Michael J. Fox says he revealed Parkinson's diagnosis after paparazzi heckling

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Actor and advocate Michael J. Fox revealed that he was "heckled" by paparazzi before he publicly revealed his diagnosis with Parkinson's disease.

In a candid interview with "Entertainment Tonight" in advance of his annual "A Funny Thing Happened on the way to Cure Parkinson's" fundraiser benefit gala, the "Back to the Future" actor said that bullying was part of why he publicly shared his diagnosis. Parkinson's disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement.

"It was seven or eight years after I had been diagnosed ... (and) the paparazzi and stuff, they would stand outside my apartment and heckle at me, like, 'What's the matter with you?'" Fox recalled.

Fox said that he felt guilty that others in his apartment building were dealing with the noise.

Related: The actor, who was diagnosed 25 years ago with the degenerative disease, opened up about how he's coped with Parkinson's.

"I said 'I can't be making my neighbors deal with this,' so I came out, and it was great. It was a great thing," Fox said. "It was a great surprise to me that people responded the way they responded. They responded with interest, in the desire to find an answer to the disease, and then I saw that as a great opportunity. I didn't get put in this position to squander it."

Fox said that now, three decades after being diagnosed with the nervous system disorder, he just tries to make the best of even the bad days.

"I've had Parkinson's for 30 years... I think it's part of my life, it's what and it's who I am and it's a struggle sometimes. I'm not gonna lie, it's really hard to get up and get ready and get out in the world (some days)," Fox said. "There are days that suck, (but there's) just an understanding that I will get through it. At any moment, you have a choice: I cannot get through this moment or I can get through this moment."

Related: The actor recalled an incident where his son helped him zing a troll on Twitter.

Now, Fox raises awareness and money with the Michael J. Fox Foundation For Parkinson's Research. The organization's annual gala is just one of the many ways Fox aims to help the more than 10 million people worldwide who deal with Parkinson's disease. In its 20-year history, the gala has raised more than $1 billion for research.

He also connects with others diagnosed with the disease and the families of those coping with the progressive illness, but doesn't linger on the difference he's making.

"I don't spend a lot of time on that," the actor told "ET." "But I am grateful when people express to me that it means something, (that) means a lot to me. But I don't think about it. I don't get up and go, 'Oh, I'm Mr. Impact!'"


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