We may think we know Tom Ford, the impeccably well-dressed fashion designer who seems to handle anything that comes his way. His upcoming film, Nocturnal Animals (which he wrote, directed, produced and financed), was recently purchased for $20 million in a distribution rights bidding war. And just a couple weeks ago, he accepted the CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year Award. Yet in an recent interview, the 53-year-old not only dishes on life with husband Richard Buckley and their two-year-old son Jack, but some of his darkest days battling alcoholism and depression—specifically after his 2004 departure as creative director of Gucci. From home life to some of his biggest misperceptions, take a peek into Ford’s incredibly honest thoughts below.
On his fatherhood experience: “Meditative…it’s stress that’s not about you. It’s stress worrying and thinking about your child, which takes your mind off your work or what you were doing that day or what such-and-such said that pissed you off because you’re thinking about your kid. It’s a break from yourself.”
On home life: “Our house is covered in plastic toys. I cannot believe it! I mean, I used to just live for decorating. Our houses were flawless… I think for some gay men, their houses become their children. It was that case for me, but I just don’t care as much any more.”
On his morning dress routine: “This old dirty suit! I literally just pick up the suit from the night before and put it on. Sometimes I have another uniform—jeans, a jean shirt and a different jacket—and it’s one or the other of those outfits. I used to make more of an effort in the mornings but I don’t any more.”
On diet and exercise: “Working out has just gone away. In two and a half years I have not worked out once! I really watch what I eat and I’m lucky genetically, I think, too. There may be a pack of Percy Pigs during the day or a couple of doughnuts, or if I’m in America, Hostess Donettes—those cheap little white powdery things. I mean, if I even see them, I have to eat the pack! So there’s junk layered on top of a really healthy diet.”
On his struggles with alcoholism: “I became quite depressed. When you’re depressed you drink more and when you drink more you get more depressed. And along with the drinks there were drugs. And when you have that kind of high you also have that kind of low. And I didn’t have a child and I didn’t have — y’know for a couple of years — a career. My life…I honestly don’t think I’d be alive if I hadn’t stopped drinking.”
On life after drinking: “Sometimes I’d say to my friends, ‘I think I have a drinking problem’ and they’d say, ‘Oh, you don’t have a drinking problem! Have another drink!’ Once I stopped drinking I found this clarity, which can be painful for a while but my life has just fallen into place. I built a business, made a movie, had a child, I’m making another movie.”
On his life behind the scenes: “I’m a very shy person. You probably won’t believe that, but I really, really, really, really, really am. I do not like big parties. I like dinner with six or four good friends or one-on-ones. Most people think I lead a very different life. They see me in a retouched photo selling perfume, or in a magazine, and probably think that I am drinking and girls are lying around my house naked and we’re doing a lot of drugs. But really I’m at home having dinner with Richard and Jack and we’re probably going to watch television after dinner and I’m going to be in bed by 10 PM or 10:30 PM.”