Michael J. Fox says Parkinson’s has made him “a better husband, father and overall human being”.
The ‘Back to the Future’ star claims the debilitating disease – which he was diagnosed with aged just 29 – initially made him “hit rock bottom”, but after he got over his initial shock he was inspired by the illness.
He said: “Life delivered me a catastrophe, but I found a richness of soul. I owe it to Parkinson’s, no doubt about that.
“I’d been drinking too much and cruising along the fast lane before that, but the diagnosis made me an even bigger idiot.
“My boozing, the subsequent depression, and my increasing pain isolated me from my wife Tracy and my son, Sam Michael. I hit rock bottom.
“And so I turned myself around. In fact, Parkinson’s has made me a better person. A better husband, father and overall human being.”
Symptoms of the movement disorder include involuntary muscle tremors and shaking, stiffness in limbs and either slow movement or an inability to move are frequent, affecting how sufferers’ walk and often their speech.
Michael – who also starred in a number of hit 80s film hits including ‘Teen Wolf’ and ‘Doc Hollywood’ – was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1990, but continued to work and didn’t make his illness public until 1998.
His defining career moment remains his performance as Marty McFly in the ‘Back to the Future’ trilogy, however, and he looks back fondly on the original film.
He added in an interview with the Daily Mail newspaper: “On any given night I can find the movie on somewhere - I used to flick it off. Now I’ll stop and watch for 10 or 15 minutes, not with any kind of nostalgia, but purely to check it out.
“For one thing, it made me really famous. I can’t think of a single negative thing about it. It changed my life and opened up so many opportunities for me and I’m forever grateful.
“People still love it and their eyes light up. I’ve been to Asia, Africa, Europe and just last week Thailand, and people still talk about the movie.”
The ‘Back to the Future’ Trilogy is available now as a 25th Anniversary box set.