On Air Now
Smooth Breakfast with Eamonn Kelly 6am - 10am
13 October 2022, 15:43
Michael J Fox is one of the world's most beloved film stars, thanks to roles in projects such as Back to the Future, Family Ties and Teen Wolf.
His acting career was somewhat halted by the late 1990s, when he announced that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that affects a person's motor system.
He first noticed symptoms in 1991, just three years after he married his partner Tracy. Ever since, Tracy and their children have been hugely supportive of Michael throughout his health journey, career and charity work.
In 1985, the year in which Michael became an international star in Back to the Future, he was also starring in the hit US TV comedy Family Ties as Alex Keaton.
That year, fellow actor Tracy Pollan joined the cast of the show as Ellen Reed, Alex's girlfriend.
However, Tracy only stayed in the show for one season, and they parted ways.
At the time of her appearance in Family Ties, Tracy was in a relationship with actor Kevin Bacon.
In 1988, the pair reunited for the 1988 film Bright Lights, Big City.
As soon as he discovered Kevin was out of the picture, Michael asked her out.
“It sounds really horrible, but it was one of those things,” he told People in 1989.
“Someone goes, ‘Did you hear that so-and-so aren’t together anymore?’ and you go, ‘Hmm, that’s too bad. Where’s the phone?’”
However, Tracy wasn't too sure about Michael at first. She later said on Inside the Actors Studio: “He was feeling good about himself.
“I think I thought he was kind of full of himself. We started to work together and I got a completely different impression and how completely opposite from that he was—just funny and so smart, and just all of these other things came through those first two weeks we worked together."
They dated for around seven months before getting engaged in December 1987.
The couple got married three years after meeting, on July 16, 1988, at West Mountain Inn in Arlington, Vermont.
“Inside, it was like anybody else’s wedding. It was a house party. We rolled back the rugs and danced the night way,” Michael told People.
Tracy and Michael have had four kids together.
Sam Michael, who was born one year after their wedding in 1989.
Twin daughters Aquinnah Kathleen and Schuyler Frances, who were born in 1995.
And finally, daughter Esmé Annabelle, who was born in 2001.
“Tracy had a really good pregnancy, and it was a good delivery. Thank God, she was healthy and Sam was healthy,” Michael told People after the birth of their first child.
In 2019, youngest child Esmé turned 18 and went to college. Michael said: “Our youngest is going off to college, so we are going to be empty-nesters, so… we are going to do some travelling!”
Since Michael was first diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1991, and since he made the illness public in 1998, Tracy has been incredibly supportive of her husband.
In 2020, Michael spoke of how she has helped up over the years. “She puts up with me,” Michael told Entertainment Tonight.
“She doesn’t cut me any slack, which is great. She’s honest, affectionate, kind, smart and she’s just there in a pinch. She’s beautiful and I love her and she’s sexy and gorgeous.”
He added that Tracy is “a great mother, great cook, and great bodyboard surf junkie beach babe”.
Speaking to Sunday Today, he continued: “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."
For how difficult it has been for Tracy, she explained to Oprah Winfrey in 2002: “Any time I would say to myself, ‘This isn’t what I bought into,’ it wasn’t about Michael being sick. It was about his doubting and the behaviour that came out of that fear.
“A lot of my adjustment has been dictated by Michael’s point of view. He’s so relaxed and so accepting of where he is, and that makes it easier for me, the kids, and everyone around him.”
Michael and Tracy have been married for nearly 35 years. The secret?
“Big families, middle children. Sense of humour. Both our families had that,” Michael told People in 2018.
Tracy added: “It was us against the world. That’s exactly what we’ve created. Just give each other the benefit of the doubt. He assumes I’m doing the best I can.”
In 2021, Tracy celebrated Michael's 60th birthday with a sweet Instagram photo, writing that he was the "love of my life".
See more Latest TV & Film News