It’s hard to believe that Michael J. Fox — the star we came to love on the family sitcom Family Ties — is about to turn 50! The beloved actor and inspirational father-of-four opens up to Good Housekeeping about his family, career, and coping with Parkinson’s.
On special moments with each of his kids: “Sam [who’s now in college] and I would listen to music in the car all the time. I love music, and he’d be in the car seat…and say The Who was playing “My Generation.” I’d point out, “Listen to this bass line.” And he’d listen and then we wouldn’t talk about it, but then he’d come home from school [years later] and say, “Can I get a bass? I want to play the bass.” So with Sam, it’s a lot of that kind of stuff, and talking about science fiction and computers.
With my twins [Schuyler and Aquinnah], they’re so interesting because they’re so different [although] they’ve had the same life experience. They share the same clothes, they share the same room, and yet they’re such distinct human beings. Schuyler was born with a whiskey voice. She has a droll take on things; she’ll roll her eyes if there’s any kind of drama in the house.
With Aquinnah, she’s so passionate that you have to be really earnest when you deal with her. She’s like, “My teacher’s going to kill me.” I say, “Guarantee she’s not going to kill you. It’s not going to happen.”
And with Esmé, it’s so hard to explain! She spent the past two weeks writing a book about Greek gods. And when I say she’s written a book about Greek gods, I mean she’s written a book about [them]. She’s broken it down: Demeter and Apollo…she’s got every Greek god listed, and a description of them, and then pictures she found on the Internet. She’s taking advantage of this world we have now with all this information. She’s a really interesting, bright 9-year-old.”
On coping with Parkinson’s and his attitude in life: “You know, there’s a rule in acting called “Don’t play the result.” If you have a character who’s going to end up in a certain place, don’t play that until you get there. Play each scene and each beat as it comes. And that’s what you do in your life: You don’t play the result. So you get diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and you can play the result. You can go right to, “Oh, I’m sick.” It took me seven years to figure out that I’m not at the result. I’m not at the result till the end. So let’s not play it. It’s not written yet. And so that’s the attitude I take in life. Another expression is “Act as if.” Act as if it’s the way you want it to be, and it’ll eventually morph into that.”
On the takeaway he wants his kids to have: “Life is what you put into it and how much you take out of it. You put in more than is expected, and you take out less than you want. Everything is cause and effect. If you don’t move, nothing will move with you, and nothing will move toward you. And so that involves risk and also resiliency. But I think I just really want my kids to enjoy life as much as I do.”
Continue reading the inspirational interview with Michael at Good Housekeeping…