The Truth Behind David Bowie's Eyes

David Bowie was an iconoclast, a cultural monolith, and, with the help of those leggings that he wore in Labyrinth, the source of a lot of confusing new stirrings in the coming-of-age stories of many Gen Xers. On top of his already remarkable talent, he also possessed a unique appearance that drew in audiences. His slim, androgynous build and constantly ch-ch-ch-ch-changing fashion sensibilities kept onlookers off guard, but most iconic of all were his one of a kind eyes. 

Even today, looking at pictures of Bowie evokes a sense of weirdness. His eyes seemed to be two different colors, adding to his mystique. Speaking of "Mystique," heterochromia is a mutation (or, as James McAvoy put it in the waning hours of the X-Men franchise's financial viability, "a very groovy mutation") which results in two irises of distinctly different colors. However, despite what all the gossip says, heterochromia has nothing to do with why the Thin White Duke looked the way he did. No, the story of David Bowie's distinctive eyes begins the same way as all great stories: "So, there was this girl ..."

Rebel rebel, your face is a mess

According to Who Magazine, the whole thing started in 1962. 

David Bowie, who was 15 at the time, was enamored with a particular young lady. So was his friend, George Underwood. As is dictated by the rules of honor — and teenage testosterone levels — the two wound up in a fight, and Underwood landed a blow directly to Bowie's left eyeball. A four-month hospitalization and several surgeries later, Bowie was left with a condition called anisocoria, in which his left pupil was left paralyzed in a permanently dilated state. This condition often caused the illusion that he had two differently colored irises.

As for Underwood, you might think that his shockingly well-aimed shot would have killed any potential for the future of his friendship with the future Mister Stardust. But this was a simpler time, when knocking the symmetry off of a guy's face didn't mean you couldn't still be buddies. The Independent reports that the two remained friendly, and even collaborated on musical projects down the line.