Saturday 7 December 2019

Bowie's women (and one of his men)

After a turbulent love life featuring relationships with women and men, the star finally found happiness with supermodel Iman, writes Deirdre Reynolds

Bowie married Somalian supermodel Iman Abdulmajid at a romantic ceremony in Tuscany in 1992. Reuters
Bowie married Somalian supermodel Iman Abdulmajid at a romantic ceremony in Tuscany in 1992. Reuters
Bowie was rumoured to have had an affair with Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger; they later appeared together in the video for their single ‘Dancing in the Streets’
Bowie married Angie Bowie in 1970 but they split in 1980. Photo: GAB Archive/Redferns

Deirdre Reynolds

There was nothing but love yesterday for the inimitable David Bowie, who died at the age of 69 after a secret 18-month battle with cancer.

Iggy Pop, Madonna and Paul McCartney were just some of the stars who rushed to pay tribute to the legendary musician.

But it was the Twitter silence of his wife Iman that spoke the loudest about the heartbreaking loss of the rock icon, husband and father.

As rumours of a hoax spread online, a statement on the singer's official Facebook page confirmed the sad news: "David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer."

Together more than two decades, grief-stricken Iman Abdulmajid is believed to have been by her husband's side as he succumbed to the disease in New York on Sunday.

On Saturday, the Somalian supermodel tweeted: "Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory."

Just after dawn on the day of her husband's death, she poignantly added: "The struggle is real, but so is God."

As devastated fans last night awaited more from those to closest to the ultimate Starman, messages of support began flooding in for Bowie's widow and their blended family of three.


Sharing a snapshot of himself with the power couple, designer Tommy Hilfiger wrote: "David Bowie will always be a rock'n'roll legend and a dear friend. My heart is with his loved ones today."

As the Thin White Duke and the world's first black supermodel, on paper Bowie and Iman may have seemed like opposites.

Proving the old adage though, when the pair met on a blind date in 1990, it was 'Modern Love' at first sight.

After tying the knot in a romantic ceremony in Tuscany two years later, the couple - who would have celebrated their 24th wedding anniversary this April - succeeded in divorcing their private life together from their very public personas.

Opening up to Naomi Campbell for 'Interview' magazine in 2013, Iman said: "We are very private so we decided from early on that we will keep the press and editors and everybody out of our house."

Over the years however, the 60-year-old has given some glimpses into what first attracted her to the Space Oddity - and what it was that made their love last.

Speaking about their relationship in 2014, the fashion icon - who has a 14-year-old daughter called Alexandria with the late star - 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."

"My father taught me how to be a parent and gave me a positive connection with men because he is a gentlemen," she added in a separate interview. "And that's what attracted me to David. He is a gentle soul. We have fun with each other. He's very English in a way that he's a gentleman."

From Ziggy Stardust to Halloween Jack, Bowie took on many different identities.

But it was his transmogrification from "bisexual alleycat" - as his first wife Angie Bowie put it - into a doting father and husband that was perhaps the most surprising of all.

The former actress - who was married to the musician from 1970 to 1980 - is set to remain on 'Celebrity Big Brother' this week after being informed of her ex-husband's shock death yesterday.

In her 1993 autobiography 'Backstage Passes: Life On The Wild Side With David Bowie', she previously dished: "He was a rotten boyfriend at first, or at least not the one I wanted him to be.

"I was still at the age when a girl assumes her lover is going to be nice to her even if he isn't faithful (or in David's case, even if he has the instincts of a bisexual alleycat)."

Even after allegedly finding her husband in bed with Mick Jagger, however, the 66-year-old had to concede that Bowie was "a special man, different and great, one in a million or more".

Elizabeth Taylor, Susan Sarandon, Marianne Faithfull and Bianca Jagger are just some of the other beauties thought to have fallen for the rock God's sprayed-on costumes and shock of orange hair over the years.

In 1976, the star famously told 'Playboy' that the murmurings about his sexuality were right: "It's true - I'm bisexual".

Later labelling himself "a closet heterosexual", he claimed the declaration was "the biggest mistake I ever made".

After finally finding lasting love with Iman, Bowie memorably joked: "You would think that a rock star being married to a supermodel would be one of the greatest things in the world. It is". Revealing a more serious side, he continued: "I have someone who loves me for me."

As tributes to the glam-rock legend continue to pour in today, the world is sure to relisten to his lyrics. And the ones he sang on his cover of Nat King Cole's 'Nature Boy' seem particularly appropriate: "The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return."

Just days after his swansong, 'Blackstar', hit digital shelves here, indeed that could be Bowie's greatest achievement of all.

Irish Independent

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