Already have an account?
Get back to the

Michael J. Fox Reflects on Mortality Amid Parkinson’s Battle: ‘I’m Not Gonna Be 80’

Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan at SXSW screening of 'Still'
Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan. Photo by Arthur Mola/Shutterstock

Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease is getting more challenging to deal with every day.

“My life is set up so I can pack Parkinson’s along with me if I have to,” the Back to the Future star, 61, confessed to Jane Pauley in a Friday, April 28, preview for his CBS Sunday Mornings sit-down. “Yeah, it’s banging on the door. Yeah, I mean, I’m not gonna lie. It’s gettin’ hard, it’s gettin’ harder. It’s gettin’ tougher. Every day it’s tougher. But that’s the way it is.”

Back to the Future 35th Anniversary Where Are They Now

Related: 'Back to the Future' Cast: Where Are They Now?

Fox, who was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s disease in 1991, further opened up to the 72-year-old journalist about how he’s learned to cope with his diagnosis.

“You don’t die from Parkinson’s. You die with Parkinson’s,” the Family Ties alum said. “So, I’ve been thinking about the mortality of it. … I’m not gonna be 80. I’m not gonna be 80.”

Seven years after Fox found out he had Parkinson’s, he publicly disclosed his health challenges. The Teen Wolf star, who has been married to Tracy Pollan since 1988, has since become a fervent advocate for Parkinson’s research. He went on to launch his eponymous nonprofit, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, to help raise awareness and funding.

1410893946_80s molly ringwald 178

Related: ‘80s Stars: Where Are They Now?

“You deal with the condition, and you deal with people’s perception of the condition,” Fox — who retired from acting in 2020 amid his health battle — told AARP in their March 2017 issue of his diagnosis. “It was easy for me to tune in to the way other people were looking into my eyes and seeing their own fear reflected back. I’d assured them that, ‘I’m doing great’ — because I was. After a while, the disconnect between the way I felt and the dread people were projecting just seemed, you know, funny.”

While the Spin City alum has tried to see the positives in his health struggles, he spoke to Pauley about dealing with recent setbacks.

“I had spinal surgery. I had a tumor on my spine,” Fox revealed in Friday’s clip. “And it was benign, but it messed up my walking. And then, [I] started to break stuff … and I broke this arm, I broke this elbow. I broke my face. I broke my hand, which is a big killer with Parkinson’s. It’s falling … and aspirating food and getting pneumonia. All these subtle ways that gets ya.”

Feature Buzziest Movies From the 2023 Sundance Film Festival

Related: Michael J. Fox's 'Still' and More of the Buzziest Movies From Sundance 2023

Despite his injuries, Fox is determined to continue promoting Parkinson’s research by filming his experience in his forthcoming documentary. Still premieres on Apple TV+ on Friday, May 12.

“I decided to create this documentary for a couple reasons, first bringing awareness to this disease has been very important to me for years and I wanted to continue that work through film,” the Canada native — who shares four children with Pollan, 62exclusively told Us Weekly last month. “The second is for my fans. They, along with my family, [are] the reason I have been able to go on. As I say, my fans gave me life and I wanted to be open about mine.”

In this article

Got a Tip form close button
Got a tip for US?
We're All Ears for Celebrity Buzz!