Actor Michael J. Fox has had a cascade of medical issues since he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease back in 1998, and he has been open about them with the public in the hopes of raising awareness and pushing for a cure. In a recent interview with Town & Country, Fox revealed how a broken bone led to an infection that almost forced him to have his hand amputated. He joked that the old saying “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” no longer applies to him, saying: “F- lemonade. I’m out of the lemonade business.”
Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1998 and he chose to be very open about his health from then on so that he could advocate for others suffering from the illness. In his memoir No Time Like the Future, he disclosed the spinal tumor that he had removed in 2018, which started a chain of events leading to his close call with amputation. After the spinal surgery, Fox had to spend months in physical and occupational therapy re-learning to walk and use other fine motor skills. During this process, he tripped and fell at home one night and broke his upper arm. Things only got worse from there.
Fox soon broke his other arm and the accompanying shoulder, as well as his orbital bone, cheek bone and one of his hands. While dealing with all those fractures, Fox explained: “My hand got infected and then I almost lost it. It was a tsunami of misfortune.”
Fox acknowledged that this isn’t the only close call he’s had. It has been 33 years since the actor was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, but on average most patients live 20 years after diagnosis. He said: “One day I’ll run out of gas. One day I’ll just say, ‘it’s not going to happen. I’m not going out today.’ If that comes, I’ll allow myself that.”
“I’m 62 years old. Certainly, if I were to pass away tomorrow, it would be premature, but it wouldn’t be unheard of. And so, no, I don’t fear that,” Fox went on. He said that what he does fear, is “anything that would put my family in jeopardy.”
Fox and Tracy Pollan have been married for 35 years. They have four children together – 34-year-old Sam, 28-year-old twin daughters Aquinnah and Schuyler and 22-year-old daughter Esmé. Fox and Pollan met on the set of Family Ties where she played his girlfriend, Ellen. They live in Manhattan full time, with a second home upstate.
Fox’s experience with Parkinson’s disease has become an inspiration for many people over the years. He created The Michael J. Fox Foundation to spread awareness and aid in research, and has become a political activist advocating for a greater commitment to science on these issues. Fox’s story was most recently told on screen in Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, which is streaming now on Apple TV+.