Ask a hundred people to name a physical feature of David Bowie and almost all of them will say that he “has different colored eyes”:
Here’s the thing though… Bowie doesn’t have different color eyes. That’s a medical condition called heterochromia iridum, which is usually just shortened to heterochromia. Instead, as the picture above clearly demonstrates, one of his pupils is permanently dilated, a condition known as anisocoria. And the reason his eyes are like that… is because of a girl.
In 1962, when Bowie was 14, he fell for a girl named Carol Goldsmith. Problem was, his best friend, George Underwood, fell for her too.
According to Bowie, he got the date with Goldsmith. The next day, Bowie went to school and bragged to everyone about it, and the jealous Underwood punched him.
According to Underwood, he’d gotten the date with Goldsmith, and Bowie was jealous of him. So Bowie called Underwood on the day of the date and made up some story about how Goldsmith couldn’t make it. Underwood believed him, and made other plans. Goldsmith waited for Underwood for an hour and, of course, was furious when he didn’t show up. So she went out with Bowie instead. When Underwood found out that he’d been double-crossed, he punched Bowie.
Whatever actually happened, Underwood’s punch landed so that his knuckle hit Bowie in the left eye. This badly tore the sphincter muscles in his eye (oh, grow up), preventing the pupil from closing. Doctors were able to save his eye, but the dilation was permanent.
As proof of the old “bros before hos” maxim, Bowie and Underwood remained friends after the incident. Underwood played in a few of Bowie’s early bands, and ended up becoming a graphic designer. He did the covers for Bowie’s Hunky Dory and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars albums, as well as several Bowie posters, flyers and book covers. You can see several of Underwood’s works on his website here.
There are, however, several celebrities that do have heterochromia iridum. Kate Bosworth’s eyes are particularly striking:
English actress Alice Eve’s eyes are two slightly different shades of blue:
Wikipedia also lists Dan Aykroyd, Elizabeth Berkley, Henry Cavill, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey, Jr., Mila Kunis, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Simon Pegg, Jane Seymour, Kiefer Sutherland, Christopher Walken, and Alyson Hannigan as having the condition.
EDIT: Sadly, David Bowie died two years ago. However, I recently found a picture of him, taken at age 14 before the infamous fight, that shows him with identical eyes: