Bruce Willis’ Family Shares Sad News About The Retired Actor’s Health Diagnosis
Feb 28, 2023 by apost team
Since Bruce Willis's family announced he was retiring from acting in March 2022 after being diagnosed with aphasia, they have all banded together around him to love and support him through his difficult transition. Now, they have come together once again to break the devastating news that the actor has also been diagnosed with dementia.
Bruce is one of the most legendary Hollywood actors of all time. He is most famous for his roles in action films but has also shown to have quite a diverse set of talents, appearing in films and television shows in a variety of genres and even showing off his skills as a singer. On top of that, Bruce is also adored for his amazing qualities as a husband and father.
Born Walter Bruce Willis on Mar. 19, 1955, in Idar-Oberstein, Germany, Bruce had his breakthrough in 1985 with the TV series "Moonlighting," and has since appeared in many films. Some of his most loved performances include in the films "Pulp Fiction," "Armageddon," "The Sixth Sense" and – most memorably – his portrayal of John McClane in the "Die Hard" franchise.
In his private life, Bruce had some ups and downs when it came to finding love. Bruce first married actress Demi Moore in 1987, and the two had three daughters together: Rumer Willis, Scout Willis and Tallulah Willis. Although the couple was regarded as a Hollywood powerhouse at the time, Bruce and Moore divorced in 2000. They, however, remained good friends and great co-parents ever since.
In 2009, Bruce married model Emma Heming and the couple has two daughters together, Mabel and Evelyn Penn. Since his aphasia diagnosis, Bruce's big blended family constantly surrounds him with love and joy, as seen through their social media posts.
Bruce has been a pivotal figure in the acting world for more than 40 years, which is why fans and loved ones were left heartbroken when they heard the news that he was retiring from the field. During his acting career, Bruce appeared in a variety of films and television shows. Some of his most popular films include "Pulp Fiction," "Armageddon," "The Sixth Sense," "Looper" and the "Die Hard" franchise.
As John McClane, Bruce shaped the image of the American action hero. The dirty undershirt he wore as the character actually turned into a piece of cultural property and can now be seen in the National Museum of American History.
In his private life, Bruce had some ups and downs when it came to finding love. He married two times and is the father of five daughters. Bruce first married actress Demi Moore in 1987, and the two had three daughters together: Rumer, Scout and Tallulah. Although the couple was regarded as a Hollywood powerhouse at the time, the marriage was not working out behind closed doors. Bruce and Moore divorced in 2000, but they have remained good friends and great co-parents ever since.
In 2009, Bruce married his second wife, model Emma Heming. Some of his wedding guests even included his ex-wife and her then-husband, Ashton Kutcher. To this day, Bruce and Heming are still happily married and have two daughters together, Mabel and Evelyn Penn.
In 2012, Bruce opened up to Esquire about five key principles of his parenting code.
"Sometimes I have to resist the urge to speak," Bruce said. "I learned it from dealing with my kids. That's my number-one rule."
Bruce added the second rule was an off-shoot of the first: "It applies in life, but it's more about being a father. I'd rather hear what they have to say. You learn more by listening. And this stuff is just a matter of not equating drama with actions that will help them. Teach them to shun drama."
As for the third rule? "Take responsibility for when you are wrong. They hear you own up, and they learn to own up."
The fourth rule included giving the girls their own rules. "You have to give them a code. Beginning with things like 'Don't bite people.' That becomes something like, 'It's not okay to be mean. Ever.' That was our watchword when the girls were younger."
And the last rule? "I make them laugh. You gotta do the drool-take, gotta make them see that goofiness is still safe. You have to make them laugh at you."
Behind the scenes, Bruce has proven to be a brilliant father. On the big screen, he has played many different characters. The retired actor definitely made a lasting impression on his family, fans and critics with many of his roles. Although some of his more recent films weren’t as successful, there’s no denying that Bruce will always be loved for his work as an actor.
While many of his films brought him great fame and fortune, the "Die Hard" franchise is no doubt responsible for much of Bruce’s wealth. According to Celebrity Net Worth, he earned more than $50 million for all four movies and currently has an estimated net worth of $250 million.Bruce Willis (2006), (Toni Anne Barson/WireImage/Getty Images)
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly back in 2007, Bruce explained that he almost wasn’t able to be part of the movie “Die Hard.” He said that the 1980s show “Moonlighting” had become so popular that he had “already read the script for ‘Die Hard’ once, but had to pass because of the show.” Fortunately, something remarkable happened, and Bruce was able to take on the iconic role of John McClane.
“As it turns out, a miracle happened – Cybill Shepherd got pregnant and they shut down the show for 11 weeks – just the right amount of time for me to run around over at Nakatomi Tower,” Bruce said.
Before landing the gig, the role was offered to several other actors, according to Entertainment Tonight. Some of those stars included Richard Gere, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Clint Eastwood, Sylvester Stallone and Burt Reynolds. Even though any one of these big-name stars surely would have taken on the job exceptionally well, there’s no denying that Bruce was born to play John McClane.
“...Most of what went into making John McClane from a character standpoint was the South Jersey Bruce Willis – that attitude and disrespect for authority, that gallows sense of humor, the reluctant hero,” Bruce said. “What I always say about John McClane is if he had the choice of someone else stepping up and doing what he had to do, he would let them do it.”
Bruce will always be an icon, but when asked what he is most famous for, Bruce said, "Violence, laughter and 'Looper.'" Still, the retired actor admitted that he can't help but say his famous catchphrase from time to time: "Yippee ki yay!"Rumer Willis, Demi Moore, Bruce Willis, Scout Willis, Emma Heming Willis, Tallulah Willis (2019), (Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images)
On Mar. 30, 2022, the world was left heartbroken at the announcement of Bruce’s retirement. Both Heming and Moore posted the same picture and caption on their respective Instagram accounts, explaining that Bruce was diagnosed with aphasia and therefore needed to take a step away from acting.
According to John Hopkins, aphasia is a language disorder caused by damage in a specific area of the brain that controls language expression and comprehension. This disorder leaves a person unable to communicate with others effectively and can sometimes even cause the afflicted to no longer understand the speech of others correctly.
According to Page Six, Bruce was having cognitive issues prior to his family stepping in "to take care of him." He struggled to remember his lines and was actually unable to do so. A source explained: "He was having cognitive problems, they all knew Bruce was having problems. Everybody knew, the cast and crew. His family has stepped in, they moved in to take care of him."
Bruce was using earpieces so he could have his lines fed to him while on set, according to Page Six. He was also reported to have used one back in 2015 for his Broadway debut in "Misery," although sources stated this had more to do with Bruce feeling "nervous" about script changes than anything else.
However, Bruce also had a body double for many of his scenes in more recent films, as "it was increasingly difficult to have him on screen." For one project, Bruce was reported to have shot for only three days. "It was becoming super obvious he was having trouble … he could not act anymore," the source explained.Bruce Willis, Emma Heming (2018), (Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images)
Bruce’s family members have been supportive during this time. In their Instagram posts, Heming and Moore wrote:
"To Bruce's amazing supporters, as a family we wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities. As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him."
"This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support. We are moving through this as a strong family unit, and wanted to bring his fans in because we know how much he means to you, as you do to him."
They concluded, "As Bruce always says, 'Live it up,' and together we plan to do just that."
While Bruce’s family has stepped up to help care for him, that doesn’t mean that it has been an easy process. There is a lot of love in the Willis-Heming-Moore unit, but caring for someone can have its challenges. A source told PEOPLE in April 2022 that Bruce’s retirement from acting and his health diagnosis have “been hard for” Heming. The source added, “It’s not easy seeing a spouse decline.”
Bruce and Heming have shared some of their heartwarming stories together with the world over the past decade of their marriage. According to Elle Decor, they live in a Craftsman-style home in Bedford Hills, New York, where they tend to their vegetable garden and spend time with their family.
In 2017, Bruce spoke highly of finding love with Heming. “I don’t want to be away from Emma at all,” he told Closer Weekly. “It’s the most singular relationship I’ve ever had in my life.”Bruce Willis (2019), (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
On Feb. 16, 2023, Bruce’s family again pulled together to deliver a crushing update on the star's health condition. Simultaneously on the Instagram accounts of Heming, Moore, Rumer, Scout and Tallulah, the women shared an "update about our beloved husband, father and friend since we now have a deeper understanding of what he is experiencing." They continued:
"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). 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."
The post then directed readers to a full statement posted on The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration's website that detailed Bruce's condition further.
"FTD is a cruel disease that many of us have never heard of and can strike anyone. For people under 60, FTD is the most common form of dementia, and because getting the diagnosis can take years, FTD is likely much more prevalent than we know. 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," the statement read.
According to the NHS, FTD affects the front and sides of the brain and can result in behavioral changes that include acting inappropriately, appearing selfish and loss of motivation." It also affects speech, wherein patients struggle to make the right sounds or use the correct tenses. It said most cases present in those between the ages of 45 to 65 and "tends to develop slowly and get gradually worse over several years."Bruce Willis (2018), (Rich Fury/Getty Images)
The statement continued:
"Bruce always believed in using his voice in the world to help others, and to raise awareness about important issues both publicly and privately. 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."
The family urged for more awareness about the condition. "Ours is just one family with a loved one who suffers from FTD, and we encourage others facing it to seek out the wealth of information and support available through AFTD (@theaftd, theaftd.org). And for those of you who have been fortunate enough to not have any personal experience with FTD, we hope that you will take the time to learn about it, and support AFTD's mission in whatever way you can," the statement read.
Lastly, the family thanked those who had and continue to love and support Bruce through his difficult journey.
"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. – Emma, Demi, Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel, and Evelyn," the statement ended.
Friends and fans of the retired star have sent messages of love and support to the Willis-Heming-Moore unit, helping everyone to stay positive.
Our thoughts go out to Bruce and his loved ones through this difficult time. Are you glad to see his family constantly surrounding him in love and light? Let us know, and pass this on to family and friends as well.