Iman Shares Details of Her Home Life with David Bowie: 'He Couldn't Cook ... but We'd Dance'

"David got so used to my cooking that whenever I'd say 'Shall we order tonight?' He'd say 'You're not cooking?'" Iman tells PEOPLE in this week's issue

"He was so kind and such a gentleman," Iman recalls. "Since the day we met, until the last minute, when we walked down the street, he would never let me walk on the outside. He always moved me to the inside."

"He" was Iman's husband, the incomparable David Bowie. And in opening up about their 26-year love affair in this week's PEOPLE, she reveals a side of the man that the world never knew.

Over five years after his death from cancer at age 69, Iman has created a fragrance Love Memoir, a tribute to their "epic romance." And while the combined wattage of the model and the musician was off the charts, she says their life at home "couldn't be more normal."

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Most nights meant Iman's home-cooked dinners. "I'm one of those people that can read a recipe and cook it and not stress over it," says Iman, 66. "Roast chicken with herbs for Sunday dinner. On Saturdays, he loved English breakfast, with bacon and sausage — both my daughter [Alexandria 'Lexi'] and David." (Iman and Bowie each had an older child from their previous marriages.)

Says Iman, "David got so used to my cooking that whenever I'd say 'Shall we order tonight?' He'd say 'You're not cooking?' He was always in the kitchen with me. He couldn't cook. He would burn water but he'd put music on and we'd dance, the three of us."

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The couple took turns picking up Lexi from school and Bowie always stopped for ice cream on the way home. But being her father's daughter did have unexpected moments. One day when Lexi was seven years old, she saw a poster of her father. "That's Daddy," Iman recalls her saying. "And then she asked, 'But why is he called Bowie?'"

"Our daughter had no idea of his fame. By the time she was born, David had decided not to tour as much. Her name is Alexandria Jones," adds Iman, referencing Bowie's given name, David Robert Jones, "but she could see when he came to school people would look at him differently."

iman and bowie cover

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Once she got a little older, she found Ziggy Stardust a bit intriguing. "When she saw a picture of him as Ziggy Stardust with red hair and makeup, she did not ask why is he wearing makeup?" says Iman with a laugh. "Only about his red hair. That's a New York girl!"

One constant in their life was Bowie's love of art in all its forms. "David could read three of four books at a time and everything he read somehow made it into his music," says Iman. "The way he created things was unique. A lot of reading, painting and sculpture, and then it all gets sifted and something new comes of it."

Watch the full episode of People Cover Story: Iman on or on the PeopleTV app.

The same might be said for how she incorporated various notes of fragrance they both loved, sifted through her memories, to create Love Memoir, available exclusively on HSN and "Creating the fragrance, putting in the vetiver of David (his favorite cologne was Tom Ford's Grey Vetiver) and the bergamot from Tuscany, where we were married, putting those together, I have a fragrance that is both him and I."


And with that, the pioneer who launched Iman Cosmetics for women of all skin tones in 1994, and who is also CARE's Global Advocate, can add perfumer to her list. In doing so, while spending lockdown at their beloved home in upstate New York, she found a new peace. "I found just by creating this fragrance and remembering David every day and being here, it just somehow eased my grief and I came through it," she says.

And though she once wore his favorite Vetiver cologne in remembrance, she says, "now not so much. I wear Love Memoir, because this one is the two of us."

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