Emma Heming Willis has shared that “it’s hard to know” if her husband, action star Bruce Willis, is aware of his frontotemporal dementia diagnosis.
“Dementia is hard,” Heming Willis said on “Today” as part of the first TV interview she has given since her husband’s diagnosis. “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. When they say this is a family disease, it really is.”
Heming Willis went on to say the diagnosis has been “the blessing and the curse,” adding that their family now has a better understanding of what Bruce Willis is going through. “It doesn’t make it any less painful, but… just being in the know of what is happening to Bruce makes it a little easier,” she said.
The founder of the wellness company Make Time Wellness, which focuses on women’s mental health, was joined by the CEO of the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration, Susan Dickinson. On Monday, the two went on “Today” to raise awareness for World Frontotemporal Dementia Awareness Week.
Dickinson explained that FTD differs from Alzheimer’s in a few ways, predominately because it targets the language processing areas of the brain instead of those involved in memory. She noted it can affect “speech, behaviors, personality and what we call executive functioning.”
In March of last year, Bruce Willis’ family announced he had been diagnosed with aphasia and that he was retiring from acting. In February of this year, they told the public Willis had also been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia.
Prior to his official diagnoses, there were signs that something was wrong with the critically acclaimed, fan favorite actor. As far back as 2020, Willis allegedly fired a gun that was loaded with a blank on the wrong cue on the set of “Hard Kill.” No one was injured during the incident. Additionally, during the filming of “Out of Death,” director Mike Burns wrote an email saying that Willis’ dialogue needed to be cut so that it no longer included monologues. During his final years working on sets, the actors’ lines were fed to him using an earwig, which is not an uncommon practice for many performers.
Bruce Willis is currently in the care of his family.