Michael J Fox opens up on ‘dark’ moments during battle with Parkinson’s disease
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Michael J Fox has explained why he initially kept his Parkinson’s disease to himself, as he thanked his "wonderful" family for helping him through tough times.
The Back to the Future legend, 59, revealed all on how he is doing, as he spoke to Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes about his new book – No Time Like the Future.
Aged just 29, Michael was told by doctors that he had young-onset Parkinson's disease in 1991 – and while he initially struggled with the news, he has been committed to campaigning for increased research into the disease for years.
Michael also underwent major surgery on his spine in 2018 to correct a problem with his spinal cord, with him having to learn to walk again.
Speaking on This Morning, Michael was asked about possibly one of the "darkest moments of his life" after a fall following his surgery – as well as his battle with Parkinson’s disease.
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He told the hosts of his diagnosis: "The average Parkinson’s diagnosis is 58, so I had a whole lifetime to go to reach the point where I would be normally diagnosed. So I had an extra 29 bonus years, thanks for that."
On why he kept the diagnosis private for seven years, he explained: “Well, it kind of made it for itself. I had some things that I had to clear up.
"My first reaction to the diagnosis was to double up on my drinking and that worked not at all, so after about a year of that, so two years after my diagnosis, I quit drinking. I started to see things more clearly.
"I started to see what I had and I started to accept that I had Parkinson’s. Learn about Parkinsons, learn about what it meant to my family, learn about what it meant in my life and learn to accept it."
Ruth and Eamonn asked Michael about 'dark times'
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He also talked about the work going into helping to find a cure for the disease, and his foundation.
Michael said: "Absolutely. My foundation, it’s it’s 20th anniversary in 2020, it must be the most beat year of all time.
"But anyway, we’ve been around for 20 years, we’ve put about $1 billion into research and I’m not a scientist, but I know we’re making great strides with 17 or 18 therapies that have improved the lives of patients. So there’s a lot going on."
Asked how he was doing during the interview, Michael told the hosts: "My pill is just kicking in and so I’m bouncing around a lot, but I feel a lot better than I look. I’m doing well.
Michael J Fox as Marty McFly in Back To The Future in 1985
Michael J Fox opens up about 'darkest time' during Parkinson's disease battle
"I have a wonderful family. I went through this period of time, I wrote about it in the book, where I was questioning the things that I was experiencing and really got to deal with some dark stuff. And that was really useful for me.
"It brought me back to a place of gratitude. As long as I’ve got more to be grateful of than I do to be regretful of, my life is good."
The Hollywood star also talked about his new book, No Time Like the Future, which features personal and moving moments including when he had to learn to talk again after an operation on his spine.
He thanked his family for helping him through tough times.
He said: "It was a disaster. I was walking fairly well, I had to learn the connetics – literally, put the heel down, transfer the weight, all the mechanics of it.
"And I got to a point where I felt pretty cocky about it. I got your wheelchair, walker, cane, all the apparatus, and I got to where I was just free-style walking down the hallway."
Viewers praised the actor and his positive outlook, with one saying: "Brilliant interview with Michael J Fox , absolute legend and brilliant actor , also an inspiration and a fighter."
Another said: "What a lovely interview with @realmikefox on @thismorning @RuthieeL and @EamonnHolmes. Thank you for that guys. I’ve always been a massive fan of Michael and I can’t wait to read ‘No Time Like the Future’ as well. Stay safe guys!"
A third tweeted: "Loved the interview with Michael J Fox #thismorning Absolute legend."
Meanwhile, a fourth wrote: "What an amazing man Michael J Fox is. What he's been through and is going through. A whole lot of love for him."
This Morning airs weekdays at 10am on ITV.