Michael J Fox has said that being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease 20 years ago may have saved him from alcoholism and possibly divorce.

Speaking to the Guardian, the 52-year-old actor who shot to fame in eighties sitcom Family Ties and the Back to The Future movie series, said: "I don't think I could have curtailed my drinking without [the diagnosis], and maybe my wife and I would have drifted apart because of that. I don't know."

Fox paid tribute to his wife of 25 years Tracy Pollan whom he met when they appeared together on Family Ties. "I wouldn't be alive today if it weren't for Tracy, I don't doubt that. People picture Tracy as this paragon of stoicism, this long-suffering wife, and that's all bullshit," he said.

"This is my situation and she deals with it, and I never feel like, 'I'm sorry you have to put up with this' – it's nothing like that. When I told her about the Parkinson's I said to her, 'Are you in for this?' and she said, 'I'm in for it.' And that was it. It was still a struggle but that was a really great moment. She is so funny and she puts up with my happy idiot persona."

The actor is set to return in The Michael J Fox Show, his first sitcom since Spin City, the show he left in 2000 when his Parkinson's made it too complicated to continue. In the new show, which also stars Breaking Bad's Betsy Brandt, he plays Mike Henry, a news reader who retired five years previously because of Parkinson's and has now decided to return to work.