This post has been updated since its original publication date to include new info
Bruce Willis’ wife Emma Heming Willis, 44, has given an emotional update on her husband’s health status following his heartbreaking dementia diagnosis. The Die Hard alum, 68, was diagnosed with aphasia in March 2022, and announced his retirement from acting. In February this year, it was revealed that his condition progressed to frontotemporal dementia, according to a statement made by his wife, ex-wife Demi Moore, 60, and his five daughters.
Speaking with certified dementia practitioner Ty Lewis in an Instagram Live interview about supporting caregivers, Heming Willis spoke about how people are reacting to her husband’s heartbreaking condition, as well as how she is coping on a day to day basis.
Bruce Willis’ Wife Opens Up On Instagram Live
Heming Willis said that people still seem to be “nervous” to visit the actor because they don’t know how to deal with his condition or what to expect, saying: “Maybe people are nervous about coming around. They’re not used to seeing the person they knew in a different state. That can get a little tricky.” She added: “Once they get this diagnosis, people tend to write them off.”
She then said that despite having some low moments, she likes to stay positive, confessing: “I have times when I’m in it to win it and times when I can’t focus due to life. It’s so easy to get into the doom and gloom of what went wrong so it’s really about flipping the script and changing that self-talk.” She then revealed that she tries to start and end the day with “gratitude,” adding, “things I want to make time for in my day, and when I go to bed, I think of three things I got right. Turning my pain into purpose is the vibe that I’m leading with.”
In another recent video, Heming Willis revealed how their youngest daughter Evelyn, 9, had been trying to learn more about dementia, and ways in which the family can help the actor. “So I have to tell you this story, and I’m going to try and do it without crying because when Evelyn told me this story, I was an absolute puddle,” she began, before revealing that their daughter had researched “fun facts about dementia” and discovered that people suffering from the disease “can become severely dehydrated.”
“So I said to her, ‘Evelyn, we will always make sure daddy has a bottle of water in hand. Thank you for letting me know. But that is the most loving and compassionate thing that you can do is to be curious and educate yourself on your dad’s disease,'” she continued. In a second video, Emma added: “It really is one of the most loving and compassionate things we can do as caregivers, as friends and family, is to educate ourselves about our loved one’s diseases so we can best show up for them and support them in the best way possible. Keep educating yourself, stay curious and remember to hydrate your loved ones.”
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Bruce Willis’ Family’s February 2023 Statement About His Worsening Dementia
In an Instagram post shared by the ‘Ladies of Willis/Moore,’ the family shared a sweet image of the Pulp Fiction star posing on a beach with a smile. In the caption, they wrote, “Our family wanted to start by expressing our deepest gratitude for the incredible outpouring of love, support and wonderful stories we have all received since sharing Bruce’s original diagnosis. In the spirit of that, we wanted to give you an update about our beloved husband, father and friend since we now have a deeper understanding of what he is experiencing.”
They continued, writing, “Since we announced Bruce’s diagnosis of aphasia in spring 2022, Bruce’s condition has progressed and we now have a more specific diagnosis: frontotemporal dementia (known as FTD). Unfortunately, challenges with communication are just one symptom of the disease Bruce faces. While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis.”
Willis shares two daughters; Mabel, 11, and Evelyn, 9, with his wife Emma, whom he married in 2009. He was previously married to Moore from 1987 to 2000, and they share three daughters; Rumer, 34, Scout, 31, and Tallulah, 29.
What Is Frontotemporal Dementia?
As reported by NBC News, frontotemporal dementia, or FTD, refers to a “collection of disorders that primarily affect the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.” The diseases that fall under this umbrella are “neurodegenerative,” meaning they get worse over time.
Generally, there are two subdiagnoses, according to Dr. Paul Barton Rosenberg, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the John Hopkins School of Medicine who sat down with the publication to explain this more.
“One is a behavioral variant, where people can have a change in their personality and lose their inhibitions and social graces,” Rosenberg said. “Another is primary progressive aphasia, where people have trouble finding words or expressing themselves.” Symptoms of frontotemporal dementia, the outlet notes, include changes in behavior, language and communication.
Since Willis’ initial diagnosis announcement and current update from his family, the Golden Globe winner and longtime actor continues to garner support and well wishes from fans and famous friends.