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Michael J. Fox kept Parkinson’s a secret

Michael J Fox on bbc breakfast
Michael J Fox on bbc breakfast Image credit: metro.co.uk

Hollywood actor Michael J. Fox has said he was pleasantly surprised with the ‘receptive and support’ response he received from the public after he went public about his health condition.

The 59-year-old was interviewed on BBC Breakfast when he revealed he kept his Parkinsons disease in fear he would not be able to make his fans laugh again.

Fox kept his illness to himself and close family and friends for seven years until he publicly revealed his condition in 1998.

He explained: 'My fear was that if they knew that I had an illness, a condition that they wouldn't be able to laugh.

The Back To the Future star added: 'You know it was a really strange period of time because over a period of seven years that I kept it to myself.

'When I opened up to people about it, they were incredibly receptive, incredibly supportive and the audience did continue to laugh and continue to watch my work.'

The actor was given the chance to collaborate with medical experts for research into the condition which affects one in 500 people in the UK.

Michael said: 'Then this whole opportunity opened up, I started talking to scientists and they started telling me the science is ahead of the money. We know more than we can pay for. We understand more than we're getting.

'And I thought well, I can do that, I had some rich friends and then I had some friends out in the public that who would like to find an answer to this problem that so many people that they love and know suffer from and so we set up a foundation and that's been an amazing thing.'

In a recent interview Fox recalled advice he was given from his late father-in-law, film producer Stephen M. Pollan which was ‘‘no matter what was going on, it gets better, kiddo. It gets better. The last thing you run out of is the future.''

For more information visit The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research website.