This June, Michael J. Fox will celebrate his milestone 60th birthday. According to an OK! source, the beloved actor has been looking back at his extraordinary life and sharing his story with friends.
"It hasn't been easy, and there have been dark days, but Michael's gotten through it," the source tells OK!. "He says hope — and his family — keep him strong."
In the '80s, Fox became one of Hollywood's biggest stars thanks to roles in films like Back to the Future and hit shows like Family Ties. Then in 1991 — not long after he wed wife Tracy Pollan, 60 — he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
"At first, he thought it had to be a mistake," says the source, explaining that Fox turned to alcohol after learning the news, which put a strain on his marriage. "After one bender, Tracy confronted him and basically said either he gets sober or she gets a divorce."
Fox, who will turn 60 on June 9, listened. "In an ironic twist, Parkinson's only made his marriage stronger," spills the source, noting that Pollan has been his rock. "She doesn't let him lie around feeling sorry for himself. She's a tough-love taskmaster, and she says what she means, not what she thinks he wants to hear."
Adds the source, "Tracy's helped him through the ups and downs."
In fact, the insider notes it's Pollan's love that compelled Fox to fight for a cure. Today, through his eponymous foundation, the father-of-four (the couple shares son Sam, 31, and daughters Aquinnah and Schuyler, both 26, and Esmé, 19) has helped raise over $800 million to help put an end to Parkinson's.
"Michael refuses to give up," shares the source. "There may not be a cure in his lifetime, but he's optimistic that with more evolutionary research, others will benefit. He won't stop fighting."