Almost 40 years ago, a vampire movie brought two major celebrities together in a romantic but doomed relationship. After starring in 1983’s The Hunger, Susan Sarandon and David Bowie dated, but the relationship came to an end because he wanted to have children and she believed that she was unable to due to her endometriosis. Sarandon hasn’t spoken much publicly about Bowie or their romance, but in a new interview with the UK’s You magazine, she shared her final memories of Bowie and the time they spent together not long before his 2016 death. Read on to see what the actor had to say about those last encounters, including a phone call with the musician that she initially thought was a dream
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Sarandon and Bowie fell in love on set.
Sarandon and Bowie starred alongside Catherine Deneuve in The Hunger, a horror movie about a love triangle between two vampires and a doctor. Their relationship began when they met on the film but ended because they were looking for different things out of life at that time. “That was a really interesting period,” Sarandon told The Daily Beast in 2014. “I wasn’t supposed to have kids, and I’m the oldest of nine and had mothered all of them, so I wasn’t ever in a mode to where I was looking to settle down and raise a family, so that definitely changes the gene pool you’re dipping into.”
They stayed friends after breaking up.
When Sarandon was asked by You if she and Bowie kept in touch, she responded, “Yeah. Not that we hung out a lot—he had a number of health issues to deal with—but we did.” She added, “I was fortunate enough to be closer to him right before he died, the last couple of months. He did find me again. We talked to each other and said some things that needed to be said. I was so fortunate to be able to see him when he told me what was going on with him.”
Bowie died in January 2016 of liver cancer, which he had been diagnosed with 18 months earlier. He was 69 years old.
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They saw each other and spoke on the phone just prior to his death.
Sarandon, who is now 75, told You that the last time she saw Bowie in person was at the premiere of his musical Lazarus, which debuted at the end of 2015. They then spoke on the phone while Sarandon was on the Greek Island Lesbos for her work with the refugee crisis there.
“That was the toughest thing I’ve ever done: a never-ending stream of desperation with no recourse and no way to fix it,” she explained. “The camps were horrific. I wasn’t sleeping and I knew that I had to get up early to start meeting the boats as they came in, so I took some Ambien, a pretty strong sleep aid. And I had this dream that David had called me and that we’d had this conversation and as I hung up I thought [in the dream]: ‘Nobody’s going to believe me, that David Bowie called me in Lesbos.'”
When she was feeling more awake, she couldn’t help wondering if he actually had called her. “I went to my phone and he had,” Sarandon said. “I have no recollection of what that conversation was. He died a week later. It’s all so frustrating. There was a double rainbow in New York on the day that David Bowie passed.”
Sarandon is still in touch with Bowie’s widow.
Bowie married supermodel Iman in 1992, and they welcomed a daughter, Lexi Jones, in 2000. Bowie also has a son, Duncan Jones, from his first marriage to actor and writer Angie Bowie.
“I love his wife Iman, someone who was so equal in stature [to him],” Sarandon told You. “That was clearly who he was destined to be with. I was so happy that she was with him through all of that. And I’ve kept in touch with her.”
Sarandon also went on to have children of her own. Her daughter, Eva Amurri, with director Franco Amurri, was born in 1985. The pregnancy came as a surprise to the Thelma & Louise star. “When I was told I couldn’t have children without operations [because of endometriosis], I thought: ‘That’s OK. There are so many kids in my family.’ I never felt that’s what I needed to complete me. So I went years without using birth control.” Speaking about her reaction to getting pregnant after what doctors had told her, Sarandon said, “It’s a miracle!” The actor then had two more children, sons Jack and Miles Robbins, with actor Tim Robbins.
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