In a new interview with Variety, the actor shares some of the surprising injuries he says he’s suffered as a result of his illness.
“I broke this shoulder — had it replaced. I broke this elbow. I broke this hand. I had an infection that almost cost me this finger. I broke my face. I broke this humerus,” he says. “And that sucked.”
Today, Fox says, he has “aides around me quite a bit of the time in case I fall, and that lack of privacy is hard to deal with.”
Fox is currently promoting a new documentary titled Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, from director Davis Guggenheim. The documentary — out May 12 on Apple TV+ — will chronicle Fox’s one-of-a-kind life and career in the spotlight, including his 1991 Parkinson’s diagnosis at age 29.
“I’ve won more awards and had more nominations since I announced my diagnosis,” the Back to the Future star says of his storied career. “It may be that people feel bad for me, but I prefer to look at it as an acknowledgment for continuing to have a legitimate career.”
Fox officially retired from acting in 2020 as he began struggling to remember lines. In his new interview, the Family Ties actor laments the loss of some of that comedic timing that made him famous, with the clarity of his speech also occasionally impacted by the disease.
“I sometimes have a fleeting moment of disappointment when a really great joke comes out and lands flat because people can’t understand what I’m saying,” he says. “It’s not like you can just repeat it. It’s dead on arrival. But you find ways to navigate it.”
Fox has also found ways to navigate his daily life, remaining relentlessly committed to looking on the bright side of the time he’s able to share with his family.
“I’m still happy to join the day and be a part of things,” he shares. “I just enjoy the little math problems of existence. I love waking up and figuring that stuff out and at the same time being with my family. My problem is I fall down. I trip over things and fall down and break things. And that’s part of having this. But I hope that, and I feel that, I won’t break as many bones tomorrow. So that’s being optimistic.”
In the years following his diagnosis, Fox has become a vocal advocate of funding research and increasing awareness for the disease. He founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2000 and has raised a staggering $1.5 billion over the last two decades.
Widely lauded as a hero, Fox’s response to the praise is humble.
“It’s just a nice way of people letting me know they are moved by my acceptance of things and by the way that I’ve tried to make a difference,” he tells Variety. “But no matter how much I sit here and talk to you about how I’ve philosophically accepted it and taken its weight, Parkinson’s is still kicking my ass. I won’t win at this. I will lose.”
“But,” Fox adds, “there’s plenty to be gained in the loss.”
Variety‘s new issue, featuring Fox, hits newsstands on Wednesday.
Last month, the actor told ET that his team has helped contribute to several medical advancements to aid in the prevention of Parkinson’s in future patients.
“The idea of a biomarker,” Fox said, which is a “way to identify the disease before the disease is present. By the time I was diagnosed, I had a little twitch in my pinky but…with this, we can identify the disease really early and help progression and essentially cure ahead of the game.”
Fox has reason to celebrate in his personal life this year, as he and wife Tracy Pollan are headed for their milestone 35th wedding anniversary in July.
Together, the couple shares four children — son Sam, 33; twin daughters Schuyler and Aquinnah, 28; and daughter Esme, 21.
In an interview with ET last fall at his A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Cure Parkinson’s gala, Fox admitted: “It’s been an interesting life.”
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