As the fifth anniversary of David Bowie’s death approaches, his widow, Iman, is warmly looking back on their life together. The Somali supermodel and philanthropist spoke to Harper’s Bazaar about her late husband’s legacy and her enduring love for him.
“David is in our hearts and minds on a daily basis, for all of us,” she said of the rock icon, who passed away from liver cancer on January 10th, 2016. “You know, this was my true love. My daughter once asked me if I would ever marry again and I said, ‘never’.”
Bowie and Iman’s marriage lasted from 1992 until his passing, and they had a child together, Lexi (short for Alexandria), in 2000. Despite being a glamorous supermodel and a beloved rock god, Iman insisted their family life “could not have been more regular! It was a really everyday marriage.” She continued,
“He was a very funny, warm gentleman – you know, everyone talks about him being futuristic, but no, he was not, he liked more than anything to wear a three-piece suit. It was a beautiful, ordinary life and that was what was great about it. We could live in New York, pick up our daughter from school, walk everywhere… You know, I wish we had had more years.”
Iman called the anniversary of Bowie’s death “the saddest time,” though she takes comfort in the fact that “his fans are still around, his music is still relevant.” To her, his legacy is her husband “hiding in plain sight,” but there was one incident in particular when she believes his presence was a little more deliberate.
Last January 10th, instead of spending the day with her family, Iman was by herself hiking through the San Francisco redwoods. It was then that she saw a bluebird fly right in front of her — “A bluebird, above all things!” she exclaimed. Of course, Bowie’s final antemortem single, “Lazarus”, includes the lines, “You know, I’ll be free/ Just like that bluebird/ Now ain’t that just like me?”
“I asked the tour guide, and he said, ‘Oh, they’re very rare here, bluebirds,'” Iman continued. “And so now, instead of remembering it as sad, it is more of a joyous day.”
As Iman remembers Bowie, the world is getting ready to celebrate his legacy on what would have been his 74th birthday, January 8th. On that day, Trent Reznor, Billy Corgan, Perry Farrell, and others will take place in the livestream tribute “A Bowie Celebration: Just for One Day!”; a filmed recording of his musical Lazarus, starring Michael C. Hall, will be released as a ticketed streaming event; and Bowie’s covers of Bob Dylan’s “Tryin’ to Get to Heaven” and John Lennon’s “Mother” will be released for the very first time as a limited-edition 7-inch single.