The end of a storybook romance – Somalia-born Iman and David Bowie


“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” – Bowie Iman and David Bowie at Hammerstein Ballroom during Keep A Child Alive's 6th Annual Black Ball hosted by Alicia Keys and Padma Lakshmi on October 15, 2009 in New York CityIman and David Bowie at Hammerstein Ballroom during Keep A Child Alive’s 6th Annual Black Ball hosted by Alicia Keys and Padma Lakshmi on October 15, 2009 in New York City

A SAD announcement has rocked the entertainment industry and music lovers across the world, that the pop Picasso, David Bowie, has died after a “courageous” 18-month battle with cancer. He was 69 years old.

Bowie did it all – he was a legendary singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, arranger, painter, and actor. His hits include Let’s Dance, Space Oddity, Starman, Modern Love, Heroes, Under Pressure, Rebel, Rebel and Life on Mars. He was also well known for creating his flamboyant alter ego Ziggy Stardust.

One aspect of his life that also saw him stand out was his marriage – this year would’ve marked 24 years that he was married to Somali model Iman Abdulmajid and with whom he has a daughter – Alexandria Jones. A marriage this long is a true rarity in the world of fame. Sometimes described as “Somalia’s most famous export” Iman was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1955 to decidedly progressive parents. Iman’s father was a diplomat stationed in Tanzania, and under the law he could have had multiple wives, but chose to keep just one. The parents agreed that their daughter should be sent to a private Catholic school for girls, which was considered more progressive than the standard Islamic education available to young females in the 1960s. There, Iman thrived. She went on to attend the University of Nairobi – where she studied political science – and in the 1970s and 1980s she was one of the most sought-after fashion models. In the 1990s she became a successful business executive with her own line of cosmetics.

Iman’s match with Bowie may seem unexpected – but considering her upbringing – the unconventionality of it seemed to match what her parents had hoped for. Musicians Ric Ocasek and David Bowie and models Paulina Porizkova and Iman attending ‘CFDA Vogue 7th on Sale Fashion Benefit for AIDS’ on November 29, 1990 at the Armory in New York City, New York

In an interview with the The Independent, Bowie described how it was love at first sight for him when he met Iman, but for Iman it took some time as she wasn’t ready for a relationship yet, especially with an entertainer – but Bowie wooed her. He eventually proposed to Iman under the Pont Neuf bridge, serenading her with his version of Doris Day’s “April In Paris”.

The glamorous couple were married in a civil ceremony in Lausanne, Switzerland where Bowie lived at the time. Later, David and Iman would marry in a church service in Italy. The couple shared many things; they were first introduced properly to each other at a dinner party in Los Angeles held in October 1990 by a mutual friend, Teddy Antolin, who was hairdresser to both.They were both named as TIME fashion icons. In the days leading up to the singer’s death Iman posted a series of heartfelt tweets.

The marriage has been scandal-free and characterised by an extremely upbeat public profile. It seemed to have been something of a storybook romance.

MG Africa



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