Besides being famous for his iconic role in the “Back to The Future” franchise, Michael J. Fox was also well-known for being an optimist. After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he also became an activist.
He’s spent most of his life building awareness about the illness. In late October 2022, Michael was interviewed by People magazine, where he also posed for a photoshoot and entertained the crew.
Despite his struggles of living with the diagnosis, which could probably dampen anyone’s mood, the star was able to play air guitar. as he posed! The publication noted how the actor was in a “playful mood” that day in New York, with him stating:
“I’m rocking and rolling.”
Things haven’t always been smooth for Michael, who chronicled “the worst year of his life” in his 2020 memoir. The actor’s health issues began in 2018 when he had a dangerous spinal-cord surgery and needed a procedure to remove a tumor.
He then suffered a broken left arm before all went well as he recovered and went on a safari to Africa with his actress wife, Tracy Pollan, and their four children. In 2021, the star faced more health problems, with him confessing how worse it got, saying:
“I broke my cheek, then my hand, then my shoulder, had a replacement shoulder put in and broke my [right] arm, then I broke my elbow. I’m 61 years old, and I’m feeling it a little bit more.”
The actor’s diagnosis affected his movements, but those close to him explained that his injuries didn’t mean the disease progressed more quickly. After breaking his hand, Michael got an infection after surgery.
Being unable to use his hand temporarily led to his issues with balancing and falls. The star admitted that the painful incidents dampened his positive outlook, and he got “cranky and short” with people despite not being that person.
However, when he noticed his mood changes, he tried stopping them. He thought of his aides and how he’d often told them that whatever he said, they should imagine him saying “please” at the start and “thank you” at the end.
Michael asked for the absorption of the idea of him possibly saying those words if he’d been his usual self despite him not having done that. However, he did note when he didn’t tell them and apologized.
Recovering lifted him emotionally as he explained how he’d just started healing from his last injury, with his arm feeling great. He said life was interesting and noticed how it dealt him things, but his mission was simple:
“Don’t fall down. So whatever works to not fall down.”
Luckily for his wife, even when facing his most challenging time, Pollan described him as one of the kindest people he’d ever met. The actress, who’d been married to Michael for 34 years in October 2022, credited his upbringing for how he “almost always” looked at situations and those involved.
He would think about those people before himself. The continued love and support he received from his adoring family probably kept him going all these years.
The Support Michael Received from His Family
Michael’s son, Sam, 33 in 2022, helped oversee his father’s social media account. In a past “Graham Norton Show” appearance, the actor recalled how someone on Twitter had said something mean about his diagnosis.
The star usually let such things slide cause they didn’t happen often, but in that instance, he wanted to respond to the troll. He asked Sam’s advice, who told him to “Do SMH,” and when Michael wanted to understand what that was, his son urged him to trust him.
After sending the reply, the troll told the actor that it was the “funniest thing” he’d ever read and dubbed Michael the “king of the internet” before apologizing. Confused, the actor asked Sam what he’d made him say, and the eldest Fox child hilariously told his father the acronym stood for “Shaking my head!”
Sam Michael, born on May 30, 1989, was his father’s mini-me. He didn’t follow his parent’s career choices like his twin sisters, Schuyler Frances and Aquinnah Kathleen, born on February 15, 1995, and 27 in 2022.
The Fox twins stayed out of the limelight but once in a while; they attended red-carpet events with their parents. The family’s lastborn daughter, Esmé Annabelle, was welcomed on November 3, 2001, and was 21 in 2022.
At age 18, she went off to college, leaving her parents as empty nesters. Michael has been blessed to have a fantastic family and a wife who stuck by his side even after she learned about his diagnosis.
The Woman Who Kept Choosing Michael despite His Diagnosis
Pollan and Michael met on the “Family Ties” set when she played his onscreen girlfriend, Ellen. The duo was apart for a few years until they were reunited by work again on the set of “Bright Lights, Big City.”
Michael [J. Fox] said the support he received from his wife [Tracy Pollan] made him feel like a husband, father, and friend first before he was someone with Parkinson’s.
The pair began dating, and on July 16, 1988, the two tied the knot at Arlington, Vermont’s West Mountain Inn. Pollan was born on June 22, 1960, in Long Island, New York, into a Russian-Jewish family.
She graduated from Manhattan, New York’s Dalton School before studying acting at the Herbert Berghof Studio and the Lee Strasberg Institute. Michael’s wife has appeared in theater, television films, and shows like “Law & Order,” “Spin City,” and “Medium.”
In 2020, it had been 30 years since Sam’s father confessed to his wife that he had Parkinson’s at age 29. The “No Time Like the Future” author recalled to Sunday Today that he hadn’t known what to expect when he told her, emotionally adding:
“One of the things I’ll always love Tracy for is that at that moment, she didn’t blink.”
Speaking to People magazine in 2020, Michael said the support he received from his wife made him feel like a husband, father, and friend first before he was someone with Parkinson’s. The actor shared that he loved his life.
He also noted how he loved being with his family and Pollan. Michael, who told People in 2022, “I’m just getting to where I’m walking steadily again,” revealed that he loved not doing many useless things like he used to because he didn’t have the energy or the time.