Today, we know Tom Ford as a fashion icon and film director who's received too many accolades to count. He may be the toast of the industry now, with famous fans like Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, and Gigi Hadid, to name a few, but as it turns out, the Texan-born designer wasn’t always in with the in-crowd. During an appearance on The Jess Cagle Interview, Ford revealed he was subjected to some pretty extreme bullying while growing up in pre-liberal Austin. "When I was in the second grade I didn’t want to carry a book bag, I carried an attaché case," Ford told Jess Cagle, People and Entertainment Weekly’s editorial director. This wasn't exactly a hit with his classmates, though. "Of course I was tortured. I was absolutely tortured." Favoring fashion over football from a young age, Ford recounted uncomfortable memories of physical and emotional abuse by his peers who couldn't accept that not all little boys were interested in football and BB guns. "It has taken me a long time to come to terms with the fact that actually there's a lot of pain associated with those moments in life where you didn't feel safe and you felt vulnerable in a way that felt dangerous," he said. "I think I shoved them to the back of my mind and didn't confront them, and I think they're very present." And these memories very much manifest themselves in his adulthood. "You remember being chased by other kids to get out to your car, before they could grab you and beat you up, to your mom who was waiting for you," Ford recalled. "I still sometimes feel that nervousness, which sounds silly coming from a grown man, but I think those things are always with you." Despite these instances, Ford describes having a happy childhood, his home serving as a safe haven from elementary-school bullies. The now 55-year-old credits his parents for creating a loving environment for him when he needed it most. "They absolutely believed in helping me become whoever I was meant to become," he explained. For Ford, that meant showing a luxe sensibility early on. "I think you’re born the way you’re going to be, and I came out dressed in a little blazer and little loafers," he joked — because Ford is never not chic. Watch the full interview over at People.