Bruce Willis’ wife, Emma Heming Willis, gave an update on his condition Monday as an element of Frontotemporal Dementia Awareness Week.
“Dementia is difficult,” Heming Willis, 45, told TODAY’s Hoda Kotb. “It’s hard on the person diagnosed, it’s also hard on the family. And that isn’t any different for Bruce, or myself, or our girls. Once they say it is a family disease, it truly is.”
Heming Willis was joined by CEO of the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration, Susan Dickinson, through the appearance.
In accordance with Heming Willis, it’s unclear if her ailing husband is definitely aware of what is happening regarding his condition.
“It’s hard to know,” she said, holding back tears.
In accordance with Dickinson, brain disease affects everyone in a different way. Some people manage to retain a semblance of self-awareness while others lose it imminently.
“What we all know is, obviously the disease can start within the frontal or the temporal lobes,” explained Dickinson. “And one in all the things that the frontal lobe controls is self-insight.”
“So we actually don’t know some folks that’s the very first thing they lose is any understanding that they themselves have modified,” she continued. “And other people retain that for a very long time.”
Kotb, 59, then asked how Heming Willis, who has two young children with the “Pulp Fiction” star, and her family are coping with the diagnosis.
“We’re a really honest and open household,” she said. “And you recognize, a very powerful thing was to give you the chance for us to say what the disease was, explain what it’s because when you recognize what the disease is, from a medical standpoint, it form of all is smart.”
She added: “So it was essential that we allow them to know what it’s because, you recognize, I don’t want there to be any stigma or shame attached to their dad’s diagnosis or for any type of dementia.”
The couple are parents to daughters Mabel, 11, and Evelyn, 8. The actor can also be dad to daughters Rumer, 34, Scout, 31, and Tallulah, 29 whom he shares with ex-wife Demi Moore.
On Monday, Dickinson revealed that many doctors are unfamiliar with Frontotemporal Dementia because of the very fact it’s “less common” than other memory loss diseases.
“Most doctors aren’t accustomed to it,” claimed Dickinson. “So it could possibly take almost 4 years for people to get diagnosed on average. And as you say, they accrue many misdiagnoses together with often depression, bipolar disease, Alzheimer’s and even any individual with among the movements symptoms.”
In accordance with Heming Willis, she believes herself to be more of a “care partner” moderately than a “caretaker.”
“It’s essential for care partners to take care of themselves in order that they will be one of the best care partner for the person they’re caring for,” she said.
Heming Willis later added that her husband, despite his constant struggle, is “the gift that keeps on giving” and he’s taught their children all about “love, patience and resilience.”
Heming and Willis, 68, tied the knot in March 2009 before renewing their vows in 2019.
In March 2022, Willis’ family publicly revealed that he’d been diagnosed with aphasia, a condition that affects an individual’s language processing and communication abilities.
Willis also stepped away from acting on the time.
Heming Willis said that the diagnosis has been a “blessing and the curse.”
“To finally understand what was happening, in order that I might be into the acceptance of what’s,” she said on TODAY. “It doesn’t make it any less painful, but just being … within the know of what is occurring to Bruce makes it a little bit easier.”