Michael J Fox has made the emotional revelation that if his wife had decided to “step out” of their marriage after struggling to handle his condition, he would have understood.
Talking in a new interview on CBS Mornings, the Back to the Future star explained: “At any time she would have been forgiven to say, ‘I’m just gonna step out’ – but she didn’t do that.”
Attesting to her loyalty over the past three and a half decades, he continued: “She had indicated to me by saying: ‘For better or for worse, in sickness and in health.’ She was able to get me through it, and go through it with me, and she has for 35 years.”
Michael reflected on the uncertainty over his health after being diagnosed at such a young age, telling the world: “We knew the bus was coming and we knew it was going to hit, but we didn’t know how far away it was or how fast it was going.”
The 62-year-old, who didn’t officially retire from acting until 2020, suggested that the reason his marriage had endured could be that Tracy has a “separate” life of her own.
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“I realise she has a life separate from me having Parkinson’s, from me being Alex Keaton or Marty McFly,” he explained, referring to two of his on-screen characters, “[and] I think that’s why it’s gone okay.”
Despite his diagnosis, the couple were able to have four children during their marriage – eldest son Sam Michael, who is 34, twin daughters Aquinnah Kathleen and Schuyler Frances, 28, and baby of the family, Esmé Annabelle, 21.
Continuing to talk of his love for his family, he explained that he lives by the rule that “the absence of fear is faith”.
He has empowered himself by launching the Michael J Fox Foundation, which for the past 23 years has been devoted to research and raising awareness of the often little understood condition.
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The foundation says it has raised $1.75 billion (£1.43 billion) for the cause since it was founded in the year 2000.
In a statement on its website, Michael wrote: “Parkinson’s patients are the experts on what we have.
“We have a responsibility as patients to share our experience – what works for us, what we respond to, what we can contribute to research.”
He made the decision to quit the acting profession aged 58, but has since been honoured with an Academy Award, titled the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, to mark his efforts to find a cure for the disease.
Meanwhile, over on Instagram, he and Tracy sent each other gushing messages to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary together back in July.
“35 years!!! Happy anniversary my love. Here’s to many more glorious adventures together. I could not love you more,” Tracy wrote publicly.
During his CBS interview, the actor also suggested that his wife’s positive energy was “sincere” and “genuine”, but “hard won” – and that he vowed to do his best to enjoy “living life on life’s terms”.
Like Tracy, Michael also showed appreciation for their marriage on Instagram, writing: “35 years of laugher, living, listening and loving you @tracy.pollan. Thank you for it all. Forever yours, Mike.”
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