The 79-year-old actor wed actress Patricia Haines when he was just 22 and he admits he was unable to cope when their daughter Dominique was born.
He said: "I wish I'd known that if you fall in love, you don't have to marry. I fell in love with Patricia Haines and we were married a few weeks later.
"I sometimes got small jobs on television - just walk-on parts, no dialogue - but gave up acting work because Pat was more talented and had more chance of success. I began a long line of soul-destroying jobs.
"I worked in a laundry, I washed up in a restaurant and had a stint as a plumber's mate.
"Pat became pregnant and we had our wonderful daughter Dominique, who is now 56. But it was the wonderful straw that broke an already very weak camel's back.
"I walked out of the marriage. The marriage breakdown was entirely my fault. I was too young and immature to take on the poverty and personal and professional failure."
Michael - who has been married to second wife Shakira for 39 years - had to rely on his parents for help after he split from Patricia.
And 'The Dark Knight Rises' star will always be grateful for the support his mother Ellen and father Maurice gave him.
He added to The Sun newspaper: "I collapsed like a house of cards. I was out of work, had no money and was forced, at the age of 23, to return to the council house where I'd lived with my mum and dad and rely on their generosity again."