Bruce Willis' Friend Gives Heartbreaking New Update on His Condition
Moonlighting creator Glenn Gordon Caron spoke out about his friend and colleague.
At long last, the 1980s series Moonlighting—which gave star Bruce Willis his big break—is streaming online. Unfortunately, the news comes at a particularly hard time for Willis and his loved ones. Earlier this year, Willis' family shared that he had been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. The news came after it had been previously announced in 2022 that he had aphasia and was retiring from acting.
Willis' wife, Emma Heming Willis, has continued to share updates about the actor, and now, another person close to the star has spoken out. Moonlighting creator Glenn Gordon Caron spoke to the New York Post about his friend Willis, including their current relationship, how Willis feels about Moonlighting being available online, and how the actor is doing now. Read on for the latest on the 68-year-old's condition.
Willis has frontotemporal dementia.
In a statement posted on Instagram and shared by The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration in Feb. 2023, Willis family announced that he had been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia.
The Mayo Clinic explains that "frontotemporal dementia is an umbrella term for a group of brain disorders that primarily affect the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. These areas of the brain are generally associated with personality, behavior and language."
This form of dementia can cause behavioral changes and speech and language issues. According to the Mayo Clinic patients can "have dramatic changes in their personalities and become socially inappropriate, impulsive or emotionally indifferent, while others lose the ability to use language properly."
Willis had previously been diagnosed with aphasia, which is specifically related to communication. Aphasia "is a disorder that affects how you communicate. It can impact your speech, as well as the way you write and understand both spoken and written language," per the Mayo Clinic.
Willis retired from acting following his aphasia diagnosis.
Caron talked about how hard it is to accept Willis' diagnosis.
In an interview with the New York Post, Caron talked about going to visit Willis, which he said he tries to do about once a month, and how "mind-blowing" it is to see Willis in his current condition.
"I have tried very hard to stay in his life. He's an extraordinary person," Caron said. "The thing that makes [his disease] so mind-blowing is [that] if you've ever spent time with Bruce Willis, there is no one who had any more joie de vivre than he. He loved life and … just adored waking up every morning and trying to live life to its fullest. So the idea that he now sees life through a screen door, if you will, makes very little sense. He's really an amazing guy."
He thinks Willis still recognizes him.
Caron shared that he believes Willis recognizes him—if only briefly—during their visits.
"My sense is the first one to three minutes he knows who I am," the writer and producer said. "He's not totally verbal; he used to be a voracious reader—he didn't want anyone to know that—and he's not reading now. All those language skills are no longer available to him, and yet he's still Bruce."
He added, "When you're with him you know that he's Bruce and you're grateful that he's there, but the joie de vivre is gone."
He knows Willis would be happy about Moonlighting streaming.
All five seasons of Moonlighting began streaming on Hulu on Oct. 10. While many other classic shows of the era have been streaming for years, Moonlighting, which aired from 1985 to 1989, had long been held up due to music rights issues.
In April 2022, Caron told TheWrap that Disney, which owns the show, told him, "'Look, the big problem we have is, the show is just larded with music. None of those rights have been sewn up, and we believe it would be cost prohibitive to go get them now.'"
Caron recalled, "The last conversation that I had with them, which I'm guessing was probably about two years ago, the music was really the financial reason."
Now, the situation has changed. Caron first teased on social media that the show would be streaming online in Oct. 2022, and a year later, it has come to fruition.
Caron told the New York Post that he knows Willis is "really happy" about the news, because they spoke about it before his condition worsened.
"The process [to get Moonlighting onto Hulu] has taken quite a while and Bruce's disease is a progressive disease," Caron said, "so I was able to communicate with him, before the disease rendered him as incommunicative as he is now, about hoping to get the show back in front of people. I know it means a lot to him."
Willis' wife also shared an update about him recently.
On Sept. 25, Heming Willis appeared on the Today show as part of World Frontotemporal Dementia Awareness Week and shared an update about Willis' health.
"Dementia is hard," Heming Willis said. "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 this is a family disease, it really is."
Willis and Heming Willis have two young daughters, 11-year-old Mabel and nine-year-old Evelyn. The actor also has three adult daughters, Rumer, Scout, and Tallulah Willis, with ex-wife Demi Moore.
Heming Willis talked about sharing Willis' diagnosis with their two children.
"We're a very honest and open household, and the most important thing was to be able to 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 said. "It was important that we let them know what it is, because I don't want there to be any stigma or shame attached to their dad's diagnosis or for any form of dementia."
Asked if Willis is aware of what's going on with him, Heming Willis responded, "It's hard to know."
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