Michael J. Fox may be known to be outspoken about having Parkinson's disease, but he actually kept his diagnosis private for years! While talking to Entertainment Tonight recently, Fox shared that it was the way he was treated in the public eye that made him want to share his health condition.
Fox calls opening up about Parkinson's "a great opportunity"
Fox commented on how paparazzi "would stand outside my apartment and heckle at me," asking what was wrong with him. While the actor famous for Back to the Future and Family Ties received his Parkinson's diagnosis in 1991, it was not public knowledge until 1998. He said that because he didn't want his neighbours to have to put up with the media's mean-spirited comments, he decided to tell the world about having Parkinson's.
While he wasn't sure how the public would react to this news, Fox says the outcome was "a great surprise" since people were sympathetic towards him. Instead of being met with more heckling and criticism, the Canadian star says that people "responded with interest, in the desire to find an answer to the disease."
Fox also says that he viewed having the platform to educate others about Parkinson's as "a great opportunity". In November 2020, he announced that he would be retiring from acting due to his ongoing health struggles, having mentioned that memorization was becoming a challenge for him. However, he has continued on with his career as an author, and recently released his latest memoir, No Time Like the Future.