It felt like a family therapy session as Demi Moore and two of her daughters, Rumer and Tallulah Willis, appeared as guests on Monday’s Red Table Talk.
Taking a seat with Jada Pinkett Smith and company, the women — sans Scout — spoke about many of the revelations in Moore’s memoir, Inside Out, including the Ghost star’s relapse after 20 years of sobriety, her doomed marriage to Ashton Kutcher and, as a result of both, their estrangement from her.
Moore’s daughters with Bruce Willis talked about growing up not really knowing their gorgeous movie star mom because she kept so many secrets about her troubled childhood. They also said they adopted her insecurities — “If my mom doesn’t love herself, how can I?” Rumer recalled thinking — and later, her addictions.
Moore’s daughters say their mother was unrecognizable during her marriage to Kutcher. The G.I. Jane star described herself as “addicted” to the younger actor — and admitted giving up 20 years of sobriety to be the girl she thought he wanted by drinking with him and later having threesomes to fulfill his sexual fantasies. Moore’s addiction spiraled as that marriage fell apart, and she was taking up to 12 Vicodin a day.
“She relapsed when I was 9,” Tallulah, 25, recalled, “and no one in our family spoke about it. She had been sober my entire childhood, then she drank — and then I just knew that I was scared and she wasn’t safe.” That led to many years of Moore “saying she was sober [but] she wasn’t.” And the adults around them lied to mask Moore’s addiction. “If she wasn’t sober, they would tell us she was,” leading to “a complete lack of trust” between them.
Rumer talked about watching the “infallible woman” who raised them and was “always in control” suddenly “not be in control around a man.” She said watching her mother during her relationship with Kutcher made her think: “Who is this person? I don’t know who this is.”
Tallulah was the lone Willis sister living with her mother at the height of Moore’s addiction.
“Watching the behavior with Ashton in those years, because everybody left the house and it was just me living there, I felt very forgotten. And I developed and nurtured a narrative that she didn’t love me — and I truly believed it. And I know that she does — 100 percent — but in that moment, you’re hurt. And you can’t fathom that someone that loves you would do that to you and would choose others more than you.”
Tallulah described her mother’s addiction by saying, “It was like the sun went down and a monster came.” She said she could immediately tell when Moore wasn’t sober because her eyes would flutter around and she’d become more affectionate. Though, conversely, Moore would also have outbursts and become very angry, yelling at Tallulah in front of her friends.
“It was not the mom that we had grown up with,” she said.
Rumer recalled her mother’s struggle trying to conceive with Kutcher — and said her desperation to make it happen stung. Moore wrote in her book that she lost a baby at six months and blamed herself, which led to her going deeper into her addiction.
“So much of that time, especially with Ashton, I was so angry, because I felt like something that was mine had been taken away,” Rumer said of her mom. “She wanted to have another baby and then it wasn’t happening and there was so much focus on that [I felt]: ‘We’re not enough?’ Part of the reason I moved out of the house was after [Demi’s miscarriage] I just like, ‘Why are you so desperate to have another kid?’”
Rumer admitted that when she saw the photo of Moore nearly six months pregnant with Kutcher’s baby, which she ultimately lost, her attitude changed.
“I saw how big her stomach was, and I was like: Oh, my god. I was so insensitive. I never once went to you and said, ‘I’m so sorry. Are you OK?’”
Moore’s raging addiction led to her eventually becoming estranged from her daughters. Tallulah and Scout didn’t speak to her for three years, while Rumer popped in and out of her mom’s life. Rumer recalled being with Moore, after her split from Kutcher, when she had a seizure at a party after smoking synthetic marijuana and using nitrous oxide.
“I was there in the other room with 911, panicking, because I’m like: Whether my mom’s gonna die and I’m not going to be in the room and I’m gonna feel the guilt of that for the rest of my life — or I’m gonna be there and see this image of my mom that I will never get out of my head,” Rumer recalled of the scare.
Soon after, Rumer took her mother to rehab, describing it as the “scariest thing I ever had to do in my life.” Moore will be sober eight years in January.
Rumer said that it took her mother a long time to be candid with them about her addiction — and that led to repercussions with her and her sisters.
“I remember having a lot of frustration towards you and the times you called going away to treatment ‘camp,’” Rumer said.
Rumer also admitted that she abused alcohol before getting sober. She also spoke about problems with love addiction and co-dependency. She said there’s “a lot of the stuff with men” that her mother had that she is also dealing with. At times she’s felt “unlovable.”
Tallulah talked about almost dying from alcohol poisoning after she started drinking as a teen. She discussed later turning to cocaine and codeine to dull her pain, resulting in an incident when Scout couldn’t wake her up. “I had no regard my my life,” she admitted. She realized many of her problems stemmed from her relationship and estrangement from her mother and moved back in with Moore, going to rehab soon after.
Moore said that during her estrangement from her daughters, “I did a lot of reaching out and no one [was] responding,” she said. She said through therapy she learned she hadn’t addressed her own problems — with her mother and childhood — and as a result, her kids were “carrying the weight of my issue.”
She added, “I did a disservice by not letting them see me weak. I think we need to show them not just our strength but how we process to get through disappointment, upset, hurt.”
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