Michael J Fox and Tracy Pollan: The 30-year marriage that still gives us hope and has come to define love
Michael J Fox and Tracy Pollan's love story began 30 years ago after they found their other halves in each other!
Much before they got married in 1988, actor Michael J. Fox and wife Tracy Pollan shared a screen kiss on NBC sitcom 'Family Ties,' where they played the roles of Alex P. Keaton and Ellen Reed, respectively.
Though their on-screen romantic relationship did not really last long and the pair did not become a real-life item till they worked together on the 1987 movie 'Bright Lights, Big City,' their relationship and subsequent marriage can be summed up by the equation their characters shared on the sitcom.
Pollan told People in 1986, "People got tired of all those glitzy, power-hungry people jumping in the sack. Alex and Ellen have an old-fashioned relationship. It's unjaded and optimistic with the sweetness of a first love."
The pair decided to get married in the year 1988 after realizing that they were madly in love. Thirty years on, the sweetness of first love still permeates their relationship.
After realizing how serious their relationship was, the couple tied the knot in an outdoor ceremony at Vermont's West Mountain Inn. They chose to have an interfaith ceremony with both a minister and a rabbi (Fox is Episcopalian and Pollan is Jewish).
Rev. Joan O'Gorman shared with People, "Michael seemed a little nervous. In fact, they seemed just like any other young and loving couple who were excited to be getting married".
The couple went on to have four children together - their first son Sam Michael was born on May 30 1989, twin girls Aquinnah Kathleen and Schuyler Frances arrived in 1995 and youngest daughter Esme was born in the year 2001.
Initially, while shooting 'Family Ties' the pair rarely spent time together off-set as they would usually rush to be with the people they were with at that time.
Pollan revealed to People that she would "fly home to Kevin the second filming shuts down." Kevin Bacon was her boyfriend of five years at the time. She and Bacon had met while doing a play in New York and also shared an apartment in Manhattan with him as well as a Connecticut farmhouse.
Tracy said of Kevin, "We will probably marry, but I feel like we're kids still, and marriage is such a grown-up thing. I'm gushingly in love".
Fox, who was dating Nancy McKeon then, said of his co-star then, "Tracy is really a fish out of water in L.A. She's so unassuming and natural that it is hard for her to fit in."
By the time they started seeing each other, Fox had become one of the biggest stars in Hollywood all because of his blockbuster 'Back to the Future'.
Fox told Oprah and O magazine in the year 2002, "Before Tracy and I started seeing each other, I was this boy prince of Hollywood. I had a Mercedes and a Ferrari and a Range Rover, and I was really nuts".
Fox told People, "I always thought [Tracy] was cool. but it was like a couple of married people who worked together and liked each other." There were many rumors suggesting that he was romantically linked to Courtney Cox who was playing the role of Alex's new girlfriend Lauren Miller but by that time he and Pollan were already an item.
"It's really funny. People always want to read there's romance when it's just two actors having a good time working with each other. I'm having a great personal relationship with Tracy and a great professional relationship with Courteney," Fox said in 1987.
It is believed that Fox and Pollan's relationship grew and developed when they were on the set of the movie 'Bright Lights, Big City' which released in the year 1988. In the year 2002, Pollan told Winfrey, "From the beginning, I loved his sense of humor and that brain of his. He's so smart."
Once Pollan's relationship with Bacon ended and Fox's relationship with Nancy McKeon was over, they couple were both free and Fox chose to pursue Pollan.
Fox revealed, "It sounds really horrible, but it was one of those things: someone goes, 'Did you hear that so-and-so aren't together anymore?' and you go, 'Hmm, that's too bad. Where's the phone?'"
Fox proposed to Pollan in 1987 after they had been dating for seven months and he recalled, "I wasn't really worried that she would say no."
"The toughest part was trying to figure out when to get married, and then to figure out how nobody else could know about it."
Apart from the media scrutiny, the pair had another reason to keep their life under wraps, as they had begun to receive threatening letters, the number of which sometimes reached to around 15 a day.
The letters were allegedly sent by Traci Marie Ledbetter, a young woman who was charged with making terroristic threats and was locked up for nine months while awaiting trial.
As a result of the messages, Fox resorted to tightening up his security and Pollan started to use an alias while traveling. However, they were determined to keep their life as normal as possible and finally tied he knot.
Ledbetter pleaded guilty to three counts of making terrorist threats and was sentenced to three years of probation and was ordered to stay away from the family.
After this threat cleared, the pair went about becoming parents and having a family, something which they both love.
When Pollan got pregnant with their son Sam Michael, Fox shared, "Tracy had a really good pregnancy, and it was a good delivery. Thank God, she was healthy and Sam was healthy. We did the whole womb music deal, where we put the headphones on Tracy's stomach and played everything from Vivaldi to the Allman Brothers."
Fox shared, "I kind of shut the door and said to everyone we love who wanted to see the baby, 'Just give us a little bit of time to get used to it ourselves.' What's interesting is that the parental instinct just kicks in. The next thing you know, you've got a sore hip because you're holding him all the time."
The couple welcomed twin daughters Aquinnah Kathleen Fox and Schuyler Phyllis Fox on Feb. 15, 1995, and youngest daughter Esmé Annabelle Fox on Nov. 3, 2001.
However, before the arrival of the twins, the Fox household was rocked by the diagnosis of the actor's Parkinson's disease.
He recalled on 'The Howard Stern Show' in 2013 about how he dealth with the news in the early days, "I used to drink to party, but...now I was drinking alone and to just not be [present]. Every day. So once I did that, then there was about a year of, like, a knife fight in a closet, where I just didn't have my tools to deal with it. Then after that, I went into therapy and it all started to get really clear to me."
Even Pollan shared with Winfrey how she "absolutely" had to adjust to her husband's illness.
"A lot of my adjustment has been dictated by Michael's point of view," she said. "He's so relaxed and so accepting of where he is, and that makes it easier for me, the kids, and everyone around him."
Fox shared, "When I was first diagnosed, my line to Tracy was 'It's going to be okay'—but I was really freaking out. I had no idea what Parkinson's was, and I was in denial. After the diagnosis, I didn't even get a neurologist. You've probably read in People that I'm a nice guy—but when the doctor first told me I had Parkinson's, I wanted to kill him. I thought, 'What a s--ty thing to say to somebody!' I just knew it was a mistake".
"So I started drinking a little more to keep from looking at it. I finally got to a pivotal point where I really worked on understanding it. About three years after I'd been diagnosed, I was okay—and that's when life got much better. Through it all we've loved each other," Fox said.
"And that love never died," Pollan added. "We had a solid foundation, to begin with." "It's like dog years!" Pollan said of their then-27-year marriage in 2015, telling People that "giving each other the benefit of the doubt" has been a huge factor in their marriage.
"There are so many times when you have arguments when you have things come up, and it really doesn't have anything to do with what he did, or said—it's how I am projecting that onto myself," Pollan continued.
"A lot of times he'll just say to me, 'You know who I am, would I ever say anything to try to hurt your feelings? Just give me the benefit of the doubt. He's an amazing father...he's one of the smartest people I know…and he's pretty cute still!"
We can say the same for their relationship.