It Only Took One Small Act for Iman to Know David Bowie Was the One

After 30 years of marriage, supermodel Iman only needs one word to describe her late husband David Bowie.

"Romantic," she gushes over the phone. "He was a true romantic, I mean, too romantic."

A few minutes into speaking with Iman, it's easy to tell that she still deeply adores Bowie, a man the world knew as a legendary, larger-than-life rockstar. But while she shares that she had been a fan of his music since the mid-1970s, the Somali-born fashion icon didn't fall in love with the star's onstage persona — she fell in love with David Jones. Someone she describes as affectionate, exceptionally loving, and simply just down to earth.

"He had never forgotten the day we met, I used get flowers," she remembers. "He would never let me walk by the street, he was always on the outside and pulled me to the inside — always. Actually, one of the reasons why I first fell in love with him was because when we were walking, my shoelace became untied, and he got down on his knees and tied my shoes. It can't get more romantic than that."

The pair first met back in 1990 at a mutual friend's dinner party when Iman was living in California. At the time, she was not looking for love, or even thinking about it. In fact, the night she met her future husband, she was under the impression that there would be a crowd of people in the room. Little did she know, there would only be four.

"The hairdresser that I met there in LA — who was also David's hairdresser — invited me one day for his birthday party at a restaurant, but when I got there, there was no party," Iman shares. "It was only the hairdresser and his boyfriend, and David and I."

She also adds that while that was their first time being formally introduced, she had been going to his New York City concerts for nearly 15 years prior. "I just never went backstage to meet him. I felt like, well, what do you say? You just go backstage and say, 'Oh great show?' [laugh]."

As for Bowie? From the moment he saw the model, he knew she was the one.

"My attraction to her was immediate and all-encompassing," Bowie shared during an interview with Hello! back in 2000. "I couldn't sleep for the excitement of our first date. That she would be my wife, in my head, was a done deal. I'd never gone after anything with such passion in all my life."

From their first date where they met for coffee, until Bowie tragically passed away from liver cancer in 2016, the loving pair were inseparable for 30 years. But for Iman, the bond she had, and still has with her husband, is eternal. That's why she decided to create a fragrance to honor their partnership.

Appropriately named Love Memoir, the deliciously romantic fragrance, sold exclusively on HSN, offers top notes of bergamot, blackcurrant, and coconut; middle notes of rose, jasmine, and orris; and bottom notes of vanilla, patchouli, and vetiver.

However, much like meeting her husband, Iman never anticipated that she would one day launch a perfume, despite being a veteran beauty brand founder and having a long history of using fragrance.

"My mom used to have this ritual she did with us when I was around eight," the model shares. "She would wash our hair and while the hair is wet, you put a towel over your head, burn oud incense, and let the smoke inside the towel — all the smoke goes in your hair. And I mean, you leave a room, you'd leave the scent [laughs]."

So what changed her mind? An unpredictable trip to her and Bowie's upstate New York home, right as the pandemic hit.

To shop: $85; hsn.com

"I hadn't really been to the house since David passed away," she says. "I used to come maybe for a weekend, then memories would start to flood in and I'd get very sad. I'd rush back to the city and didn't want to go back to the house."

"So here I was, on my own, and all these memories flooded in, especially these beautiful sunsets — David and I loved it, we would watch them together every day before he passed away — and I began grieving," she continues. "I didn't even realize that I didn't really process my grief, because I was trying to help my daughter, who's a teenager and lost her father, through her grieving process and ignored mine."

But eventually, much like what made her fall in love with her husband in the first place, Iman found comfort and joy in the little things. Wearing Bowie's signature scent: Tom Ford Extreme, painting with water colors, watching those mesmerizing sunsets, and even spending time outside stacking stones all brought her happiness. "It's meditative, it's a balancing act," she says of the latter hobby. "You can't rush it. You are present with it, and it calms me down."

Those moments went into Iman's design for the bottle and packaging for Love Memoir. "Everything about it is personal," she says.

While spending time alone in a house, with far too many reminders of her late husband to bare was the exact opposite of what Iman's head was telling her to do, turns out, that's exactly what her heart needed.

Having the chance to sit with herself and her thoughts, then being able to turn those raw emotions into a fragrance story is what helped her get to the other side of sorrow.

"My sad memories became comforting, and they became something that engulfed me," she says. "They transformed into joyous memories that I could cherish and can sustain me for the rest of my life."

Iman shares that she likes to spritz on Love Memoir at night, straight after she showers, right before going to bed. The memories the scent evokes of the "combination of the heavy days of meeting and wooing and romancing" leading up to her wedding are some of her fondest.

But despite the enduring, fairytale romance Iman recalls having with Bowie, she's honest about the fact that there's no secret recipe for creating a beautiful, loving marriage. For her, the foundation of a solid relationship is simple.

"We came into each other's lives later in our lives, and came to terms and understood from the start that there is a difference between the public life and the private life; those two had to be separated completely," she shares. "And because we came together later in our lives, family came first. The careers had been done and all that. The focus was this new family that we were putting together. We also just had love and respect for each other — that was it."

VIDEO: Iman Shares a Rare Photo of Her and David Bowie's Beautiful Daughter, Lexi

In today's world of online dating and a pandemic that took away over a year of in-person interactions, for those looking for love, meeting your match has never seemed more difficult. But Iman has some unadorned advice for those who are actively searching for the one: don't.

"The thing is, you don't know when 'the one' is going to come, so you can't look for it," she shares. "If we're lucky, we experience it in our lifetime, but there is no magic to it. I personally think it is destiny. Destiny will bring love to you."

She uses herself as an example.

"I stopped modeling in 1989, and I had no reason to go to California. People thought I was going for acting, but I was not interested in acting, and it was not my favorite place in the world" she admits. "But I know now why I had to go: My destiny was calling me to go there. That's how I met my husband."

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