Michael J Fox Covers Good Housekeeping October 2013
During his Q&A session with the publication, the “Back to the Future” actor chatted about his struggles with Parkinson’s and his family’s reaction to his return to television.
Check out a few highlights from Mr. Fox’s interview below. For more, be sure to visit Good Housekeeping!
On his fight against Parkinson’s:
“It’s very subjective, your experience with this condition. I’ve had it for 20 years now. The rate at which I’m finding ways to cope with it, to medicate it, and to apply exercise and positive thinking to it has surpassed its own march toward awfulness. I’m ahead of it. It’s a presence, and it’s there, and it takes a toll. Like I’ve said, it’s the gift that keeps on taking. But it’s not enough to stop me from living my life, and I’ve managed to outperform it to this day. Someone asked me why I was doing the show, and I said, ‘Why can’t I?’ My message is this: You know your situation. Don’t way I want to. And it is funny. Certainly there are things that are very hard about it, and this disease takes a terrible toll on people. But on the other hand, it’s funny: the idea that my character is passing a spoonful of scrambled eggs—he’s trying to prove a point to himself about what he can do—and his family is hungry and they just want to eat. I mean, that’s funny. I look at life with humor and say, ‘What’s the good in this? What’s the best I can take from this?’ And usually the best I can take out of a situation is what makes me laugh. The show is as much about anyone who deals with any hardship or challenge as it is about a guy who has Parkinson’s. I really believe, let it be what it let others project onto you what they think you should be feeling. By judging my experience, I just thought, I’m ready to do this."
On his family:
"The kids were growing up. My two middle daughters just graduated from high school, and my son is out of college and he’s working. My little one is 11, but she’s very independent—I get a lot from the time I spend with her, and she gets a lot from the time she spends by herself. So it was a good time in that sense."
On his handle on Hollywood:
"A life well lived is demanding and exhausting and tiring; it was already that way without the element of work, so you could say that this job could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back—but it could also be the needle in a haystack; it just gets lost in the mass of everything else. And there’s the enjoyment that it gives me. It’s structured differently than, say, ‘Spin City,’ where I was much more hands-on. There, I was involved in hiring the wardrobe people and in negotiating with the crew and with the network to get budgets approved. Now I’m much more passive on those things, so I’m not dealing with the frustrating, energy-sapping stuff…being nibbled to death by ducks. I’m duck-repellent now."
On his marriage:
"It depends on who it’s tough for. When we have fights, it’s usually one or the other of us saying, ‘I can’t believe you’re not letting me off the hook here. Let me off the hook.’ And we do let each other off the hook. That’s all you have to say: ‘You’re not acknowledging that I’m doing the best I can.’ I say that because that’s rare— 90 percent of the time, it’s, ‘I know you’re doing the best you can. And I’m doing the best I can.’ You know, raising four kids has not been an extra challenge because of my situation; it’s a challenge because it’s just a freaking challenge! It’s hard, and we don’t have to make things any harder just to prove a point or to set one of us up to be the hero. In a happy marriage, there are no heroes. It’s gotta be a team all the way."
Photo Credit: Good Housekeeping