David Bowie facts: Legendary singer's age, wife, children and eyes explained

21 May 2021, 17:29 | Updated: 8 February 2022, 16:56

David Bowie
David Bowie. Picture: Getty

David Bowie was a true icon of music and pop culture, from his Ziggy Stardust beginnings to his Blackstar goodbye.

He was a leading individual in the music industry for decades, and is now regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century.

David Bowie was particularly known for his groundbreaking material during the 1970s, and he was known by his near-constant reinvention and visual projects. He sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

In the UK alone, he scored 11 number one albums (so far), and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

Among his most famous songs include 'Space Oddity', 'Starman', 'Ashes to Ashes', 'Fame', 'Changes', 'Heroes', 'Let's Dance' and 'Under Pressure' with Queen.

He even made a name for himself in Hollywood, appearing in films such as Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, Labyrinth and The Prestige among others.

Bowie's final live performance was at a charity event in 2006, and following a return to form with two highly-praised albums, he passed away in 2016, aged 69.

But where was David Bowie born and how big was his family? Here's all the important facts about the late musician:

  1. Where was David Bowie born and who were his parents?

    Ricky Gervais on his hero and friend David Bowie

    David Bowie was born on January 8, 1947.

    Real name David Robert Jones, David was born in Brixton, London.

    Read more: 10 inspirational quotes from David Bowie

    His mother, Margaret Mary 'Peggy' (née Burns, 1913-2001), was born at Shorncliffe Army Camp near Cheriton, Kent. She worked as a waitress at a cinema in Royal Tunbridge Wells.

    His father, Haywood Stenton 'John' Jones (1912-1969), was from Doncaster, Yorkshire, and worked as a promotions officer for the children's charity Barnardo's.

    In 1953, David moved with his family to Bickley and then Bromley Common, before settling in Sundridge Park in 1955.

  2. Who was David Bowie's wife and how many children did he have?

    David and Angie Bowie in 1973
    David and Angie Bowie in 1973. Picture: Getty
    David Bowie and son Duncan in 2009
    David Bowie and son Duncan in 2009. Picture: Getty

    David Bowie married his first wife, Mary Angela Barnett, aka Angie Bowie, in 1970, and they had an open marriage.

    Angela later said: "We got married so that I could [get a permit to] work. I didn't think it would last and David said, before we got married, 'I'm not really in love with you' and I thought that's probably a good thing."

    David Bowie and Iman
    David Bowie and Iman. Picture: Getty
    David Bowie's daughter Lexi Jones pays tribute to late father on what would have been his 74th birthday.
    David Bowie's daughter Lexi Jones pays tribute to late father on what would have been his 74th birthday. Picture: Instagram / @_p0odle_

    Their son Duncan was born in 1971, and was at first known as Zowie. Bowie and Angela divorced in 1980, and he received custody of their son.

    Read more: How David Bowie met Iman: Matchmaker recalls night "lonely" star met his soulmate

    Duncan Jones is now a famous film director, best known for directing the films Moon (2009), Source Code (2011) and Warcraft (2016).

    In 1992, Bowie married Somali-American model Iman in a private ceremony in Lausanne.

    They had one daughter, Alexandria 'Lexi' Zahra Jones, born in August 2000.

  3. What happened to David Bowie's eyes?

    David Bowie
    David Bowie. Picture: Getty

    David Bowie had a serious injury at school in 1962, when his friend George Underwood punched him in the left eye during a fight over a girl.

    After several operations and a four-month hospitalisation, his doctors stated that the damage could not be fully repaired, and Bowie was left with faulty depth perception and anisocoria, leading to a permanently dilated pupil.

    Read more: David Bowie's 20 greatest ever songs, ranked

    This gave a false look of a change in the iris's colour, not due to having heterochromia iridum (when one iris a different colour to the other.

    His eye later became one of Bowie's most recognisable features.

    Bowie stayed on good terms with Underwood, who later created the artwork for Bowie's early albums.

  4. When did David Bowie pass away?

    David Bowie Remembered
    David Bowie Remembered. Picture: Getty

    On January 10, 2016, two days after his 69th birthday and the release of the album Blackstar, David Bowie died from liver cancer in his New York City apartment.

    Bowie had been diagnosed 18 months earlier, but had not gone public with his illness.

    Read more: David Bowie's last public performance is beautiful and heartbreaking to watch

    The singer had insisted that he did not want a funeral, and he was cremated in New Jersey on January 12.

    As stated in his will, his ashes were scattered in a Buddhist ceremony in Bali, Indonesia.