Who Were David Bowie’s Parents? Did He Have Siblings?

Directed by Brett Morgen, HBO Max’s ‘Moonage Daydream’ allows viewers a unique insight into the life of music legend David Jones, more famously known as David Bowie. From his musical talents to eye-catching styling choices, there were many things that helped him garner the love and attention of the world. While many are intimately familiar with David’s musical career, people are also quite curious about his family life, especially his parents and siblings.

Peggy and John Jones: Bowie’s Parents

David Bowie was born on January 8, 1947, to Margaret Mary “Peggy” Jones and Haywood Stenton “John” Jones. The musician’s mother, Peggy, was born at Shorncliffe Army Camp Kent, England, on October 2, 1913. She was a woman of Irish descent as her father’s parents had moved to Manchester, England, from Ireland several years ago. Peggy had several sisters, including Pat, Nora, and Vivienne. Her family history suggests a genetic pattern of schizophrenia, and it is believed that Nora and Vivienne also exhibited signs of the same, which increased due to the blitz bombings in World War II.

On the other hand, John was born on November 21, 1912, and hailed from Doncaster, England. He was a promotions officer for Barnardo’s, an English children’s charity. At the time of David’s birth, John was married to Hilda Sullivan but obtained a divorce on August 11, 1947. This was followed by John and Peggy getting married on September 12, 1947. The latter was a cinema waitress in Royal Tunbridge Wells, England.

According to David’s cousin Kristina Amadeus, his parents wholeheartedly believe in his skills as a musician. “David’s parents, especially his father, ‘John’ Jones, encouraged him from the time he was a toddler. His mother, Peggy, spoke often of our deceased grandfather, who was a bandmaster in the army and played many wind instruments,” she shared. “Although Uncle John never lived to see David’s huge success, he was convinced it would become a reality. My beloved David fulfilled and exceeded all his father’s dreams.”

During David’s initial years as a successful musician, he and his mother drifted apart. John passed away on August 5, 1969, seemingly due to pneumonia, and the distance between the mother and son kept on increasing. However, they reconciled after David’s marriage to Iman in 1992. Peggy, too, passed away on April 2, 2001, and her loss was deeply grieved by her son.

Inside Bowie’s Sibling Relationships

Terry Burns, David’s half-brother, was born about ten years before him when Peggy was still unwed. The norms of the society at the time looked down upon a single mother, and Terry was mostly raised by his maternal grandmother, Margaret Burns until Terry started to live with David’s family after Peggy’s marriage. As explained in the HBO Max documentary, Terry was someone that David looked up to during his younger years.

Terry Burns

In fact, Terry has been credited as the person who made David interested in the field of music and helped him find his love for jazz, Buddhism, and so many more things. However, Terry was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was often admitted to various mental health institutes during his life. His hallucinations made David skeptical regarding his own mental health issues, as the artist always remained vigilant regarding his own possible diagnosis for the same. Unfortunately, Terry Burns passed away in 1985 due to suicide after he fled the Cane Hill mental institute.

Apart from his well-known brother, David is also believed to have two sisters. Annette Jones was apparently born in 1941. Though her father was indeed John, her mother was not married to him. In fact, reports suggest that it was Hilda who raised Annette as she herself did not have any children. Meanwhile, Peggy is said to have had a daughter named Mary Ann Burns though not much is known about her.

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