Depression, alcoholism and secrets: a documentary by Michael J. Fox revealed details of the actor from “Back to the Future”
He released a film in which he tells what it was like to find out about his illness and how he tried to hide it for years
Soledad CedroFrom Miami, Florida, United States
Michael J. Fox presented a new documentary in which he talks about his illness and depression REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Actor Michael J. Fox -who is 61 years old -, opens his soul in a new documentary about his life called “Still: A Michael J. Fox Film”, which just premiered this weekend on the Sundance Film Festival. The title plays with the word Still, which in English, depending on its use, can have two meanings: still – alluding to the fact that he survived more than three decades with a degenerative disease such as Parkinson's- and stay still – something that also alludes to the most visible symptom of the disease, which is the inability to sit still due to continuous uncontrollable tremors.
Fox found out he had Parkinson's in 1991, at the height of his success in Hollywood. For the next seven years he tried to hide the disease, he says, from the public but at some point from himself as well. The denial led to a deep depression.
Fox claims he overcame alcoholism thanks to his wife, Tracy Pollan, and his four children. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Without diminishing the intensity of work in those years, Fox recounts that he filmed movies and television series constantly under the influence of dopamine pills, which he ate them “like they were candy on Halloween.”
“Therapeutic value, comfort. None of these were the reasons why she was taking these pills. She did it to hide what was happening to me. I became a virtuous manipulator of medicines to be at my best when I needed it,” the actor says during the documentary.
But He didn't just turn to pills to try to hide his illness. Fox reveals that in those years of so much depression he also became an alcoholic.
“I didn't know what was happening. She didn't know what was coming. So I would just get up and decide to have about four glasses of wine, maybe a shot of something stronger. No doubt he was an alcoholic. But I haven't had a drink of alcohol in 30 years now,” Fox opens up.
The actor believes that he found the inspiration and support for giving up alcohol in his wife, fellow actress Tracy Pollan, and in their four children. But as with any addict, the first years without using are usually the hardest.
“For all the low that alcohol achieved in me, withdrawal left me still below. I couldn't escape from myself anymore”, said Fox. During those years he took refuge in work . “At home I couldn't pretend I didn't have Parkinson's. But if he went out, people didn't know, and so I lied to myself.”
Finally in 1998 he told the world about his illness. Since then he has been very open about his pain -due to the tremors he frequently falls and hurts himself-, but as he says on several occasions during this new documentary, the greatest pain for him has not been physical, but rather mental. knowing that there is no cure for this disease.
Fox made Parkinson's the cause of his life, creating one of the most important foundations in the world collaborating with research about this disease. “Many see my Parkinson's as an end. For me it is only the beginning.”