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Michael J Fox said he became an alcoholic after Parkinson’s diagnosis

Michael J Fox said he became an alcoholic after Parkinson’s diagnosis

The actor was diagnosed with the disease in 1991

Michael J Fox has opened up about turning to booze after he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

The actor got his big break in the '80s on Family Ties, but just as it looked as though everything was going right, his life was turned on its head.

"I was the Prince of Hollywood," he recalls in new documentary Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie.

"You think it's made of brick and rock. But it's not. It's made out of paper and feathers. It's an illusion."

He first noticed something was up following a night out in Florida in 1990, when he woke up with a hangover and a twitching little finger.

He eventually visited a neurologist the following year who diagnosed him with Parkinson's disease, and in shock, he responded: "You know who you're talking to, right? I'm not supposed to get this."

Over the years that followed, he sought solace in alcohol, before quitting altogether.

The actor is opening up about his life with Parkinson's.
Sundance Institute

"I drank to dissociate," he said. "I was definitely an alcoholic. But I've gone 30 years without having a drink."

The Back to the Future star kept his diagnosis secret for seven years, taking dopamine pills and holding props in his left hand on set to hide shaking.

In the new documentary, the 61-year-old works with a trainer to build his strength and stability, but during the course of filming he falls, breaking bones in his left cheek, his hand, his arm and dislocating his shoulder.

Though what really annoys him is when people tell him to 'be careful'.

"This has nothing to do with being careful," he said. "This happens. You get Parkinson's, you trip over stuff."

The documentary is coming to Apple TV+ later this year.

In November, Fox received an honorary Oscar recognising outstanding philanthropic efforts at the 2022 Governors Awards ceremony.

He was blown away by the response when he shared his diagnosis.
REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

He was honoured with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in recognition of his efforts to raise awareness and funds for research into Parkinson's disease, having founded The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research in 2000, which has reportedly raised more than $1.5 billion (£1.26 billion) for research funding.

Accepting the award, he recalled the response when he eventually went public with his diagnosis.

"What happened next was remarkable," he said.

"The outpouring of support from the public at large and the beautiful reaction from all of my peers in the entertainment business.

"It struck me that everything I had been given – success, my life with [my wife] Tracy, my family – had prepared me for this profound opportunity and responsibility. It was a gift."

He added: "All of you, thank you, and the people that I work with. It was transformative."

If you want to discuss any issues relating to alcohol in confidence, contact Drinkline on 0300 123 1110, 9am–8pm weekdays and 11am–4pm weekends for advice and support

Featured Image Credit: Sipa US / Alamy/ Sundance Institute

Topics: Celebrity, Health, Michael J Fox