David Bowie, Iman


Just two days before David Bowie succumbed to a secret battle with cancer, his wife Iman posted the following quote: "Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory."

It was Bowie's 69th birthday, and the message seemed like a simple reminder to live life to the fullest. We now know it was Iman's way of getting ready to say goodbye to the love of her life.

For most, Bowie's legacy will be his music and his creative genius, but one of the most memorable things about Bowie is how much he loved his wife of more than 23 years.

From the moment he first laid eyes on her, he fell in love. It was 1990 and they were at a dinner party, and in those first minutes of conversation he just knew she was the one. As he once explained, he "was naming the children the first night we met."

For Iman, the allure wasn't quite as obvious. She, like Bowie, had been married before. If she was going to find love again, it wasn't going to be with a rock star. The man sitting next to her at dinner was already a living legend. 

"I did not want to get involved with a rock star. No way. It is not a sane thing to do," Iman admitted to The Guardian newspaper in 2014. "For him [it was overwhelming]...I was not ready for a relationship." 

David Bowie, Iman

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But the south London boy was not going to give up that easily. Over the next few days and weeks, he did everything he could to persuade her that she was the one for him. "David changed my mind. He wooed me," Iman recalled. "I remember once the laces on my trainers came undone and David was down on his knees in the middle of the street tying them for me. I thought to myself, 'This one's a keeper.'

"But as I always said: I fell in love with David Jones [Bowie's birth name]," she told The Guardian. "I did not fall in love with David Bowie. Bowie is just a persona. He's a singer, an entertainer. David Jones is a man I met."

David Bowie, Iman


In 1992, David and the Somalian beauty he had described as "a smoky blend of Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn" were married. They said their I-dos twice, first in a civil ceremony in Switzerland, and then again in Florence, though the Italian wedding was marred by rain.

Iman told model Naomi Campbell in a sit-down for Interview magazine in 2013, "They said, 'Oh you shouldn't complain, you're going to be married for 50 years, it's going to be happy.' And they were right." 

You only need to look at the Bruce Weber shoot of the two of them (taken in 1995 in South Africa for American Vogue) to understand the optimism. Laughing and looking adoringly at one another, they proved to the world that this rock star couple was not like any other celebrity pairing.

Eight years after tying the knot, Bowie's wish came true and he got to name his child with Iman. He was present for the labor and cut the umbilical cord. They called their daughter Alexandria Zahra Jones.                                          

Splitting their time between London and New York, they settled into domestic bliss. Bowie found serenity with Iman and Lexi by his side: "I don't have that sense of loneliness that I had before, which was very, very strong," he reportedly said in a 2003 interview.

Iman, David Bowie, 1991

Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

The couple were notoriously private but from time to time they would give us a glimpse into their household and how they made it work. Laughter—and lots of kissing, apparently (David quipped to People in 2005, "Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation generally does the trick!").

Iman elaborated to Harper's Bazaar in 2010, "We have fun with each other. He's very English in a way that he's a gentleman. David doesn't fight. He is English, so he just stays quiet. I'm the screamer. Then he always makes me laugh. It's like cabaret. I keep him entertained, too. I still fancy him—totally!— after all these years."

She also told the magazine: "My father…gave me a positive connection with men because he is a gentleman. And that is what attracted me to David. He is a gentle soul."

The perfect night for the two of them would be to stay in, cook dinner and spend time with their daughter—Bowie and Lexi loved playing music together. Other times, Bowie would paint and Iman would needlepoint.

Iman, David Bowie, Celebrity Couples

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Bowie reportedly once said: "You would think that a rock star being married to a supermodel would be one of the greatest things in the world. It is."

In a world of celebrity relationships that come and go and sometimes seem more about public image, rather than true connections, David and Iman were undoubtedly the real thing. They were lucky enough to find the kind of love that changes you forever. A few months ago Iman posted a pic of one of her first public appearances with David. Even after two decades, she was still in love.

And for Bowie, in an age and a business where accomplishment is often judged on how much fame one has achieved or how good a person can manage to look and for how long, it's clear that for him one of his most crowning achievements was how much he loved his family.

While David Bowie may no longer be with us, the love between him and Iman will endure forever. 

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