Michael J. Fox admits paparazzi forced him to publicly reveal Parkinson's
Michael J. Fox and his wife of 33 years, Tracy Pollan, share a 32-year-old son named Sam, twin 26-year-old daughters Aquinnah and Schuyler, and 19-year-old daughter Esme. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Michael J. Fox admits paparazzi forced him to publicly reveal Parkinson's

Michael J. Fox kept his young-onset Parkinson's diagnosis private from 1991 to '98, and he would have kept it to himself for longer if not for relentless paparazzi.

"It was seven or eight years after I had been diagnosed," the 60-year-old Back to the Future icon told Entertainment Tonight. "The paparazzi and stuff, they would stand outside my apartment and heckle at me, like, 'What's a matter with you?' I said, 'I can't be making my neighbors deal with this,' so I came out, and it was great. It was a great thing."

Fox added: "It was a great surprise to me that people responded the way they responded. They responded with interest, in the desire to find an answer to the disease, and then I saw that as a great opportunity. I didn't get put in this position to squander it."

In 2000, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research was launched and has since raised more than $1 billion. The organization will celebrate its 20th anniversary with its A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Cure Parkinson's fundraising gala on Saturday (Oct. 23), hosted by Denis Leary with featured performances by the likes of Brad Paisley and Sting.

"I'm in a really good groove," the five-time Emmy winner recently told People. "Every day is different. The circle [of what I can do] gets smaller. But I'm happy I've found things in the middle of the circle that can't be touched, like my family and the time I have with them."

Fox and his wife of 33 years, Tracy Pollan, share a 32-year-old son named Sam, twin 26-year-old daughters Aquinnah and Schuyler, and 19-year-old daughter Esmé.

Megan Armstrong (@megankarmstrong) is a writer with previous work appearing in places such as Billboard, Bleacher Report, GQ and others. She's most interested in writing about people and how they live their lives, through the framework of music, entertainment and sports.

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