Michael J. Fox Shares the Secret to His and Wife Tracy Pollan's 35-Year Marriage (Exclusive)

The couple shares four children.

Michael J. Fox has been happy and in love for more than three decades. In an interview with ET's Rachel Smith, the 61-year-old actor opens up about the secret to his marriage with Tracy Pollan, which he calls "the best 35 years of my life."

"We give each other space to make mistakes. Always remember that. Don't perceive slights," he says. "... That's what's beautiful about marriage, it's us two."

Over the years, Fox and Pollan welcomed four "beautiful kids," Sam, 33, Schuyler, 28, Aquinnah, 28, and Esmé, 21.

Through it all, Pollan has been the secret ingredient for Fox, who tells ET he'd "be dead" without his better half.

It wasn't always easy, though, something that's explored in Apple TV+'s new documentary, Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie. When Fox first moved to the U.S., before he met Pollan, "it was a tough few years" for him.

"We didn't have a lot of money. I was dumpster diving because I knew the grocery store would throw baked goods out. We'd steal jam and peanut butter from the IHOP or Denny's. It was a tough existence," he says. "But in a relatively short period of time I was famous and I was the biggest movie star in the world... It was crazy. It made no sense."

At the height of his career success, Fox met Pollan on the set of Family Ties.

"There's a scene in the film where I am kind of a bit of a jerk, which I'm happy they showed," he says of the documentary. "Tracy kind of steered me in the right direction. And then we got married."

Shortly thereafter, Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, and then, as he puts it, "it got interesting." One way he dealt with his health issues was by using alcohol.

"I was just clearly using alcohol to cover the disease," Fox, who hasn't had a drink in 30 years, says. "... I had a really difficult time, but the reason I shared this is this is part of the deal."

Also part of the deal was learning to laugh amid the pain, which, Fox admits is sometimes "hard." 

"Laughing is always my first response to anything," he says. "... It's just looking for joy in things. It helps to have a family that [supports you]."

Ultimately, his diagnosis "turned into the best thing."

"All of a sudden I was part of a community, a family of people who had the same disease," he says. "They certainly get through it. It changed my life. It made me."

After being diagnosed with Parkinson's, Fox started his foundation, which has raised more than $2 billion to date. That impressive number is not how Fox views his legacy, though.

"The thing I think my legacy is, and I'm really grateful for, is the fact that there's a woman from 25 years ago who couldn't go shopping because she couldn't speak properly, and she couldn't find change in her purse, and she was afraid people would think bad things about her, like she was drunk and that kind of stigma. [I get to] take that pressure off people," he says. "They say, 'He has it. I know him. I know that you're going through [this]. That's huge."

Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie premieres Friday, May 12 on Apple TV+.