The wife of the legendary Die Hard star Bruce Willis could not help but become emotional as she gave fans a sad update about his dementia battle on Monday morning.
Bruce Willis’ wife Emma shares heartbreaking update on husband’s dementia diagnosis pic.twitter.com/h2oTj28bhe
— Daily Star (@dailystar) September 24, 2023
‘Dementia Is Hard’
Emma Heming Willis, 45, announced back in February that Bruce, 68, had been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), which is a rare form of dementia. While appearing on the “Today” show, Emma opened up about the “grief and the sadness” that she feels watching her husband succumb to the disease.
“What I’m learning is that dementia is hard,” Emma said, according to Daily Mail. “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. And when they say that this is a family disease, it really is.”
Emma and Bruce are parents to daughters Mabel, 11, and Evelyn, 8. When asked how she explains Bruce’s illness to their children, Emma replied, “I think it’s always been… we’re a very honest and open household.”
“And, the most important thing was to be able for us to say what the disease was, explain what it is because when you know what the disease is from a medical standpoint it sort of all makes sense,” she continued. “So it was important that we let them know what it is because, you know, I don’t want there to be any stigma or shame attached to their dad’s diagnosis, or for any form of dementia.”
When asked if Bruce is aware that he has dementia, Emma paused before admitting that it is “hard to know.”
Bruce Willis’s Wife Says ‘Hard to Know’ How Aware He Is of Dementia Diagnosis Bruce Willis’s wife, Emma Heming, just revealed how severe her husband’s condition is as it pertains to his dementia … and it sounds worse than what people might’ve realized. Emma went on ‘Today’ M… pic.twitter.com/3zItk5MeBD
— Let’s Talk About Dis Shidd (@MrsBarnesII) September 25, 2023
‘The Blessing And The Curse’
Despite how hard it is to care for Bruce, Emma said that receiving an official diagnosis made things “easier.”
“I think it was the blessing and the curse. You know, to sort of finally understand what was happening so that I can be into the acceptance of what is,” she said. “It doesn’t make it any less painful, but just being in the acceptance and just being in the know of what is happening to Bruce just makes it a little bit easier.”
“There is so many beautiful things happening in our lives,” she continued. “It is just really important for me to look up from the grief and the sadness so that I can see what is happening around us.”
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Emma believes that Bruce is teaching his daughters many lessons when it comes to his dementia battle.
“Honestly, he is the gift that keeps on giving. Love, patience, resilience, so much…” she said. “And he’s teaching me and our whole… I mean, you know, for me to be out here doing this, this is not my comfort zone, but this is the power of Bruce.”
Emma prefers to call herself Bruce’s “care partner” rather than his “caretaker.”
“It’s so important to ask for help and support. And you can look to organizations like the AFTD, like Hilarity For Charity… it is sort of a great starting point,” she explained. “And it’s important for care partners to look after themselves so that they can be the best care, partner for the person that they’re caring for.”
Check out Emma’s full interview in the video below.
Exclusive: In honor of World Frontotemporal Dementia Awareness week, Bruce Willis’ wife Emma Heming Willis speaks to @hodakotb about the condition in her first interview since his diagnosis.
“It was the blessing and the curse,” Emma said of receiving Bruce’s diagnosis. pic.twitter.com/VY5yhVjZIf
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) September 25, 2023
Bruce Retires From Acting
Bruce retired from acting last year, saying that he was doing so due to an illness that caused his language skills to deteriorate, and his family announced back in February that his condition had “progressed.”
“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,” they said at the time. “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.”
“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),” the statement added. “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.”
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) March 30, 2022
This is clearly a very difficult time for Bruce and his entire family. Please join us in saying a prayer for them as he continues to battle dementia.
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