6 Lessons We Learned From David Bowie & Iman

Just a few short days ago, social media feeds worldwide filled with solemn tributes and remembrances for the legendary pop music singer and songwriter David Bowie. Bowie died on January 10 at the age of 69. Widely regarded for his work in the 1970s and idolized for his innovative and exuberant nature, Bowie has undoubtedly left us with a distinct creative legacy.

Yet, what was more transcendent than his exceptional contributions to the worlds of music and film was his relationship with Somalian supermodel Iman.

When the duo met in 1990, Iman, now 60, told The Guardian that she had no interest in getting involved with a rockstar. What changed her mind? The model, actress and entrepreneur confessed to being “wooed” by Bowie, citing the time that stopped in his tracks to re-tie her shoes after they had come undone while on a stroll about town. Sigh.

Of course, their whole story sounds like a fairytale (that is, pretty idealistic), but there are some key takeaways from what we’ve seen and heard from the couple over the years.

1.     Look at your partner for who he/she is first, rather than for his/her profession.

When Iman met David Bowie, she wasn’t looking to get involved with a rockstar for obvious, stereotypical reasons. While we know now that Bowie was able to sway her, Iman clearly stated in the 2014 Guardian article that she “fell in love with David Jones,” not the entertainer David Bowie. “Bowie is just a persona […] David Jones is a man I met,” she said.

What’s the takeaway here? She didn’t fall in love with his profession or his public image. There were more important factors to consider. Although it might sound cliché, a person’s ability to be kind, gentle, well-mannered and hardworking are far more important than their social standing.

2.     Support each other’s interests

While sometimes an ideal evening for the pair meant staying in, cooking dinner and spending time with their family, other times it meant keeping each other company while pursuing their own crafts, according to E! Online. For example, Bowie would paint, and Iman would needlepoint. Respecting each other’s interests is healthy, and the most important thing is each other’s company, not that you like all of the same things.

3.     Just because you and your partner are different doesn’t mean you aren’t right for each other.

In a 2010 interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Iman discussed the couple’s differences in personality and how they in fact complimented each other. “David doesn’t fight,” said Iman. “He is English, so he just stays quiet. I’m the screamer. Then he always makes me laugh.”

The duo seemed to hit it right on the nose. Relationships, above all, should be fun. So what if you’re different? Having a sense of humor about it is one of the most critical elements to a healthy, fun-loving relationship.

4.     Want the best for one another.

From Bowie’s perspective, this desire could and should apply to matters as prosaic as not wanting your partner to trip and fall from an untied shoelace! “I remember once the laces on my trainers came undone, and David was down on his knees in the middle of the street tying them for me,” Iman told The Guardian.

A secure and trustful bond stems from the knowledge that you have each other’s backs, no matter what.

5.     If you’re a private person, don’t feel bad about keeping your relationship private as well.

Of course, none of us is famous, but in the age of social media this is something that each and every one of us may grapple with. If you’re not a fan of PDA, don’t feel bad about not being overly affectionate in public. That doesn’t make you stone cold hag.

Social media also perpetuates the fad of posting excessively about our personal lives. Before posting a whole album of your and your significant other just because your friends are doing the same with their partners, think about if you actually want people to know each and every thing you’ve been up to. It’s a choice, a matter of what’s right for you in your relationship.

6.     Still, don’t be afraid to express your feelings for each other when it matters most to you.

Iman posted a series of messages and photos of Bowie on her social media accounts on January 8, 2016. It was his 69th birthday. “I will love you till I die, I will see you in the sky #tonight happy birthday Mr Bowie,” she wrote.


Our thoughts and sympathies go out to Iman and their family.