Bruce Willis' wife asks paparazzi to 'keep your space' in wake of his dementia diagnosis

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Bruce Willis' wife, Emma Heming Willis, is pleading with paparazzi for space as her husband deals with dementia.

Less than three weeks after the actor's family announced that Willis' condition had progressed from an initial aphasia diagnosis and been identified as frontotemporal dementia, Heming Willis called out photographers and videographers over a recent incident in which Willis, 67, was snapped while meeting friends for coffee in Los Angeles.

"If you are someone who is looking after someone with dementia, you know how difficult and stressful it can be to get someone out into the world and just to navigate them safely, even just to get a cup of coffee," she said in an Instagram video posted over the weekend. "So in the spirit of raising awareness about dementia, it's clear that there's still a lot of education that needs to be put forth. So this one is going out to the photographers and the video people that are trying to get those exclusives of my husband out and about. Just keep your space."

Bruce Willis and Emma Heming Willis
Bruce Willis and Emma Heming Willis

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Bruce Willis and Emma Heming Willis

Heming Willis, who has been married to Willis since 2009, continued: "I know this is your job, but maybe just keep your space. For the video people, please don't be yelling at my husband, asking him how he's doing, or whatever. The woo-hooing and the yippee-ki-yays — just don't do it, okay? Give him his space. Allow for our family or whoever's with him that day to be able to get him from point A to point B safely. That's my PSA."

Willis' family announced last year that he was "stepping away" from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia. Last month the family provided an update, noting that the Die Hard and Moonlighting star's condition had advanced and he had received a more specific diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia.

According to the National Institute on Aging, frontotemporal dementia, or FTD, results from damage to neurons in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. Symptoms can include "unusual behaviors, emotional problems, trouble communicating, difficulty with work, or difficulty with walking."

In their announcement last month, Willis' family — including his ex-wife Demi Moore and children Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel, and Evelyn — gave thanks for "the outpouring of love and compassion for Bruce" since his initial diagnosis and reiterated their desire to raise awareness for FTD. "Today there are no treatments for the disease, a reality that we hope can change in the years ahead," they said. "As Bruce's condition advances, we hope that any media attention can be focused on shining a light on this disease that needs far more awareness and research."

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