Remember when Iman quit modeling, then married David Bowie?

Before they wed, In the Heat of the Night gave the supermodel one of her earliest TV roles.

By the end of the Eighties, it’s said that the supermodel Iman was at the pinnacle of her modeling career, pulling in $500,000 a year and considered irreplaceable on magazine covers and catwalks globally.

But Iman thought modeling was boring, and after doing it for 10 years, she decided to abruptly quit modeling to pursue acting instead in 1987.

This decision came shortly after Iman divorced her first husband, NBA star Spencer Haywood.

It seems the model was looking to shake things up, and designers and photographers around the world wept at her decision.

"Her style is effortless, she’d look great in a paper towel," declared fashion designer Bill Blass.

"Iman cannot be replaced," insisted photographer Francesco Scavullo.

But Iman had laid the groundwork for this departure for years, taking a non-speaking role in the movie Out of Africa and dipping her toe into acting in music videos and TV in the early 1980s.

The supermodel said it was simply time to rip off the band-aid and put an end to her modeling career.

"This is it," Iman told Newsday in 1987. "I’ve been trying to quit since the day I started … I don’t want to be one of those models who knocks it down, because it has offered me a lot. It’s made me more independent than I would ever be. But now I’m getting out. I don’t want to be one of those who go on and on, you know."

Iman knew there was a difference between appearing beautiful on camera and acting convincingly onscreen, and pointed to the Brat Pack as an example of what she did not want to do with her acting.

She wanted to bring more depth into characters than she thought they did.

"Look at the Brat Pack," Iman told the Detroit Free Press in 1988. "I don’t consider them actors. They’re beautiful young people. Models are beautiful young people. But one has to rely upon more depth than the raise of an eyebrow. I don’t consider myself beautiful. So if the whole world thinks I’m beautiful. Thank God they do. But I’d take my character over my looks in a second."

Although the whole world obviously considered Iman a great beauty, and for all of her equally great depth, her acting career did not pick up as quickly as the Brat Pack actors’ careers did.

Then in 1988, Iman took on one of her biggest TV roles yet, guest starring in the two-part In the Heat of the Night episode "Don’t Look Back."

Through the early 1990s, the supermodel seemed to gain more traction, appearing in more hit TV shows and movies, including a part in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

Though she was happy to be playing a wider range of characters, she admitted to feeling a little tortured by the acting process.

"In modeling all I had to do was to sleep eight hours and wake up looking gorgeous and everything was right," Iman said. "With acting there is a lot of agony to go with it."

Good thing that we all know that Iman did not have to suffer alone for very long after her divorce.

In the early 1990s, Iman met her future husband David Bowie when a friend sneakily set them up on a secret double date.

Bowie told the Los Angeles Times in 1993 that he fell in love with Iman at first sight.

"A mutual friend knew that we were both on our own, with children," Bowie said. "We were brought to dinner one night… It was absolutely instantaneous. I couldn’t get her out of my mind … sleepless nights – real 18-year-old stuff."

Within six months, the couple moved in together and a rep told a London tabloid in 1991 that "This is a very serious romance. She may well become Iman Bowie."

In 1992, they secretly married in a civil ceremony, followed by a much bigger church wedding that Bowie famously composed all the music for. This music he confirmed inspired his next album which featured "The Wedding Song."

Bowie said once they married, their love was so deep, they wanted to adjust their careers to make time to be together.

"We see each other a lot," Bowie said. "I couldn’t stand to be separated for months. It became quickly apparent to me that I needed to find a balance between my absolute work obsession and my private life that we could share without my disappearing all the time."

Perhaps this explains why Iman wasn’t as busy with her acting career.

Through the end of the 1990s, you could see Iman in scant roles in TV and music videos, but her acting career never amounted to as much as her modeling career did.

This likely didn’t surprise the supermodel, who decided if acting didn’t work out as she hoped, she’d just easily accept that, give up, and move on.

Iman said she had long ago learned that "Acting is such a fickle business, worse than modeling."

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AtomixGraphix02 24 months ago
Iman was "Loving the Alien" til the very end, and still does afterwards.
Henderson 25 months ago
She's just another has been narcissistic ex model. I saw her on QVC once talking about her handbags. She completely took over from the poor woman who was supposed to sell them. She started, "this is a beautiful handbag that you should have and I'm going to tell you why..........I couldn't switch that channel fast enough.
Deleted 25 months ago
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MaryAnn 25 months ago
Oh, my goodness! Someone actually said it! 😆
25 months ago
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MaryAnn 25 months ago
RichLorn 25 months ago
Bowie was lucky to be in the right place at the right time. They met shorty after I gave Iman the "It's not you, it's me" speech, and Bowie caught her on the rebound.
ELEANOR 25 months ago
Guess what, I don't remember and I don't care.
Runeshaper 25 months ago
The story of the love between Iman and Bowie is beautiful. However, I would NEVER agree with Iman in that the Brat Pack are not actors. The Brat Pack = AWESOME!
Michael 25 months ago
Like dancers, most models have a finite period in their profession. They age out, and have to find something else to do with their lives. (Yes, there are exceptions, and sometimes they move into an affiliated field, like teaching dance or going behind the camera).

So did she really give up modelling to marry him? Or was that tapering off? She stated acting over ten years earlier.
Andybandit 25 months ago
I don't remember her on In the Heat of the Night. Iman and David were a good couple.

Catman 25 months ago
I thought she was great in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
KJExpress Catman 25 months ago
Same here.
justjeff 25 months ago
I never found "thin" models like Iman attractive... Give me the "curvy" models and actresses of the 1940s and 1950s... Even some of the "fuller-figured" women like Shelly Winters had more sex appeal than what passed for "atrtractive" from the 1960s through the 1980s.

Of course, there was always exceptions to the rule in those later decades - but for the most part, most of the models were "clothes hangars" who starved themselves to fit a cock-eyed male view of what most men wanted in a woman.

I've often felt that [mostly] superficial, self-involved men were the ones who glorified "walking toothpicks". .. and because of that, many women sufferered from self-image issues as well as anorexia and bulemia...
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justjeff TheDavBow3 25 months ago
Many guys would disagree with this perspective... but I've met women with "drop dead gorgeous" figures who opened their mouths and turned me off immediately... and then I've met some women (yes, even those *way* overweight) who had such personality, intergrity and charm that it was an instant turn-on for me to be around them!
Zip justjeff 25 months ago
It's the advertisers who wanted the women(and men, quite frankly) to be on the thin side, because clothes "hang better" off of them and make the clothes look better in pictures. This was mentioned by professional models and photographers when I dabbled in modeling back in the 80's.
So your "clothes hangars" comment was pretty much on the mark.
TheDavBow3 justjeff 25 months ago
TheDavBow3 justjeff 25 months ago
Yvonne DeCarlo on "McClintock" is stunning. And I think she's thin there. Also Linda Carter, Jayne Mansfield from the mid 60s, Adele, Jane Russell, Queen Latifa, Rebel Wilson... all are beautiful, healthy, very feminine women.
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