Michael J. Fox wouldn’t have blamed wife Tracy Pollan if she had decided to leave him following his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.
“At any time she would have been forgiven to say, ‘I’m just gonna step out.’ But, she didn’t do that,” Fox, 62, said during a Thursday, November 9, appearance on CBS Mornings. “She had indicated to me by saying in 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.”
He added, “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 Back to the Future star received his diagnosis in 1991, three years after he married Pollan, 63. The pair met while working together on season 4 of Family Ties, where Pollan played Ellen Reed, the love interest of Fox’s Alex P. Keaton. They sparked a romance three years later when they reunited on the big screen for their 1988 film Bright Lights, Big City. In July, the couple celebrated 35 years of marriage.
“It’s been great for me, I don’t know how it is for her,” Fox joked about the duo’s decades-long romance, noting that Pollan maintaining an identity outside of his career and health battles is likely a key to maintaining a healthy relationship.
“I love Tracy obviously and she’s an amazing person and has gone through a lot,” he said. “I realize she has a life separate from me having Parkinson’s, from me being Alex Keaton or Marty McFly, she’s a person. I think that’s why it’s gone OK.”
As the twosome have continued to navigate Fox’s health challenges, they’ve also expanded their family. They share children Sam, 33, twins Schuyler and Aquinnah, both 28, and Esmé, 21.
In May, Fox released his documentary, Still, in which he recalled his young acting career and detailed his battle with Parkinson’s over the past 30 years. Fox also touched on the beginning of his love story with Pollan in the series, sharing that he “fell in love” with her after she proved she wasn’t afraid to mess with him — but admitted it took him a second to appreciate her.
“I was a bit of a d—k,” he said of his response after Pollan called him a “total f—king ahole” for pointing out her garlic breath. “She was joking, but I didn’t get it because no one would ever joke with me like that. I was never the butt of any jokes.”
Throughout their relationship. Pollan has supported Fox in his Parkinson’s advocacy efforts, serving on the board of directors of his Michael J. Fox Foundation since 2000. In March, a source exclusively told Us Weekly that the actress has been her husband’s “biggest cheerleader” since learning of his diagnosis.
“If anything it brought them closer together,” the insider shared at the time. “Seeing how Tracy stepped up and helped in every way, she could [make] Michael fall in love with her more and he enjoys showering her with love and gifts these days.”
While speaking with CBS Mornings on Thursday, Fox confessed that while the battle against Parkinson’s — for which there is no cure — remains difficult, optimism is what keeps him moving forward.
“Positivity is really sincere and I really feel good and it’s genuine,” he said. “But it’s hard fought and it’s hard won I should say. This fear, we can find ways to just give ourselves a break, give ourselves credit for getting through life, on life’s journeys. In order to do that, you have to stop and say, ‘It’s not that bad.’”