Jobs told Egan, as he had a few other friends, about his premonition that he would not live a long life. That was why he was driven and impatient, he confided. “He felt a sense of urgency about all he wanted to get done,” Egan later said. Their relationship tapered off by the fall of 1984, when Egan made it clear that she was still far too young to think of getting married.
Shortly after that, just as the turmoil with Sculley was beginning to build at Apple in early 1985, Jobs was heading to a meeting when he stopped at the office of a guy who was working with the Apple Foundation, which helped get computers to nonprofit organizations. Sitting in his office was a lithe, very blond woman who combined a hippie aura of natural purity with the solid sensibilities of a computer consultant. Her name was Tina Redse. “She was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen,” Jobs recalled.
He called her the next day and asked her to dinner. She said no, that she was living with a boyfriend. A few days later he took her on a walk to a nearby park and again asked her out, and this time she told her boyfriend that she wanted to go. She was very honest and open. After dinner she started to cry because she knew her life was about to be disrupted. And it was. Within a few months she had moved into the unfurnished mansion in Woodside. “She was the first person I was truly in love with,” Jobs later said. “We had a very deep connection. I don’t know that anyone will ever understand me better than she did.”
Redse came from a troubled family, and Jobs shared with her his own pain about being put up for adoption. “We were both wounded from our childhood,” Redse recalled. “He said to me that we were misfits, which is why we belonged together.” They were physically passionate and prone to public displays of affection; their make-out sessions in the NeXT lobby are well remembered by employees. So too were their fights, which occurred at movie theaters and in front of visitors to Woodside. Yet he constantly praised her purity and naturalness. As the well-grounded Joanna Hoffman pointed out when discussing Jobs’s infatuation with the otherworldly Redse, “Steve had a tendency to look at vulnerabilities and neuroses and turn them into spiritual attributes.”
When he was being eased out at Apple in 1985, Redse traveled with him in Europe, where he was salving his wounds. Standing on a bridge over the Seine one evening, they bandied about the idea, more romantic than serious, of just staying in France, maybe settling down, perhaps indefinitely. Redse was eager, but Jobs didn’t want to. He was burned but still ambitious. “I am a reflection of what I do,” he told her. She recalled their Paris moment in a poignant email she sent to him twenty-five years later, after they had gone their separate ways but retained their spiritual connection:
We were on a bridge in Paris in the summer of 1985. It was overcast. We leaned against the smooth stone rail and stared at the green water rolling on below. Your world had cleaved and then it paused, waiting to rearrange itself around whatever you chose next. I wanted to run away from what had come before. I tried to convince you to begin a new life with me in Paris, to shed our former selves and let something else course through us. I wanted us to crawl through that black chasm of your broken world and emerge, anonymous and new, in simple lives where I could cook you simple dinners and we could be together every day, like children playing a sweet game with no purpose save the game itself. I like to think you considered it before you laughed and said “What could I do? I’ve made myself unemployable.” I like to think that in that moment’s hesitation before our bold futures reclaimed us, we lived that simple life together all the way into our peaceful old ages, with a brood of grandchildren around us on a farm in the south of France, quietly going about our days, warm and complete like loaves of fresh bread, our small world filled with the aroma of patience and familiarity.
The relationship lurched up and down for five years. Redse hated living in his sparsely furnished Woodside house. Jobs had hired a hip young couple, who had once worked at Chez Panisse, as housekeepers and vegetarian cooks, and they made her feel like an interloper. She would occasionally move out to an apartment of her own in Palo Alto, especially after one of her torrential arguments with Jobs. “Neglect is a form of abuse,” she once scrawled on the wall of the hallway to their bedroom. She was entranced by him, but she was also baffled by how uncaring he could be. She would later recall how incredibly painful it was to be in love with someone so self-centered. Caring deeply about someone who seemed incapable of caring was a particular kind of hell that she wouldn’t wish on anyone, she said.
They were different in so many ways. “On the spectrum of cruel to kind, they are close to the opposite poles,” Hertzfeld later said. Redse’s kindness was manifest in ways large and small; she always gave money to street people, she volunteered to help those who (like her father) were afflicted with mental illness, and she took care to make Lisa and even Chrisann feel comfortable with her. More than anyone, she helped persuade Jobs to spend more time with Lisa. But she lacked Jobs’s ambition and drive. The ethereal quality that made her seem so spiritual to Jobs also made it hard for them to stay on the same wavelength. “Their relationship was incredibly tempestuous,” said Hertzfeld. “Because of both of their characters, they would have lots and lots of fights.”
They also had a basic philosophical difference about whether aesthetic tastes were fundamentally individual, as Redse believed, or universal and could be taught, as Jobs believed. She accused him of being too influenced by the Bauhaus movement. “Steve believed it was our job to teach people aesthetics, to teach people what they should like,” she recalled. “I don’t share that perspective. I believe when we listen deeply, both within ourselves and to each other, we are able to allow what’s innate and true to emerge.”
When they were together for a long stretch, things did not work out well. But when they were apart, Jobs would pine for her. Finally, in the summer of 1989, he asked her to marry him. She couldn’t do it. It would drive her crazy, she told friends. She had grown up in a volatile household, and her relationship with Jobs bore too many similarities to that environment. They were opposites who attracted, she said, but the combination was too combustible. “I could not have been a good wife to ‘Steve Jobs,’ the icon,” she later explained. “I would have sucked at it on many levels. In our personal interactions, I couldn’t abide his unkindness. I didn’t want to hurt him, yet I didn’t want to stand by and watch him hurt other people either. It was painful and exhausting.”