Tom Ford’s ‘love at first sight’ fairytale with late husband Richard Buckley, who has died aged 72

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It was love at first sight for Tom Ford and his husband Richard Buckley, who sadly died on Sunday (19 September) aged 72.

A representative for Tom Ford confirmed that his husband Buckley died from “natural causes after a prolonged illness” at home.

“It is with great sadness that Tom Ford announces the death of his beloved husband of 35 years, Richard Buckley,” a statement read. “Richard passed away peacefully at their home in Los Angeles last night with Tom and their son Jack by his side.”

The couple were devoted to each other from the moment they met in 1986; decades later, Ford, 60, said he could still “vividly” remember the moment he first set eyes on Buckley and knew he would spend the rest of his life with him.

“It was literally one of those things. It was literally love at first sight,” the designer and filmmaker recalled in a 2016 appearance on The Jess Cagle Interview.

“The first time I can remember seeing his eyes it freaked me out. I really could almost not look at him. There was something in his eyes that said: ‘Literally, the rest of your life.’ It was wonderful, but very scary.”

That fateful first meeting actually happened by chance in an elevator at a fashion show held by a mutual friend on New Year’s Eve.

“I am an intuitive person – but also a rational person,” Ford said. “We were in an elevator and we went down about 10 floors and Richard was patting his eyes and talking a lot.

“And I remember just sort of standing back and looking him up and down, taking him in, and by the time that elevator landed on the ground floor I was like: ‘You’re the one; that’s it; Click! Sold.’

“Our eyes locked and within a month we were living together and we have been together ever since.”

Tom Ford Richard Buckley
Tom Ford Richard Buckley

Ford and Buckley would spend the next 35 years at each others’ side, sharing homes in London, New York and Santa Fe.

Three years after their relationship began Buckley underwent surgery for throat cancer, but their relationship remained strong throughout.

In September 2012 they welcomed a son, Alexander John Buckley Ford, who was born via surrogate. The couple were wed two years later, shortly after same-sex marriage was legalised in the US.

Ford reflected on the secret to their happiness ahead of their 30th anniversary in 2016.

“First of all, you have to respect each other,” he told Vogue. “If the person you are with is someone you respect who you believe has a great heart and a great soul – as good a heart and soul as you will ever find – don’t ever leave them, because you won’t ever find anyone better.

“So even if you have an argument or a fight or there are moments – even years – that can be tough (I don’t mean extended periods of years, but you know we all go through moments in life), stick it out, work at it – as long as it is someone you respect and admire and you are kindred spirits – because you won’t find a better one. Hold on.”

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