Demi Moore calls ex-husband Bruce Willis's wife 'family.' How rare is their bond?

Elise Solé
·4 min read

 

Anyone snooping for drama between Demi Moore and Emma Heming, who married Moore's ex-husband Bruce Willis, can search elsewhere. The women adore each other as "family."

On International Women's Day Moore dedicated an Instagram post to actress-model Heming, who wed Willis in 2009, nine years after his divorce from Moore was finalized. Heming and Willis share daughters Mabel, 8, and Evelyn, 6, and Moore and Willis share daughters Rumer, 32, Tallulah, 27, and Scout, 29.

"I #SeeHer as family who I am honored to call a friend," Moore wrote about Heming. "Our children are sisters and yet there is no name for what our family connection is to one another. We are mothers united, sisters bonded on this crazy adventure of life. Emma is a beautiful mother dedicated to her family, an absolutely gorgeous woman…" Moore also praised Punky Brewster actress Soleil Moon Frye for her "warmth, courage and openness."

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Heming responded by writing, "Well if this didn’t touch my soul. Thank you Demi I adore you too."

Although Moore, 57, and Willis, 65, split when their relationship cracked under the "huge magnifying glass" of fame (as he once said) and/or his uncertainty toward marriage (as she wrote in her 2019 memoir Inside Out), the two saw the bigger picture for their children. “I never had to split up vacations or split up birthdays,” Rumer once told Larry King of her parents's friendship. “They always made an effort to do all of the family events still together and made such an effort to still have our family be as one unit, as opposed to two separate things, which I think really made an impact.” The G.I. Jane actress attended Heming and Willis's 2019 vow renewal ceremony and last year, the two families quarantined together in Idaho.

As lovely as these friendships sounds, are they rare?

Vice president Kamala Harris has called Kerstin Emhoff (her husband Doug Emhoff's ex-wife) an "incredible mother" in an August essay for Elle. "Kerstin and I hit it off ourselves and are dear friends," she wrote. "She and I became a duo of cheerleaders in the bleachers at Ella’s swim meets and basketball games, often to Ella’s embarrassment. We sometimes joke that our modern family is almost a little too functional." And Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, whose "conscious uncoupling" in 2014 kicked off a friendship, including with their respective partners Brad Falchuk and Dakota Johnson.

Others maintain cordial relationships with their ex-partners, such as Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck, who divorced in 2018 after separating three years prior. Garner told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday that she no longer mourns a lost fantasy of dancing with Affleck at their daughter's future wedding (as she expressed to Vanity Fair in 2016). "When our kids get married, we'll dance, I know that now," said Garner. "We'll boogaloo and have a great time. I don't worry about that anymore." And Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen have a friendly co-parenting relationship with Bridget Moynahan, the mother of Brady's 13-year-old son.

According to C. Vaile Wright, a licensed psychologist and the senior director of healthcare innovation at the American Psychological Association, says there are incentives for people to remain friends with an ex-partner, such as to help co-parenting, work or family reputation. "But the circumstances of a breakup — financial mismanagement, infidelity, incompatibility — can also go into that decision," she tells Yahoo Life. She says the personality of each partner, whether they are "people pleasers" or conflict avoidant, could create a post-breakup friendship.

But befriending an ex — or his or her partner — is a decision that Wright says shouldn't be forced as the "mature" choice. She adds that friendship between a current and former partner can be easier if there's a substantial connection beyond the primary relationship.

However, ex-couples should not necessarily expect a platonic ending like in Hollywood or on social media. "Relationships ebb and flow and it might not have been so rosy at another point in time," says Wright. "It can be an unrealistic comparison."

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