Michael J Fox and his wife, Tracy Pollan, have been happily married for close to 35 years. Early in their union, they had to face the difficulty of Fox’s Parkinson’s diagnosis. However, over three decades later, they’ve built a family and a life filled with laughter.
Michael J. Fox is a long-time actor who began his career in the 1970s. He rose to fame when he appeared in the TV series, “Family Ties.”Besides his long-standing career, he found the best wife and life partner in actress Tracy Pollan. The two have been married for close to 35 years and have truly stuck to their vows.
The couple has only gotten stronger through sickness and in health and has not let their challenges affect the way they see each other.
They might have made it this far, but at the beginning of their relationship, Pollan was not the biggest fan of Fox. Her first impression of him was that he was full of himself.
Michael J. Fox in Los Angeles in 2009 | Source: Getty Images
But when they got the chance to work together, she saw him in a different light. It turned out Fox was smart and funny, and it only took two weeks of working together for Pollan to see his amazing qualities.
Tracy Pollan and Michael J. Fox in New York in 1999 | Source: Getty Images
The couple eventually wed, but their marriage was put to the test in 1991 when Fox received life-altering news. One morning, Fox’s pinky finger started shaking uncontrollably, so he consulted with a doctor.
A neurologist in Manhattan diagnosed him with young-onset Parkinson’s disease. The actor pulled his wife to an isolated passage and broke the news.
The couple cried and held each other, but Pollan told her husband nothing had changed because he was still the man he was yesterday, and that’s something she did not want them to forget.
Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan in Beverly Hills in 2017 | Source: Getty Images
What Fox is most grateful for is the support of his wife. From the moment he told her about her diagnosis in that hallway, she never saw it as the end of their marriage. To this day, his Parkinson’s disease did not change how she looked at him.
Willie Geist, who interviewed Fox about his book “No Time from the Future” revealed that his father also had Parkinson’s and that it was not the kind of illness one goes through alone.
Therefore, for Fox to have Pollan by his side was a blessing. “It’s really great to have a partner,” acknowledged the “Back to the Future” star.
Tracy Pollan and Michan J. Fox in New York in 2017 | Source: Getty Images
Fox kept his diagnosis private for a while and tried to forget about it by drowning himself in alcohol and taking on as many jobs as possible.
He admitted that it got to a point where he hid bottles from his wife. He drowned his feelings with alcohol and in the process, drifted from his family.
Fox’s drinking problem took a toll on his marriage, and Pollan admitted how scary it was to watch her husband do that to himself. But what she feared the most was what would come out of his addiction.
Tracy Pollan and Michael J. Fox in New York in 2018 | Source: Getty Images
Pollan knew it was not the ideal way to lead a life, especially for someone with children and a wife, but it was up to Fox to make that change.
The epiphany of how much his alcohol addiction affected him and his family came after a night out with his friends. Fox came home, threw himself on the couch, and passed out.
While he slept, a can of beer spilled on the floor, and when he woke up the next day, he found Pollan sitting in front of him with their three-year-old son.
Michael J. Fox in New York in 2019 | Source: Getty Images
As his eyes slowly went around the room, he was too scared to look his wife and kid in the face because he was expecting an angry woman, but he realized, “She wasn’t. She was just bored.”
Before Pollan stormed off, she asked him if this was the kind of life and person he wanted to be. That beer on the floor was the last one Fox ever had. H decided to get sober and turn his life around.
Fox explained, “acceptance isn’t resignation.” So, in 2000, the actor fully embraced his diagnosis and allowed his family to worry about him instead of bottling up everything. He also started the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
Michael J. Fox in New York in 2022 | Source: Getty Images
The actor wanted his foundation to help other initiatives get closer to finding the cure for this illness. Parkinson’s mainly attacks the nervous system, which causes tremors and affects one’s movements.
Another inspiration behind his foundation is how he defied the odds. When Fox went public about his Parkinson’s, he had already been diagnosed for nine years and was told he would be disabled within ten. But after 25 years, he still managed to work.
Thus, Fox realized his foundation could help advance research and treatments to give others a chance to enjoy a long life as well.
The Secret behind Staying Happy for Decades
Pollan and Fox have endured the ups and downs of Fox’s condition. The couple said they have stayed strong by giving each other the benefit of the doubt and only assuming the best of every situation.
People Magazine named Fox one of the kindest people; his wife was there to attest. Pollan credited her husband for being one of the nicest people she had ever met.
She believed his good heart stemmed from how he was raised. The actress said that in any situation, Fox will always ensure other people’s feelings are considered before his.
He has the kind of self-awareness that understands things do not only affect him, so he does his best to put himself in others’ shoes.