Michael J. Fox opens up about alcohol abuse: 'I drank to obliterate it, to make it go away'

Michael J. Fox is a self-described "incurable optimist," but his positive outlook on life only came after years of private pain that he fruitlessly tried to ease with alcohol.

Fox was 29 years old and at the height of his career when, unbeknownst to the public, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1992. In his shock and disbelief, "I just thought, ‘This is preposterous that this is happening to me.’ I got this diagnosis, and it freaked me out, and I ran from it," he told Closer Weekly.

Instead of coping in a healthy way, “I responded by drinking too much,” he said. “I drank to obliterate it, to make it go away."

RELATED: See Michael J. Fox and his family through the years

16 PHOTOS
Michael J. Fox and his children at annual Parkinson's gala
See Gallery
Michael J. Fox and his children at annual Parkinson's gala
Sam Michael Fox with mother Tracy Pollan and father Michael J. Fox (Photo by KMazur/WireImage for BWR Public Relations)
Michael J. Fox and Sam Michael Fox at the The Waldorf Astoria Grand Ballroom in New York City, New York (Photo by Djamilla Rosa Cochran/WireImage)
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 1: (R-L) Actor Michael J. Fox, actress Tracy Pollen and Sam Fox attend 'A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's' benefit gala for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers December 1, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Wintrow/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 21: Schuyler Fox, Aquinnah Fox, Michael J. Fox, Tracy Pollan and Sam Fox attend the 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Cure Parkinson's' benefit at The Waldorf Astoria Hotel on November 21, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 12: (L-R) Schuyler Fox, Actor Michael J. Fox and his wife Tracy Pollan, Sam Fox and Aquinnah Fox at the 2011 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's event at The Waldorf=Astoria on November 12, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: (L-R) Schuyler Fox, Sam Fox, Tracy Pollan, Michael J. Fox and Aquinnah Fox on the red carpet at the 2012 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's event at The Waldorf=Astoria on November 10, 2012 in New York City benefitting The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/MJF2012/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: (L-R) Aquinnah Fox, Sam Fox, Tracy Pollan, Michael J. Fox and Schuyler Fox on the red carpet at the 2012 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's event at The Waldorf=Astoria on November 10, 2012 in New York City benefitting The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09: Esme Fox, Michael J. Fox, Tracy Pollan and Sam Fox attend 2013 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's at The Waldorf=Astoria on November 9, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 22: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) (L-R) Aquinnah Fox, Michael J. Fox, Phyllis Piper Fox, Tracy Pollan, Esme Fox, and Sam Michael Fox attend 2014 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's at The Waldorf=Astoria on November 22, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/MJF2014/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 11: Sam Michael Fox, Esme Annabelle Fox, Schuyler Frances Fox and Aquinnah Kathleen Fox attend the 2017 a funny thing happened on the way to cure Parkinson's benefitting The Michael J. Fox Foundation at the Hilton New York on November 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 14: (L-R) Sam Michael Fox, Tracy Pollan, Michael J. Fox and Esme Fox attend the Michael J. Fox Foundation A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinsons Gala at The Waldorf=Astoria on November 14, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/MJF2015/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 12: Sam Michael Fox, actress Tracy Pollan, actor Michael J. Fox and Esme Annabelle Fox attend the 2016 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's at The Waldorf Astoria on November 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 11: (L-R) Schuyler Frances Fox, Esmé Annabelle Fox, Michael J. Fox, Tracy Pollan, Sam Michael Fox and Aquinnah Kathleen Fox attend the 2017 A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Cure Parkinson's event at the Hilton New York on November 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 11: Sam Michael Fox, Esme Annabelle Fox, Michael J. Fox, Tracy Pollan, Schuyler Frances Fox and Aquinnah Kathleen Fox attend the 2017 a funny thing happened on the way to cure Parkinson's benefitting The Michael J. Fox Foundation at the Hilton New York on November 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Schuyler Frances Fox, Aquinnah Kathleen Fox, Michael J. Fox, Tracy Pollan, Sam Michael Fox, and Esme Annabelle Fox on the red carpet of A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's benefitting The Michael J. Fox Foundation at the Hilton New York on November 10, 2018. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: (L-R) Schuyler Frances Fox, Aquinnah Kathleen Fox, Michael J. Fox, Tracy Pollan, Sam Michael Fox and Esme Annabelle Fox attend A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Cure Parkinson's 2018 at the Hilton New York on November 10, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The alcohol abuse, he said, "caused tension in my marriage" to wife Tracy Pollan, whom he wed in 1988.

In an August 2018 interview with People, Fox recalled the crushing moment when he woke up on the couch with a spilled can of beer beside him, his wife and 3-year-old son standing nearby. Before leaving the room, Pollan asked him, “Is this what you want? This is what you want to be?”

It was, he has said, his last drink.

Fox went public with his diagnosis in 1998, three years after he and Tracy welcomed their twin daughters. They had another daughter in 2001.

“My wife is just an amazing person,” Fox told Closer, calling his 30-year marriage "amazing." “I credit her with a lot of my ability to deal with this — and also shutting down my early attempts to deal with it in a non-productive way by drinking or getting angry.”

16 PHOTOS
Michael J Fox and Tracy Pollan
See Gallery
Michael J Fox and Tracy Pollan
Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
FAMILY TIES -- 'The Real Thing: Pt.1' Episode -- Pictured: (l-r) Michael J. Fox as Alex P. Keaton, Tracy Pollan as Ellen Reed (Photo by Gene Arias/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Married actors Tracy Pollan and Michael J. Fox. (Photo by Time Life Pictures/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Circa 1986, Promotional portrait of actors Michael J Fox and Tracy Pollan on the set of the television series, 'Family Ties'. Fox and Pollan were married in 1988. (Photo by Universal Studios/Getty Images)
Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan during 40th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - August 8, 1988 at Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Tracy Pollan and Michael J. Fox during 'Back To The Future Part 2' Los Angeles Premiere at Cineplex Odeon in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Fox's mother, Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Tracy Pollan and Michael J. Fox (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 07: Actress Tracy Pollan, husband Michael J. Fox, director Martin Scorsese and his wife, Helen Morris (l. to r.), get together at 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Cure Parkinson's...,' an evening of comedy at the Metropolitan Pavilion. The event raised money for Fox's Foundation for Parkinson's Research. (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 12: 71st ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Actor Michael J. Fox (R) and Tracy Pollan arrive to the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 12, 2014 -- (Photo by Christopher Polk/NBC/NBC via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan attend 3rd Annual Mario Batali Foundation Benefit Dinner at Del Posto Ristorante on October 19, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA- SEPTEMBER 22: Actor Michael J. Fox (L) and wife Tracy Pollan arrive at the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on September 22, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.(Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
THE MICHAEL J. FOX SHOW -- 'Neighbor' Episode 102 -- Pictured: (l-r) Michael J. Fox as Mike Henry, Tracy Pollan as Tracy -- (Photo by: Eric Liebowitz/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 16: Actor Michael J. Fox (R) and his wife Tracy Pollan attend Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs between the Indiana Pacers and the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on May 16, 2013 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 07: Michael J. Fox and wife Tracy Pollan flank their son, Sam, at 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Cure Parkinson's...,' an evening of comedy at the Metropolitan Pavilion. The event raised money for Fox's Foundation for Parkinson's Research. (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured (l-r): Tracy Pollan and Michael J. Fox -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story

Sign up for Entertainment Insider by AOL to get the hottest pop culture news delivered straight to your inbox!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.