Los Angeles, CA – September 25, 2023
Bruce Willis, the legendary actor known for his roles in “Die Hard” and numerous other blockbuster films, is currently facing a challenging battle with frontotemporal dementia (FTD). His wife, Emma Heming Willis, recently shared some poignant insights into their family’s experience with the disease during an interview on NBC’s Today Show.
Speaking with Hoda Kotb on the morning show, Emma Heming Willis, aged 45, shared the emotional toll that FTD has taken on their family. She acknowledged that it’s difficult to ascertain whether Bruce, 68, fully comprehends the severity of his condition due to his diagnosis. She described this situation as both a “blessing and a curse” as she attempted to come to terms with the harsh reality.
Emma emphasized that FTD affects not only the diagnosed individual but also the entire family. She stated, “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.” The couple shares two daughters.
While coping with the challenges of FTD, Emma also highlighted the positive aspects of their journey. She described Bruce as “the gift that keeps on giving” and mentioned that their daughters are learning valuable lessons about care and love through this experience. Despite the sadness, there is a beauty in the way their family has come together.
In the year 2022, the Willis family made a public statement declaring Bruce’s retirement from the entertainment industry due to a diagnosis of aphasia, a condition affecting communication skills. However, his condition continued to worsen, and in February 2023, the family revealed that he had been diagnosed with FTD. This progressive brain condition affects a person’s frontal and temporal lobes and often impacts behavior, personality, and communication.
The interview aimed to raise awareness about FTD, as Emma Heming Willis was joined by Susan Dickinson, CEO of the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration. Dickinson explained that FTD can affect self-insight, leading some individuals to lose awareness of their own changes.
Emma shared that their household is characterized by honesty and openness, especially when it comes to discussing the disease with their daughters. She believes that understanding the medical aspects of the disease helps remove stigma and shame. Despite the challenges, the family strives to embrace the joy in their lives, a sentiment that Bruce would undoubtedly support.
Frontotemporal dementia commonly affects individuals in the age range of 45 to 64 and is identified by the accumulation of proteins in the frontal and temporal regions of the brain. This condition frequently results in alterations in communication, behavior, personality, and mobility. While there is a genetic component in some cases, the exact cause remains under investigation.
Bruce Willis’ family has been candid about his journey with FTD, shedding light on a condition that affects not only the individual but also their loved ones. Their openness serves as a source of support and understanding for those facing similar challenges.