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The British rocker and the Somali model met in 1990

It was love at first sight for him: "I just knew she was the one"

CNN  — 

Rockers dating models is almost cliche in Hollywood.

Supermodel Iman knew that all too well, and the story goes that she had no desire to date the biggest of all rock stars, David Bowie, when the pair met at a dinner party in 1990.

“I did not want to get involved with a rock star,” she said in 2011. “No way. It is not a sane thing to do, but David changed my mind. He wooed me.”

That wooing included everything from romantic boat rides down the Seine in Paris to tying her shoelaces. And it kicked off a decades-long marriage that was as rock and roll as it was fiercely private.

The Somali beauty and the musician married in 1992 in Tuscany, he wearing tails and she in an elegant halter-top gown.

The pair settled down into a jet-set life that included his music and her beauty business but always as much privacy as they could manage. Iman – who once said, “I am married to David Jones. David Bowie and David Jones are two totally different people” – told fellow supermodel Naomi Campbell in 2013 that shunning the limelight was intentional.

“First, I think you’ve got to feel hot for each other and respect each other,” Iman said when asked about the secret to her marriage. “That’s where it starts. Also, we are very private, so we decided from early on that we will keep the press and editors and everybody out of our house.”

For his part, Bowie told Hello magazine in 2000 that upon meeting his future wife, his “attraction to her was immediate and all-encompassing.”

“That she would be my wife, in my head, was a done deal,” he said. “I’d never gone after anything in my life with such passion in all my life. I just knew she was the one.”

Bowie had a son, filmmaker Duncan Jones, with his first wife, Angie. He and Iman welcomed a daughter in 2000: Alexandria Zahra Jones, known as “Lexi.” The model said that when it came to child-rearing, “David is measured, sensible yet at the same time fun and relaxed with Lexi. I’m the disciplinarian!”

With homes in London and the island of Mustique, they kept their home base in New York. Iman helped nurse Bowie back to health in 2004 after he had a heart attack from a blocked artery.

Though they retained their privacy (to the point of not allowing photo spreads of their luxurious homes), the advent of social media helped the family share a bit more of their lives.

“If I say something about David, I get 1,000 tweets. if I say something about my business, just a few,” Iman told Campbell. “The more personal, the better.”

They were so private that few knew of Bowie’s cancer diagnosis until after his death.

On Friday, two days before his death, Iman helped celebrate his 69th birthday and the release of his new album, “Blackstar,” with several posts and reposts of photos of her husband.

One post seems especially poignant now. Iman posted a phrase, “Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

A day later, she posted the simple message “The struggle is real, but so is God.”