Michael J. Fox rose to prominence in the 1980s with roles in “Back to the Future” and “Family Ties.” Aside from his fame as a film star, the now-retired actor is also well-known for his involvement in Parkinson’s disease advocacy.
Fox has been suffering from Parkinson’s disease for decades, after experiencing symptoms of early-onset Parkinson’s disease while filming “Doc Hollywood.” in 1991. He was diagnosed not long after.
The actor was recently awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 13th Annual Governors Award after years of raising awareness and funds for the disease’s research.
Woody Harrelson presented him with the award, noting that despite suffering from the illness for so long, Fox never saw himself as a victim, instead facing his challenges head on and raising over a billion dollars through his foundation.
Harrelson revealed that Fox did not request the role of disease advocate, and yet, despite his many blockbusters, his advocacy role is by far his best performance.
According to Harrelson:
“Michael J. Fox sets the ultimate example of how to fight and how to live.”
Fox received the Oscar statuette amid a lengthy standing ovation, and when he began to speak, he said he might start shaking. He gave an emotional speech thanking his wife of 34 years, Tracy Pollan, for her unwavering support since his diagnosis.
He couldn’t seem to find the right words and fumbled before saying:
“Tracy made it clear she was with me for the duration.”
He shared that he had faced numerous challenges since his diagnosis, but that despite Parkinson’s being a disease that never goes away, it has been a blessing to him. He then called his wife to the stage, saying he couldn’t believe he’d been standing there for so long.
Before returning to their seats, his wife kissed him passionately. Their four children, Sam, twins Schuyler and Aquinnah, and Esme, were also present to see him receive the award.
His Life With His Wife amid His Fight with the Disease
Fox and Tracy have been married since 1988, but their love grows stronger with each passing year. Tracy has never left her husband’s side, even after being diagnosed with the illness only three years into their marriage.
Fox recalls telling his wife about his diagnosis, saying that while they didn’t know what to expect while waiting for the results, all he remembers is Tracy not blinking.
She has remained loyal and by his side all these years later, and Fox appreciates that he is now living his best life because his wife and children have remained supportive and love him just as much.
“My best life now is I enjoy my family so much,” says Fox. “Tracy and the kids are amazing. I know that sounds boring, it sounds like a fairy tale, but we’ve been married thirtysomething years, so we’ve got something figured out.”