Bruce Willis’ wife says actor might not be aware he has dementia

‘Die Hard’ star was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) earlier this year

Inga Parkel
Tuesday 26 September 2023 07:15 BST
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Family of Bruce Willis announce actor's 'painful' dementia diagnosis

Bruce Willis’s wife, Emma Heming Willis, has told her followers that there’s a chance the actor isn’t aware of his condition, six months after announcing he had been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

Last year, the 68-year-old Die Hard star’s family revealed that he would be “stepping away” from acting after he had been diagnosed with aphasia. In February, they later shared that his condition had progressed into FTD.

During an appearance on NBC’s Today show on Monday (25 September), Emma, 47, opened up about how Willis’s diagnosis has affected the family.

“What I’m learning is that dementia is hard. It’s hard on the person diagnosed. It’s also hard on the family. And that is no different for Bruce or myself or our girls,” she said. “And when they say that this is a family disease, it really is.”

Emma and Willis, who got married in 2009, share two young daughters, Mabel Ray, 11, and Evelyn Penn, nine. Willis has three older daughters, Rumer Glenn, 35, Scout LaRue, 32 and Tallulah Belle, 29, whom he shares with ex-wife, GI Jane actor Demi Moore.

Asked by co-host Hoda Kotb if Willis was aware of his condition, Emma responded: “Hard to know.”

The former British model and entrepreneur further detailed how Willis’s diagnosis has impacted her.

Bruce Willis and Emma Heming Willis

“I think it was the blessing and the curse,” she said, explaining that it’s been a relief to finally understand what’s happening to him, despite it being painful.

“Just being in the know of what is happening to Bruce just makes it a little bit easier,” Emma said.

Ending on a positive note, she said that Willis is “the gift that keeps on giving”.

“Love, patience, resilience, so much,” Emma said. “Bruce would really want us to be in the joy of what is, he would really want that for me and our family.”

Emma has been vocal in raising awareness for dementia on social media and frequently hosts Instagram live chats with health experts and fellow carers.

When she first announced Willis’s “cruel disease”, in a joint statement with the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration, Emma described it as “the most common form of dementia”.

“And because getting the diagnosis can take years, FTD is likely much more prevalent than we know,” she said. “Today there are no treatments for the disease, a reality that we hope can change in the years ahead. 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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