Michael J. Fox and his wife, Tracy Pollan, are about to reach a significant landmark. Having met in the 1980s while filming Family Ties, the happy pair will soon be celebrating 35 years of marriage this coming July.
Fox tells ET’s Brooke Anderson, “It’s been a fascinating life,” in a forthcoming interview on their friendship and the upcoming A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Cure Parkinson’s event. The Oct. 29 New York City event will be a night of comedy and music hosted by the pair and including performances by Jim Gaffigan, Samantha Bee, Brad Paisley, and more. The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research will get all of the event’s proceeds.
“She’s smart and she loves me and she’s protective and she’s everything,” Fox gushed of his longtime love. Together, the couple shares four children — son Sam, 33; twin daughters Schuyler and Aquinnah, 27 and daughter Esme, 20.
“The kids are great and it’s her fault,” he cracks. “It has nothing to do with me.”
At the young age of 29, Fox was given a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in 1991. Since then, he has raised an incredible $1.5 billion for cancer research and awareness campaigns over the last two decades. Though there’s always something fresh to work on, Fox says he’s “fine” now at age 61.
“I don’t think there’s anything like a typical day at all, ever,” he shares. “Not to get too heavy about it, my health issues have given me every different day, so it’s been how I deal with that. It can be different but consistently, it’s good. I mean, I love my family, I love my work, I love my situation, I’m happy.”
Thinking of “the alternative” is what keeps him positive.
“The alternative isn’t good,” he muses, “so, no, I just love life and it’s a matter of acceptance. The more you accept, the more you are grateful for it, because you see the contrast between what’s good and what’s not and what you have in your life. My family, my career and the people I meet every day.”
Fox claims that his wife affectionately refers to him as “Mr. Mayor” because of his propensity to strike up conversations with strangers all across New York City. He credits his passion for helping others as the driving force behind the success of his nonprofit organisation.
“It’s so humbling to have started this more than 20 years ago in 2000 with the idea of advancing research in Parkinson’s, finding a cure, hopefully, and what we discovered along the way is that you can’t do anything without the patients,” he says. “For so long, the patients were the neglected part of the process and it happens in all kinds of disease studies and disease research, that they tend to hurry past the patient to try to find the answer.”
He continues, “I’m an actor, I’m like a goofball and I stumbled into this situation — not that anyone wanted to design for themselves — but I recognized it immediately as a real opportunity. All these people coming to me, relaying their stories and identifying with mine — and empathy and sympathy all combined … We don’t get this opportunity very often. So I do my best to seize it and grab some people that were smart, and we launched into it.”