Bruce Willis’s Wife Calls Out Paparazzi for Yelling at Him After Dementia Diagnosis

<span class="caption">Bruce Willis’s Wife Calls Out Paparazzi’s Behavior</span><span class="photo-credit">Toni Anne Barson - Getty Images</span>
Bruce Willis’s Wife Calls Out Paparazzi’s BehaviorToni Anne Barson - Getty Images

Early in 2022, Bruce Willis’s family revealed that the beloved actor, of Die Hard, The Sixth Sense, and Armageddon fame, had been diagnosed with aphasia, a brain condition that affects communication. Less than a year later, his family shared an update on Willis’s health—he has officially been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

Just weeks after that announcement, Willis’s wife, Emma Heming Willis, posted an Instagram video calling out paparazzi for poor treatment of her husband. “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 to navigate them safely,” Heming Willis said. “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.”

She had one simple request: “Just keep your space.” Her video came on the heels of Willis—who rarely makes public appearances now—getting coffee with friends in Santa Monica. “Please don’t be yelling at my husband, asking him how he’s doing,” Heming Willis continued. “The woo-hooing and the yippee-ki-yays—just don’t do it.” She finished by clarifying that this is important for Willis’s well-being. “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,” she said. Watch the full video on Instagram here.

When Willis’s family announced his dementia diagnosis in February, they shared a full statement on the website for the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration. In it, the family thanks Willis’s fans for their support during the initial diagnosis of aphasia: “Your generosity of spirit has been overwhelming, and we are tremendously grateful for it.”

The statement then gives the health update, noting that FTD is the most common form of dementia and there are currently no treatments. However, Willis’s family is hoping that sharing this news—albeit heart-wrenching—will move the needle on finding treatment. “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.”

His family writes that speaking up was always an important trait to Willis. “Bruce always believed in using his voice in the world to help others, and to raise awareness about important issues both publicly and privately,” the statement says. “We know in our hearts that—if he could today—he would want to respond by bringing global attention and a connectedness with those who are also dealing with this debilitating disease and how it impacts so many individuals and their families.”

Many are already familiar with dementia, a condition linked with memory loss and trouble communicating. According to Mayo Clinic, FTD is “characterized by the breakdown of nerve cells and their connections in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.” It can affect “behavior, personality, thinking, judgment, and language and movement.”

Willis’s health update comes directly from Heming Willis and his two children with her, Mabel and Evelyn, as well as his ex-wife, actress Demi Moore, and their children, Rumer, Scout, and Tallulah.

demi moore's 'inside out' book party
Willis and Emma Heming Willis are seen with his ex-wife, Demi Moore, and their daughters, Rumer, Scout, and Tallulah, back in 2019.Stefanie Keenan - Getty Images

While Willis and Moore divorced in 2000, the two have maintained a close relationship (and even quarantined together back in 2020). It’s heartwarming to see the two sides of Willis’s family come together as a united front, with each posting the same image of Willis along with pieces of the statement on Instagram.

“While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis,” each caption says.

The statement ended with a few sentiments about Willis. “Bruce has always found joy in life—and has helped everyone he knows to do the same. It has meant the world to see that sense of care echoed back to him and to all of us. We have been so moved by the love you have all shared for our dear husband, father, and friend during this difficult time. Your continued compassion, understanding, and respect will enable us to help Bruce live as full a life as possible.”

We’re keeping the entire Willis family in our thoughts in light of this difficult news.

You Might Also Like