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Michael J. Fox Jokes He Was a 'Fake Yawn and Arm Stretch Away' from Princess Diana at “Back to the Future ”Premiere (Exclusive)

Michael J. Fox Jokes He Was a 'Fake Yawn and Arm Stretch Away' from Princess Diana at “Back to the Future ”Premiere (Exclusive)

The actor, who is one of 11 cover stars featured on PEOPLE's 50th anniversary issue, recalls sitting next to the royal as one of the "surreal" moments in his career

Fame quickly became "surreal" for Michael J. Fox.

Speaking with PEOPLE for the magazine's 50th anniversary, the actor looked back at his rise to stardom in Hollywood, including a royal encounter at the London premiere of Back to the Future in December 1985.

"It all got so crazy," Fox, 62, says. "There's nothing I could think of that wouldn't happen."

"With the royal premiere of Back to the Future, I sat next to Princess Diana," he continues. "I realized if I was like a fake yawn and an arm stretch away from being on a date with her. That one, and just moments like that, were so surreal."

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The late Princess of Wales, who died in a 1997 car crash in Paris, wore a velvet evening gown by Catherine Walker to the event, accentuating the low-cut back with a knotted pearl necklace — and apparently was a fan of the film.

"She seemed to laugh a couple of times — she wasn’t booing it," Fox said on a 2020 appearance on  The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Keystone/Getty Princess Diana at the London premiere of 'Back to the Future' in December 1985
Keystone/Getty Princess Diana at the London premiere of 'Back to the Future' in December 1985

Related: Michael J. Fox Laughs and Reflects on What He's Learned Through His Incredible Journey: 'You Can Do Anything'

The Family Ties actor also tells PEOPLE on how the entertainment industry has changed in the decades since he first entered show business.

"There’s an expression I referred to when they gave me an honorary Academy Award — somebody said to me the day before, they were talking about getting this award and being famous and they said ‘You’re ‘80s famous,' " Fox says. "I thought, 'Wow, that’s cool. ‘80s famous. Right, we were different.' "

He continues, “We were tougher. We didn’t have social media, we didn’t have any of that crap. We were just famous. Left to our own resources. And it was an amazing time."

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Amblin Entertainment/Universal Pictures/Kobal/Shutterstock Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
Amblin Entertainment/Universal Pictures/Kobal/Shutterstock Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'

When asked if being famous in the ‘80s was “harder” than it is now, Fox responds, “Well, you had to be talented. That helped.”

For more on our 50th Anniversary, check out our special digital issue and pick up the latest copy of PEOPLE, on newsstands April 12.

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Read the original article on People.