*Update. David Bowie passed away from cancer on Sunday, January 10th, 2016. He was 69 years old.
Whether you believe in cosmic stardust or not, when the universe manages to bring “soulmates” together, it is a beautiful thing. Blind dates don’t often tend to work out, especially not for celebrities. But when David Bowie first saw the beautiful Somalian super-model, Iman, he instantly fell for her. And after 20 years of marriage, he’s still falling for her.
Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid, professionally known as Iman (which means “faith” in Arabic), is a Somali fashion model, actress and entrepreneur. She was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, and attended high school in Egypt and later lived in Kenya where she studied political science at the University of Nairobi.
Strikingly beautiful and fluent in five languages, Iman was discovered by American photographer Peter Beard, a well-known figure in the fashion world, who saw her one day on a street in Nairobi and was captivated by her long neck, high forehead and gamine grace. She reluctantly moved to the United States to begin a modeling career. Her first modeling assignment was for Vogue a year later in 1976. She soon landed some of the most prestigious magazine covers, establishing herself as a supermodel.
In 1978, Iman married basketball star Spencer Haywood, with whom she had a daughter. In 1987, she and Haywood divorced, but a custody battle over their daughter Zulekha, who lived with her father in Detroit, endured for six more years. In 1989, Iman quit modeling altogether. She claimed in an interview that there was “no grace in it”. Iman moved to Los Angeles, where friends introduced her to the English rock legend in 1990.
Known as a musical chameleon for his ever-changing appearance and sound, David Bowie was born David Robert Jones in Brixton,South London,England, on January 8, 1947. David showed an interest in music from an early age and began playing the saxophone at age 13. After recording an unsuccessful solo album, Bowie exited the music world for a while. He took to theatre and film and began performing in various shows and films. Around this time he also met the American-born Angela Barnett. The two married on March 20, 1970, and had one son together, Zowie, in 1971, before divorcing in 1980.
By early 1969, Bowie had returned full-time to music. He signed a deal with Mercury Records and that summer released the single “Space Oddity.” Bowie paired with Queen in 1981 for a one-off single release, “Under Pressure.” The duet was a hit, becoming Bowie’s third U.K.number one single.
Over the next decade, Bowie bounced back and forth between acting and music, with film roles in The Man Who Fell To Earth, The Elephant Man, and Labyrinth, and musical hits like, “Young Americans,” “Modern Love” and “Changes.” Despite his entourage of adoring fans, Bowie was missing that special person in his life.
Bowie says he fell in love with Iman right away, but he had to overcome her reluctance to date a rock star. Iman has been quoted as saying:
“I did not want to get involved with a rock star. No way. It is not a sane thing to do but David changed my mind. He wooed me.”
Iman said that after two weeks, she knew “he was a keeper” when she flew from Paris to Los Angeles where he met her at the airport.
“The doors open … I see all these people taking a picture of somebody. And he was standing there, flowers in hand, no security. That was when I knew. He didn’t care if anyone saw.”
In 1992, the glamorous couple were married in a civil ceremony in Lausanne, Switzerland where Bowie lived at the time. The marriage has been scandal-free and characterized by an extremely upbeat public profile. It seems to be something of a storybook romance. Both Bowie and Iman were recently named as TIME Fashion Icons and in 1994, Iman launched her own line of cosmetics for women of color. The couple welcomed a daughter, Alexandria Zahra Jones, into the world on August 15, 2000. Iman continues to do charity and humanity work in her home country of Somalia, a country that has been ravaged by war, drought and famine.
Throughout his career, Bowie has sold an estimated 140 million albums. In the United Kingdom, he has been awarded 9 Platinum, 11 Gold and 8 Silver albums, and in the United States, 5 Platinum and 7 Gold. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him 39th on their list of the 100 Greatest Rock Artists of All Time and the 23rd best singer of all time. Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on January 17, 1996 and named a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in June 2013.
The couple celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2012 and seem to be going as strong as ever.Bowie refuses to do any interviews as the couple focuses on living a private life. For all of Bowie’s oddities, there is one strong and passionate woman that will always love him.
“You would think that a rock star being married to a super-model would be one of the greatest things in the world. It is.”—David Bowie