They were together for 25 years and had a cosmic connection. Still, Iman once said she never fell in love with David Bowie.
"I fell in love with David Jones," the Somali-American supermodel told the Guardian in 2014, referring to the given name of the English rock legend, who died Sunday at age 69.
"Bowie is just a persona," she explained. "He's a singer, an entertainer. David Jones is a man I met."
Ron Galella / WireImage
PEOPLE visited their New York City apartment in 2005, and found the family – with then-5-year-old daughter Lexi – to be the image of domesticity.
"We are very normal," Iman said, explaining that she cooked dinner for her husband every night, that she took Lexi to music and dance lessons, and that Bowie and Lexi would play music together all the time.
Of his entrepreneur wife, Bowie told PEOPLE at the time: "She's uncanny at keeping the business at her office and the woman at home. But she's a mom 24/7."
KMazur / WireImage
"I was not ready for a relationship," Iman told the Guardian. "Definitely I didn't want to get into a relationship with somebody like him."
The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty
But the attraction was instant and undeniable. Weeks before their 1992 wedding, Bowie gushed to PEOPLE about the "overwhelming beauty" of his bride-to-be, describing her as "a smoky blend of Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn."
Iman, too, was smitten. She had already honored her fiancé by having a Bowie knife tattooed on her right ankle. "My life is good," she told PEOPLE.
Some two decades later, in 2010, Iman described their relationship to Harper's Bazaar as utterly complementary, and said their romance was as passionate as ever.
Andrew H. Walker / Getty
"David doesn't fight," she said. "He is English, so he just stays quiet. I'm the screamer. Then he always makes me laugh. It's like cabaret. I keep him entertained, too. I still fancy him – totally! – after all these years."
She added: "My father … taught me how to be a parent and gave me a positive connection with men because he is a gentleman. And that is what attracted me to David. He is a gentle soul."
As as Bowie told PEOPLE in 2005, the couple had no problem keeping their romance alive. "Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation generally does the trick!" he said.