With his wife in a nursing home, Michael began taking classes in health care at St. Petersburg Junior College. He eventually became a certified respiratory therapist and a registered nurse. Michael today works in an emergency room at a hospital in Florida.
He has said his own mother's death from cancer helped him come to terms with death and dying. In 1998, Michael began to petition the court for the removal of the feeding tube that had kept Terri alive for eight years.
In Tuesday's interview with Chris Bury on ABC News' "Nightline," Michael commented on the allegations that removing Terri's feeding tube would be a cruel act.
"Death through removing somebody's nutrition is very painless," he said. "That has been brought to the courts many ... times. Doctors have come in and testified. It is a very painless procedure."
Terri's feeding tube was removed in 2001, but a judge ordered her feeding resumed two days later following a new lawsuit filed by the Schindlers.
The following year, a judge again ordered the tube removed, and again the Schindlers filed an appeal, which resulted in the tube being replaced after six days.
Michael, now 41, lives with Jodi Centonze, a 40-year-old resident of the Clearwater, Fla., area. According to reports, she occasionally accompanies Michael when he visits Terri.
Michael and Centonze have two children together, a fact that the Schindlers have cited as proof of Michael's lack of devotion to his wife, a charge that Michael angrily denies.
When asked on CNN's "Larry King Live" why he doesn't simply divorce his wife, Michael said, "This is Terri's wish, this is Terri's choice. And I'm going to follow that wish if it's the last thing I can do for Terri."