They’ve been married for three decades and experienced some major ups and downs along the way; now, Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan are looking back at their extraordinary relationship in a new cover story for People.
While Fox, a Canadian Episcopalian who dropped out of high school, and Pollan, a New Yorker from a prominent Jewish family who studied acting at the Lee Strasberg Institute, may appear to be polar opposites, their similarities drew them together.
“Big families, middle children,” Fox tells People. “Sense of humour. Both our families had that.”
“It was us against the world,” says Pollan of her upbringing. “That’s exactly what we’ve created.”
The couple first met when Pollan played Fox’s love interest on his hit sitcom “Family Ties” but it wasn’t until they later co-starred in the film “Bright Lights, Big City” in 1987 that they began dating. They were married the following year.
One reason they didn’t get together earlier was Pollan was living with “Footloose” star Kevin Bacon when she was cast in “Family Ties”. While she and Fox became friends, she recalls him being “very cocky. He was funny, but he was cocky.”
He was also drinking heavily, and Fox recalls the moment, fairly early in their marriage, that Pollan put everything in perspective in a way that led him to quit the bottle for good.
One morning after a night of heavy drinking, Fox woke up on the living room couch, a can of beer spilling on the floor, as Pollan and their three-year-old son stood over him. “I did a slow scan up from her feet to her face, expecting to find her really angry,” Fox recalls. “She wasn’t. She was just bored.”
“Is this what you want? This is what you want to be?” she asked before walking out the door. He hasn’t had a drink since.
In the cover story, the couple open up about Fox’s Parkinson’s diagnosis in 1991, with Fox recalling how he took his wife aside and broke the news to her. As Pollan explains, “It’s a weird diagnosis. You’re not any different than you were yesterday. It’s kind of easy to forget because nothing has changed.”
The couple also share the guiding principle that they’ve found to be key to a successful marriage. “Just give each other the benefit of the doubt. He assumes I’m doing the best I can,” says Pollan.
“Find the best things about you and the best things about life and celebrate them,” adds Fox.
You can read more about the couple’s romance in the latest issue of People.