Tom Ford was a shy 25-year-old when he met magazine editor Richard Buckley. It took him the length of an elevator ride to decide he wanted to marry him.
Tom Ford takes to the cover of Out’s February issue, enjoying an intimate kiss with his longtime partner, Richard Buckley. The portrait kicks off an issue dedicated to love, in which a series of striking photographs and stories celebrate gay couples and families, including artist Julie Mehretu and Jessica Rankin, Grizzly Bear musician Ed Droste and Chad McPhail, photographer Catherine Opie and her family of five, and supermodel Tasha Tilberg and Laura Wilson.
In an accompanying first-person story, Ford recalls riding on an elevator with Buckley in 1986, 10 days after first spotting him at a fashion show. “I decided in that elevator ride that I was going to marry him. He ticked every box, and—boom—by the time we got to the floor, I was like, sold. He seemed so together. He was so handsome, he was so connected, he was so grown-up, so he was very intimidating. And he really chased me—not that he had to chase that hard.”
In the same piece Ford also recalls how AIDS overshadowed their burgeoning relationship. “One of the very first people to be diagnosed with what was then called gay cancer, in 1981, was a friend of mine. It completely flipped me out, and from then on, I was extremely safe. It probably saved my life, but it damaged the way I think about sex forever. You just associated sex with death—or at least, I did. If I made a list, I would say that half of our friends from the early ’80s are no longer with us.”
[ KEEP READING: Tom Ford & Richard Buckley Cover Out's Love Issue ]