Iman moved TODAY show host, Hoda Kotb, to tears after sharing her belief that loved ones who die live on in the memories of those they leave behind.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on November 19, 2021. It has since been updated.
It's been nearly seven years since the world lost rock and roll genius David Bowie when he passed away at the age of 69. While it has taken his 67-year-old widow until now to properly grieve his loss, she still feels his presence and considers him her husband. Although their love story was fairly private, Iman recently told PEOPLE, "David said it was love at first sight." She added, "It took me a few months but I got there." The two met on a blind date that was orchestrated by their mutual friend in Los Angeles. At the time, Bowie had several hits like Ziggy Stardust and Space Oddity under his belt while Iman was a supermodel from Somalia, whose beauty and intelligence had bewitched the world of fashion.
There was no one cooler than the dazzling pair, who exchanged marital vows on June 6, 1992, in Florence, Italy. They soon welcomed their daughter Alexandria, and Bowie just loved walking her home from school. Iman saw part of the singer that no one in the world did. "I knew him as the man, David Jones, his real name, and not the rock star," shared the CARE global advocate. Now, years after her husband's death from cancer in 2016, she has paid a tribute to their "epic romance" by creating her first fragrance, Love Memoir. Apparently, the idea came to her when she was living at their country home situated in the mountains in upstate New York.
Living there seemed extremely painful without the Rebel Rebel singer initially as she recalled, "I just got very sad and would rush back to the city. I thought I had processed [the loss] but I had not." It wasn't until the whole world went into a lockdown that she finally found solace amidst his ever-present books, his favorite paintings, and the scenic beauty of sunsets, something they both loved. The inspiration for the fragrance came from Tom Ford's Grey Vetiver which was Bowie's favorite and bergamot from Tuscany, where they tied the knot.
The combination of woodsy vetiver and bergamot resulted in something the cosmetics pioneer described as "a monument to eternal love." The beginning of their undying love happened after Iman moved to Los Angeles briefly. "I had never intended to move there," she told PEOPLE. "It's not one of my favorite places. It's so vast but I personally believe now that was my destiny. My destiny was calling me to get there so I could meet David." Following their first date, she flew to Paris to walk the runway for her friend, Thierry Mugler.
When she arrived at her hotel room, she was surprised to find it was filled with flowers, Gardenias. After landing in L.A., she found Bowie waiting at the airport to meet her. Apart from his sincere and sweet gestures, Iman was drawn to the musician for his kindness. "Early on, we were walking down the street and my shoelace came undone and he got on his knees to tie it for me and I thought he's the one," she expressed. Not to mention, their chemistry was exceptional. "David was beyond handsome. He oozed charisma," she said.
For Iman, Bowie was not only her husband and the father of their child but also a strong support system who constantly pushed her to be a better version of herself and remain fearless as she did so. "If David was not in my life, I don't know if I would have had the courage to start Iman Cosmetics [in 1994]. I asked him 'What if it fails?' and he said, 'If you don't try, you'll never know if it succeeds.' He was very proud that it was one of the first lines to be very inclusive. Very chuffed, as he would say. Pleasantly happy," she recalled. Although he's gone, Iman explained that he was alive in the memories that they shared together. She now uses them to console herself and go on with life.
"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 how great it was. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I had 26 years. So I have that to sustain me," she noted. When asked about remarrying, Iman set the record straight by sharing the answer she gave her now 21-year-old daughter Alexandria "Lexi" Jones who asked her the same thing. "I said 'No, I will not.' I still feel married." During an interview with TODAY's Hoda Kotb, the retired supermodel continues, "People say to me when they talk, ‘Oh I loved your late husband,' and I said, ‘He’s not my late husband, he’s my husband,’ so that’s how I feel about it. This was truly the love of my life, and I just wait until I meet him again.
She left the show's host in tears, as she shared her take on losing a loved one. "I think at the end of our days, the only thing we will have if we are lucky is our memories. That’s the thing that we will have and will sustain us after the person passes away," she said. Speaking to PEOPLE, Iman profoundly added, "I definitely feel his presence, especially when I look out over the glorious sunsets at our home because David loves sunsets. So in that way, he is ever-present. Through my memory, my love lives."
“This was truly the love of my life.”@hodakotb speaks with supermodel, philanthropist and entrepreneur @The_Real_IMAN about her marriage with the late David Bowie and the new fragrance she is releasing in his honor. pic.twitter.com/VPM2xS6JG1— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 17, 2021
Cover image source: Getty | Photo by Evan Agostini