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Michael J. Fox Opens Up About 30-Year Battle With Parkinson's: 'Every Day Gets Tougher'

The actor said that finding 'something to be grateful for' has sustained him during his harrowing battle with the incurable brain disease.

Michael J. Fox
Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for The Michael J. Fox Foundation

In 1982, Michael J. Fox sat down with Jane Pauley to promote his new show Family Ties. The actor's breakout role as conservative teen Alex P. Keaton led to his iconic roles in 1985's number one AND number two films—Back to the Future and Teen Wolf respectively.

40 years later, the two reunited, this time to talk about Fox's 30 year struggle with Parkinson's disease, the progressive disorder of the central nervous system that affects movement such as walking, speech and balance.

Fox quipped Parkinson's is "the gift that keeps on taking."

But he revealed to Pauly:

“I’m not gonna lie. It’s getting harder."
“Every day it’s tougher.”

When Pauley mentioned Fox's visible decline, he added:

"It's been 30+ years; not many of us that have had this disease for 30 years."
"It sucks having Parkinson's."

Even still, Fox acknowledged:

"For some families, some people, it's a nightmare. It's a living hell."
"They have to deal with realities that are beyond most people's understandings."
"My life is set up so I can pack Parkinson's along with me if I have to."

He added:

“I recognize how hard this is for people, and I recognize how hard it is for me, but I have a certain set of skills that allow me to deal with this stuff."
“And I realize, with gratitude, optimism is sustainable.”
“If you can find something to be grateful for, then you can find something to look forward to, and you carry on."

You can watch the interview below.

Viewers of the interview applauded Fox for his willingness and bravery to speak about and educate others.

Several added his outlook was an inspiration.

Fox, now 61, documented his life with Parksinson's in Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, which will be available on Apple TV+ on May 12.

When asked about the significance of the title, Fox responded:

"I could never be still, until I couldn't be still."
"Still has other meanings. Still here. Still committed."
"And I'll take 'em all!"