Went public about Parkinson’s disease because of paparazzi bullying, says Michael J Fox


Los Angeles: “Back to the Future” star MichaeL J Fox says he decided to open up about his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis after being continuously “heckled” by the paparazzi.

The Emmy-winning actor, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991, said things have been “great” ever since he shared his health condition with the world in 1997.

“It was seven or eight years after I had been diagnosed … (and) the paparazzi and stuff, they would stand outside my apartment and heckle at me, like, ‘What’s a matter with you?’ I said, ‘I can’t be making my neighbours deal with this,’ so I came out, and it was great. It was a great thing,” Fox told Entertainment Tonight.

“It was a great surprise to me that people responded the way they responded. They responded with interest, in the desire to find an answer to the disease, and then I saw that as a great opportunity. I didn’t get put in this position to squander it,” he added.

Since sharing his battle with Parkinson’s, the actor has emerged as inspiration for many struggling with the disease.

Fox, however, said he doesn’t work towards being an icon of sorts for people. The actor said for him Parkinson’s is now “who I am” and he just tries to take each day as it comes.

“I’ve had Parkinson’s for 30 years… I think it’s part of my life, it’s what and it’s who I am and it’s a struggle sometimes. I’m not going to lie, it’s really hard to get up and get ready and get out in the world (some days). There are days that suck. (But there’s) just an understanding that I will get through it. At any moment, you have a choice: I cannot get through this moment or I can get through this moment,” he said.

Fox on Saturday will be celebrating 20 years of his Michael J. Fox Foundation with a star-studded benefit, featuring performances by Sting and Brad Paisley. The foundation has raised over USD 1 billion to date for Parkinson’s research.