Theirs was a “Modern Love,” but it lasted decades. The world was shocked on Sunday, January 10, when it was revealed that rock legend David Bowie had died just two days after his 69th birthday, following a private battle with cancer. Bowie, whose real name was David Jones, is survived by his wife of 23 years, Iman, their daughter, Alexandria, 15, and his son from a previous marriage, Duncan, 44.
Prior to the news of Bowie’s passing going public, Iman tweeted the message: “Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” And after his death was announced, she posted the note, “The struggle is real, but so is God.”
The pair have remained notoriously private after meeting on a blind date in the early ’90s and marrying in April 1992. But over their more than two decades of marriage, they have spoken about each other in some particularly sweet moments.
“My attraction to her was immediate and all-encompassing,” Bowie told Hello! magazine shortly after his daughter’s birth in 2000. “I couldn’t sleep for the excitement of our first date. That she would be my wife, in my head, was a done deal. I’d never gone after anything with such passion in all my life. I just knew she was the one.”
Though Iman, one of the first black supermodels, now 60, admitted her attraction wasn’t as instantaneous, she did dish about their love story in an interview with The Independent in June 2014, saying, “But as I always said: I fell in love with David Jones. 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.”
After celebrating 20 years of marriage in 2012, the Somalia-born beauty was asked on The Wendy Williams Show about her secrets to marital bliss.
“Understanding the difference between the personal and the public,” she explained of their private nature. “We never have photographs taken in our apartment, we don’t do fashion shoots together. Home is private.”
She also revealed in a 2010 interview with Harper’s Bazaar that she and her husband had a very different approach when it came to arguments.
“David doesn’t fight,” she said. “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.”
And though they worked in very different fields, Iman always respected Bowie’s legendary career.
“I asked my husband once when he knew he wanted to be a musician,” she recalled to New York Magazine in July 2015. “He said at the age of 7. When you have that, the universe will conspire for things to happen since you don’t see anything else.”
As for Bowie, the trendsetter and icon was never shy about professing his love for his supermodel wife.
“I stumbled onto bliss,” he said in an interview with the New York Daily News in 2002. “And I have no intention of finding my way back out. I’m frighteningly happy. I don’t see ever wanting to change things in my personal life. Iman and I are very happy, and we have the most fabulous baby.”