Michael J. Fox: We Chose To Raise The Kids Away From Limelight

Actor and Parkinson’s research advocate Michael J. Fox, 50, opens up about to PARADE about his longtime love Tracy Pollan, their four kids – Sam, 22, twins Aquinnah and Schuyler, 17, and Esmé, 10 – and coping with Parkinson’s.

On raising the kids away from the limelight: “We made a decision really early on, before the Parkinson’s diagnosis, that we’d move back East. We’d just bought a house in Bel Air [Los Angeles], but we never moved into it. We had an awakening one day that we don’t want to raise our kids in an environment that’s largely show business and built on whose father had a bigger opening weekend. It seemed fraught with peril. New York seemed like a better bet. There’s much more variety in the people that they meet and the relationships they have [in New York]. It’s much more real. They don’t live in a bubble. And I know where my kids are all the time.” He adds, “We have a responsibility to make sure that they’re good people, not destructive; that they’re contributors who don’t feel entitled. They’re good kids. I can’t imagine reading about them [in the tabloids].”

On dealing with the devastating diagnosis of Parkinson’s at age 30: “For a time I dealt with it with alcohol, which turned out to be a disaster. I’d always been kind of a partier, but this was the first time I was drinking in order not to feel something. It had a dark purpose. About a year after my diagnosis, I woke up one morning and saw (wife) Tracy’s face…She said, “Is this what you want?” Instantly I knew-no, this isn’t what I want or who I am. So I quit drinking in ’92. I recognized I had choices about drinking, and that made me realize I had choices about Parkinson’s as well. I could say, “I’m powerless over this, but I have things I can do.” I could apply everything I’d learned about getting drinking out of my life to dealing with Parkinson’s.”

On living with Parkinson’s: “I don’t look at life as a battle or as a fight. I don’t think I’m scrappy. I’m accepting. I say “living with” or “working through” Parkinson’s. Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it. I look at it like I’m a fluid that’s finding the fissures and cracks and flowing through.”

On his faith: “I don’t subscribe to any particular doctrine or ideology. I just think that there’s kind of a good and bad, the good being life in its purest, happiest form, and the other being the darker side of existence. I believe that the majority of times the scale tilts toward the good. It’s this amazing thing that rolls on and if we get in the flow of it, that’s God. And if we fight it, if we swim the other way, we’re swimming away from the purest expression of this life. The thing that brings people to wail at a wall, or face Mecca, or to go to church, is a search for that feeling of purity.”

On why his wife of 23 years Tracy Pollan stays with him: “It’s hard to explain why this amazing woman would want to stay. People say, “Tracy’s a rock.” She always laughs at that and says, “I’m not a rock.” And she’s not. She’s a living, reactive person. We’ve been very blessed and haven’t had a lot of big challenges other than Parkinson’s. Tracy knows she can count on me when there are issues we face. We still love each other and make each other laugh, which is probably the most important thing. She still thinks I’m smart and funny and sexy.”

For more of the interview with Michael, pick up a copy of PARADE this Sunday.

Filed under: Michael J. Fox

Photo credit: Parade

  • Anonymous

    I love Michael and his family. They are really true people and very grounded. He made the right decision by not living in Hollyweird.

    • AM

      soo true – Hollywood is full of screwed up kids who grow up to be spoilt brats with no sense of responsibility.

    • Anonymous

      I think it is more to do with *HOW* a child is raised rather than *WHERE*. I know many adults (rich and not so rich) that were born and raised in and around the Hollywood (Los Angeles) area who are wholesome and well-behaved praise-worthy adults. Proper upbringing can be had as long as parents (guardians) make the effort and commit to enforcing morals and teach by example the rewards that can be realized in the dedication to giving back. It’s time to give up the theory that all L.A. and NYC people live life like some people you read about in tabloids and on gossip websites.

  • Anonymous

    Love him!

  • Anonymous

    New York can be just as bad (Manhattan specifically). Lots of wealthy private school kids are children of celebs or other “important” people. Lots of them tend to have access to a lot of things, can get away with a lot, and have a sense of entitlement.

  • Theresa

    LOVE HIM!!!! always have…always will!!!

  • Anonymous

    So Hollywood is a good enough place to make millions as actors, but it’s not a good enough place for actors to raise their children. So New York is different how? Lots of celebs there too. Why not Minnesota, Wyoming, Iowa, or even (gasp) his native Canada?! You couldn’t get more out of the lime light than anywhere in Canada. That’s why all of the Canadian celebs don’t become celebs until they move to L.A.. Plus, there’s no papparazzi in Canada because their celebs are all in America. Problem solved.

    • Danielle

      Just what I was thinking. You can’t raise your kids in LA so the only option is NYC? haha I have never lived there but visited many times and its crazy busy and Sarah Jessica Parker along with other celebs certainly don’t seem to get away from the paparazzi. If he really wanted a down to earth lifestyle live somewhere other than two huge rich cities.

      • Anonymous

        Are you mentally retarded? He chose the lesser of two evils, and feels like he can give his kids a normal life in NY. Must you people criticize EVERYTHING?!?

  • Anonymous

    His wife was born and raised in NY; maybe that’s why they opted to live there.

  • Cary

    The celebs who live in NY have a more privet life then the ones in LA, Sarah Jessica Parker along with other celebs  don’t get away from the paparazz but are not bothered  by them nearly as much. I mean how many pictuers do you see of Sarah Jessica Parker, hugh jackman, liv tyler, Maggie Gyllenhaal and hell you never see pictuers of Matt Damon and his kids and they live in NY. Now comparar that to the number of pictuers we get of jennifer garner, jessica alba, heidi klum,  The Beckham,  Reese Witherspoon and Alyson Hannigan are all photograph 60% more than the celebs living in NY.

  • Anonymous

    I think he is being disingenuous. There is quite the sense of entitlement in NYC kids – its not as show biz all the time perhaps, but there are very wealthy parents that give their kids everything there. Also the papz are there as well – look at when the Jolie-Pits were there a couple of years ago you would see them dropping their kid off EVERY day. Katie Holmes is photographed every time she steps our of her NYC apart. I think the papz find a way of getting photographs as long as the people’s kids sell. Some don’t so they don’t make the effort to capture them.

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