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."

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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.”