Michael J. Fox was a guest on Howard Stern’s radio show to talk about his new TV series on NBC and confesses that alcohol was his first reaction when being diagnosed in 1991, which caused him to quit show business.
“Was that torture for you? Because you love acting,” asks Stern. “I just felt helpless,” the actor admits. “It felt unfair in a way … it’s hard to explain.”
Feeling lost, Fox turned to alcohol to try to make the pain of his diagnosis go away. The star lived in a “self-medicating” fog for several months, and it took even longer than that to come to grips with the fact his symptoms were going to get worse.
“Did you go into therapy right away?” asks Stern and clarifies: “Psychotherapy.”
Fox then admits to waiting a few years before going to therapy, and confesses alcohol was his first resort. “My first reaction to it was to start drinking heavily.”
“What’s heavily?” insists Stern. “I used to drink to party and then, now, I was just drinking alone. Every day,” Fox said.
“Self medicating?” asks Stern. “Yeah,” says Fox, adding that this lasted for about a year while he lacked the tools to deal with the diagnosis. He then proceeded to go to therapy and says he learned to take it “one day at a time.”
Fox first opened up about his battle with alcohol in his 2003 autobiography Lucky Man.
Fox said he saw a future after therapy, which not only improved his marriage with wife of over 20 years, Tracy Pollan, but also allowed him re-consider his career. His new show takes inspiration from his, and his family’s lives, in which he plans to deal with his battle “head on and with humor.” Staring on NBC on Thursday, while named after him, Fox actually plays a New York news anchor named Mike Henry, who is loosely based on the actor.
The plot parallels his own life, as Mike decides to return to news after retiring five years earlier after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
Fox, who became a household name after starring in Back To The Future, retired from his hit show Spin City in 1990 revealing his own diagnose for the first tome to the public, after the cast and crew had helped keep it private for a number of years.