Michael J. Fox appears on the latest edition of “Sunday Today”, and opens up to Willie Geist about the emotional moment when he told wife Tracy Pollan that he’d been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” Fox, 59, recalled of that moment 30 years ago. “One of the things I’ll always love Tracy for is that at that moment, she didn’t blink.”
“And she hasn’t since, has she?” Geist responded
“No,” Fox replied, his eyes filling with tears.
“It’s not the kinda thing you can do without a partner, is it?” asked Geist, whose father also has Parkinson’s.
“It’s really great to have a partner,” Fox said.
Describing his wife as “amazing,” Fox described how Pollan’s sense of humour keeps him going.
“She’s there in the front lines with me every single day. She never pretends to know as much as I know. And the other thing Tracy does is, if there’s something funny, let’s get to the funny. We’ll deal with the tragic later,” he explained.
“I just picture her talking to me, like, ‘So anyway, I’m going to the store, and oh, you’ve fallen down. Okay, I’m going to the market, I’m getting — are you okay? Okay, so I’m getting cheese, and I’m getting bread, I’m getting baguettes. Don’t get up. Just stay there for a second. I’m taking the station wagon. Not that you care.”
Fox also discussed the important work being done by his Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
“We started the foundation literally with nothing. We got the best people on it doing the best work they can, as quickly as they can,” he said.
“We’ve been responsible for 17 active therapies that are now being used that were never thought of before. We funded $1 billion in research. This is our 20th year. If we knew it was gonna be 2020, we would’ve started a year earlier or a year later because this year really blows,” he quipped.
He also joked about how people asking how he’s doing can be something of a loaded question
“Sometimes I want to go, like, ‘Really? You wanna know? Pull up a chair. I’ll give you 45 minutes of it.’ If you want the short answer, I’m feeling great,” Fox said.
“Optimism is a choice,” he added. “But in a way, it isn’t. There’s no other choice. I don’t think there’s any other viable choice than to hope for the best and work toward it.”