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Iman Reveals Fan and Media Response to David Bowie’s Death Was ‘Too Much’

Samantha Franco
Photo Credit: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images for DKMS

The iconic model Iman and David Bowie were married for 24 years until Bowie’s untimely death in 2016. The two had an intensely loving relationship that made losing Bowie very difficult for Iman. This was aggravated by the media and fans, making her feel like she had a target on her head.

It was love at first sight

Iman and David Bowie looking at one another, Iman in leopard print and Bowie in a suit

Somalian-born model, Iman, with her husband, British singer and songwriter, David Bowie, at a Bulgari gala at the Orangerie at the Chateau de Versailles. (Photo Credit: David Lefranc / Kipa / Sygma / Getty Images)

Before Bowie and Iman met, he was married to Angela Bowie, with whom he shared one son, Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones. Obviously, this marriage did not last, and the two officially divorced on February 8, 1980. Following this, Bowie and Iman met on a blind date that was set up by friends.

At their meeting, they had an immediate connection. In a 2021 interview, Iman told People “David said it was love at first sight.” However, they weren’t yet on the same page. Iman said, “It took me a few months but I got there.” Regardless, the two certainly felt something click on their date.

Their romance continued to flourish, and Iman described that in their relationship, “I knew him as the man, David Jones, his real name. And not the rock star.”

They got married under wraps

Headshot of Iman and David Bowie

Model Iman and her husband, musician David Bowie, attend the amFAR Benefit Honors Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on February 3, 2003, in New York City. (Photo Credit: Evan Agostini / Getty Images)

Eventually, Iman and Bowie tied the knot. The two got married in Florence, Italy on June 6, 1992. The wedding was kept extremely quiet, and those in attendance simply included two witnesses and an interpreter. The event was so under wraps that the media had no idea about their marriage until over a week later.

Following their marriage, Iman and Bowie welcomed a daughter, Alexandria “Lexi” Jones. When speaking of their marriage, Iman said she never minded being referred to as “David Bowie’s wife,” despite being an extremely successful model and actress herself. However, “I always remind people that I existed before I met him, and he was also very particular,” she said. “He never introduced me by saying, ‘Meet my wife.’ He’d always say, ‘Meet Iman, my wife.’ So we both already had our own identity. We were separate together.”

Iman and Bowie were married from 1992 to 2016. Bowie died of liver cancer on January 10, 2016, at the age of 69.

The press hounded her and her daughter

Headshot of Iman and David Bowie sitting at a dinner table and hugging

David Bowie and Iman at the “7th On Sale” To Benefit AIDS Research event on November 29, 1990. (Photo Credit: Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection / Getty Images)

When Bowie died, Iman, as well as the rest of the world, was overcome with grief. At such a vulnerable time, she said that the public response to his death was “too much.” As kind as the gestures were from fans toward her and her daughter, it was hard to cope with.

“We lived a very private life and suddenly it felt like there was a target on mine and my daughter’s head,” she recently explained. “It got to the point where we had to leave our home because the public were always at the front door – which I admire. I get it, but there was a point where it was like, ‘OK, go home now.'”

The response from fans and the media was far too aggressive. Iman explained, “You had people who would take your picture, sell it and then come to you and say, ‘I feel your pain.’  And I’m like, ‘No, [explicit], you don’t feel my pain. Get away from me.'”

‘He is my husband’

Headshot of Iman and David Bowie

English musician, singer-songwriter, and actor David Bowie and his wife Somali fashion model Iman leaving a theatre on Broadway, New York City, circa 1996. (Photo Credit: Rose Hartman / Archive Photos / Getty Images)

Since his death, Iman says she refuses to refer to Bowie as her “late husband.” Instead, she insists, “he is not my late husband. He is my husband.” Additionally, when people describe her as being “strong” about Bowie’s death, she shuts it down. “I am just trying to keep it together,” she explained.

“There are days that are harder than others but the memories are not all sad of why the person isn’t here. The memories are now of great it was. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I had 26 years. So I have that to sustain me.”

Iman says she will not remarry

Iman and David Bowie at a film festiva;

Iman and David Bowie during 5th Annual Tribeca Film Festival – Vanity Fair Party – Arrivals at New York State Supreme Court in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo Credit: Lawrence Lucier/FilmMagic)

Iman has admitted, “I do feel very lonely, but do I want a relationship? I can’t say never, but no – not now.” Although it has been years since his passing, Iman says that she can still feel Bowie’s presence all around her. “I definitely feel his presence, especially when I look out over the glorious sunsets at our home because David loves sunsets,” she says. “So in that way he is ever-present.”

More from us: Freddie Mercury’s Family Burned All of His Belongings When He Died – Except One Thing

Their daughter Lexi asked if she’d ever remarry, and Iman told her, “I said ‘No, I will not.’ I still feel married.

Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!

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