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Thursday, 14 March, 2002, 17:34 GMT
Actor Fox reveals Parkinson's misery
Michael J Fox
Fox won a Golden Globe in 2000 for Spin City
Hollywood actor Michael J Fox has spoken about the extent to which Parkinson's disease has affected his life, saying it almost destroyed his marriage after he turned to drink.

In his autobiography, the Spin City star, 40, describes the effects of the debilitating illness and how he managed to get his life back together.

He says on learning he was ill, he turned to alcohol to try and shut out the physical and mental pain.


The distance that my behaviour was opening up between me and my young family frightened me

Michael J Fox
It was this that almost broke up his long marriage to actress Tracy Pollan, the mother of his four children.

Fox, star of Back to the Future, announced in 1998 he had been suffering from Parkinson's Disease since 1991.

Lucky Man

He quit his lucrative role in Spin City and become an ardent campaigner for research into a cure, including controversial human cloning and stem cell studies.

His autobiography, Lucky Man, serialised in the US People magazine, revealed how he thought his reaction to the disease would spell the end of his marriage.

He said the drinking got so bad that he would get out of bed after his wife had fallen asleep and carry on drinking.

"The distance that my behaviour was opening up between me and my young family frightened me," he said.

Michael J Fox and Tracey Pollan
Fox and his wife Tracy have four children
"But in June of 1992, in a moment of clarity, something I can now attribute only to grace, I'd decide to put a stop to it."

But quitting alcohol was not the end of his problems and he sought the help of a psychiatrist to help him deal with his emotions better and avoid alienating his family.

"It was bad enough that I had allowed Parkinson's disease to own me, but my silence - cutting my wife and family off from the experience - had made them slaves to it as well," he said.

Fox also talks about the progressive deterioration of his health, the worst times being when his medication wears off.

"I'm relatively loose and fluid, my mind clear and my movements under control.

"I experience the full panoply of classic Parkinsonian symptoms: rigidity, shuffling, tremors, lack of balance, diminished small motor control," he added.

See also:

26 Nov 98 | Medical notes
Parkinson's Disease
24 May 00 | Entertainment
Fox launches Parkinson's drive
19 Jan 00 | Entertainment
Fox quits Spin City
30 Sep 99 | Entertainment
Fox pleads for Parkinson's funding
04 Dec 98 | Entertainment
Fox defiant about disease
26 Nov 98 | Entertainment
Star reveals fight against Parkinson's
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