What Happened Between Michael J. Fox And Courteney Cox?

American actor Courteney Cox may best be known for her role as Monica Geller on NBC's hit sitcom "Friends." Although the series skyrocketed her and her castmates to lifelong fame back in the early '90s, Cox was arguably the most well-known cast member of the show when it started. This is largely because of her a recurring role she held on another NBC sitcom, "Family Ties," from 1987 to 1989. There, she played Lauren Miller, girlfriend of teenage protagonist Alex P. Keaton, portrayed by Michael J. Fox

The relationship between Alex, a business-minded Young Republican, and Lauren, a feminist liberal psychology major, ended in Season 7 (1989), when Alex had an affair with a music major while Lauren is out of town. Their relationship — and subsequent breakup — in fact became so iconic that it was even nominated for a TV Land award in 2007 for "Break Up That Was So Bad It Was Good" (it lost to Ted Danson and Shelley Long in "Cheers.")

Unsurprisingly, Cox and Fox's performances were so convincing that it led many to wonder what was really happening between the two in real life – were the two really dating off screen? Or were they simply friends? Well, the rumors were unsurprising, given what happened between Fox and another on-screen girlfriend. Nevertheless, neither of them hesitated to clear the air. 

Rumors of a Fox/Cox relationship were strong in the '80s

Naturally, as soon as Lauren Miller and Alex P. Keaton shacked up on "Family Ties" in 1987, fans of the show were eager to know what was going on between Michael J. Fox — who was already dating another "Family Ties" co-star, Tracy Pollan – and Courteney Cox. In fact, People reported the moment she started her role, rumors swirled tenfold of a romance between Cox and Fox — leaving Pollan in the midst of it all. But did any of this really happen? Well, both actors were quick to set the record straight: they were just friends. 

"People always want to read there's romance when it's just two actors having a good time working with each other," Fox told People at the time. "I'm having a great personal relationship with Tracy and a great professional relationship with Courteney." 

Cox, for her part, agreed, even adding that she was never one for partying to begin with (except for that time she threw one of Malibu's most lavish dinner parties!). "I've never been to a nightclub with Michael," she said. "I've never even been to some of the clubs the tabloids named. Even my stepfather called me up and said, 'So, I hear you're busy for Thanksgiving.'" Of course, she had no plans with Fox, despite the tabloid rumors being so widespread that they even convinced some of her own family. 

Michael J. Fox's wife is another on-screen girlfriend

Although no romance between Courteney Cox and Michael J. Fox ever translated off-screen, there may be a reason for that: Fox was dating another "Family Ties" co-star at the time, someone who he felt so strongly about that their relationship has lasted nearly 35 years. 

In "Family Ties," it was Tracy Pollan who portrayed the other main love interest for Alex P. Keaton: Ellen Reed, who was introduced at the beginning of Season 4 in 1985. Unlike the rumors about Cox and Fox, however, any speculation fans might have had about he and Pollan certainly had some substance to them; according to E! Online, Fox and Pollan started dating around May 1987, and got married only a year later. The two now have four children, and remain a couple to this day. 

Fox and Pollan have even spoken out about what makes them such a strong couple. "Every day we have something we laugh about for a good two minutes," Fox told People of the secret to their long marriage in 2020. Pollan, for her part, said in 2018, "Just give each other the benefit of the doubt. He assumes I'm doing the best I can." So, rest assured to many a concerned fan, Fox and Cox were never more than friends; this is likely why Fox and Pollan's marriage remains so strong after all these years, and will surely last many years to come.