bed — But She Clarifies He Was Being Honest: ‘I Really Did’

Steve Jobs' Daughter Claims He Told Her She 'Smelled Like A Toilet' While On His Death Bed — But She Clarifies He Was Being Honest: 'I Really Did'In “Small Fry,” a memoir by Lisa Brennan-Jobs, the estranged daughter of Steve Jobs, readers are offered a profound insight into her complicated relationship with the iconic Apple co-founder. Known for his unfiltered approach to communication, Jobs never hesitated to express his opinions, no matter how sharp or direct. Published excerpts in Vanity Fair in 2018 drew considerable attention, revealing the depth of their strained interactions and emotional distance.

Lisa made it a point to visit her father every other month during the last year of his life as he battled pancreatic cancer. In 2011, during one of these visits, she encountered a moment that stood out for its brutal honesty. As Jobs was too ill to leave his bed, Lisa used the opportunity to say goodbye with a hug.

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She noted the feel of his body, weakened by illness, and the smell of medicine, writing: “When we hugged, I could feel his vertebrae, his ribs. He smelled musty, like medicine sweat.” As she was about to leave, her father’s voice called out to her, “Lis?” She responded, and he then said, “You smell like a toilet,” a comment she remembers vividly.

The root of their troubled relationship can be traced back to Jobs’ initial denial of paternity until a paternity test mandated by the court in 1980 led to child support obligations. Despite apologizing later for his absence, Jobs and his daughter continued to have a distant relationship. Brennan-Jobs reflects on this dynamic, stating, “For him, I was a blot on a spectacular ascent, as our story did not fit with the narrative of greatness and virtue he might have wanted for himself.

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My existence ruined his streak. For me, it was the opposite: the closer I was to him, the less I would feel ashamed; he was part of the world, and he would accelerate me into the light.”

“Small Fry” also recounts more everyday interactions that highlight the emotional gap between them, such as an occasion when Lisa asked about inheriting one of her father’s Porsches, only to be flatly denied, reinforcing the emotional barriers that often existed.

Following the publication of “Small Fry” and the ensuing media attention, Lisa appeared on The Today Show to discuss the “toilet” comment. She explained to Hoda Kotb, “I have to be clear about the toilet phrase. I really did. I explain in the book, I was spraying myself with natural rose water. So even though it wasn’t a particularly nice phrase, it was true.”

Through the memoir,  Brennan-Jobs invited readers into her world, revealing the personal struggles and the reality of living in the shadow of a tech industry giant. It’s not  just a recounting of her life but an exploration of the challenging dynamics between a father and daughter, providing a candid glimpse into the personal cost of Jobs’ legendary status in the technology realm.

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This article Steve Jobs’ Daughter Claims He Told Her She ‘Smelled Like A Toilet’ While On His Death Bed — But She Clarifies He Was Being Honest: ‘I Really Did’ originally appeared on

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