In a candid interview with controversial radio personality Howard Stern, Michael J. Fox opened up about his journey with Parkinson's disease and how it led him to develop a drinking problem. Fox, who now stars in the NBC sitcom The Michael J. Fox Show, told Stern that when he was diagnosed in 1991 with the debilitating disease he thought it was "unfair," and immediately began "self-medicating."
"My first reaction to it was to start drinking heavily," Fox, 52, said. "I used to drink to party, but then I was drinking alone ... Every day."
Fox then told Stern that eventually he had to seek counseling in order to come to terms with his condition, and that it ultimately helped him in his personal life as well. " "It was about a year of a knife fight in a closet, where I just didn't have my tools to deal with it," he revealed. "But then after that I went to therapy, and it all started to get really clear to me.
"My marriage got great," Fox said. "And my career started to [take off again]."
Now that Fox is back in the spotlight, he has been tremendously frank about his battle with Parkinson's. In addition to speaking to Stern, the actor also took to Rolling Stone to reassure audiences that he no longer feels sorry for himself. "People look at me and have fear and sadness in their eyes," Fox said, "which they think they're seeing reflected back at them. They wouldn't see what I'm really feeling, which is, 'I'm OK!' But people are afraid."
In one specific instance, Fox recalled being interviewed by Larry King: "It was a little more disjointed and fractured than usual," Fox said, "and I realized that it was the first time I'd talked to him since my diagnosis and that he was afraid. So I had to understand that before people deal with me, they're going to deal with what they think I'm going through. Then time will pass and then they'll realize that this is just my life, the stuff I was given to deal with."