Bruce Willis' Wife Just Gave This Update on His Care
The star's family has been largely silent about his aphasia since the announcement.
Since announcing in March that Bruce Willis had been diagnosed with aphasia and was "stepping away" from his acting career, the beloved star's family has been largely silent about how he's doing—and understandably so.
"This is a really challenging time for our family," they said at the time in an Instagram post, going on to thank fans for their "love, compassion, and support." Now, Willis' wife, Emma Heming Willis, is breaking her silence and shedding some light on her new reality, including what life is like as she copes with the fallout from her husband's illness. Read on to find out what she says has "taken a toll" on her—and when she says life with Bruce was "just perfect."
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Willis has been struggling with his health for years.
As far back as 2017, Willis' co-workers noticed that something was "slightly off" with the actor's behavior, according to Page Six. Aphasia, a brain disorder that causes people to lose their ability to speak and to understand others, is sometimes mistaken for normal signs of aging, depression, or "even being a little drunk," according to Page Six's source familiar with the star and his situation. "In reflection, Bruce may have been struggling with all of this back then."
Another source close to the family said to Page Six, "[Bruce has] been in a state of cognitive decline for a while now, and it's finally progressed to the stage where it's clear he's not going to be able to speak or comprehend much going forward."
His tight-knit family is standing by him, but his wife says it's "taken a toll."
Married to second wife Emma Heming Willis since 2009, Willis is the father of five daughters—three with his first wife Demi Moore and two with Heming Willis. By all accounts, the blended family get along famously—Moore even went so far as to say she and Heming Willis are "sisters bonded on this crazy adventure of life"—and have presented a united front in the face of Willis' illness. The Instagram post announcing Willis' illness, signed with love from "Emma, Demi, Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel, & Evelyn"—both wives and all of his daughters—was touching evidence of their family bond.
But the burden of taking care of a loved one with a progressive, debilitating illness is a heavy load for anyone, no matter how much support they may have and how many resources are available to them. In a recent interview with The Bump, Heming Willis admitted that "[caring] for everyone else within my household [has] taken a toll on my mental health and overall health." Explaining that she "put my family's needs above my own," she said she tries to make time for self-care after being told that "when you over-care for someone, you end up under-caring for yourself. That stopped me in my tracks and really resonated with me."
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She says she puts one thing "first and foremost" these days.
Although she did not provide an update on her husband's health, Heming Willis did give a glimpse into what life is like for her as a caregiver to someone with a serious illness. "I have some basic baseline needs that are a must, like first and foremost, exercise," she told The Bump. "It's a time I can disconnect and can do something that I know makes me feel good overall. I think it's important to find that one thing that makes you feel good and build from there."
While she calls self-care a "struggle," she says she's found that putting herself last "does not make me any kind of hero." The former model, who has just launched a skincare company, CocoBaba, says her daughters "bring so much love, laughter, and life into our home." She adds, "We just love spending time with each other and we know that time is precious, and I don't take that for granted."
Willis' prognosis is uncertain.
While the Cleveland Clinic says that, "In some cases, aphasia is a short-term problem and will go away quickly," it's unlikely that will be the case for Willis. The fact that he has apparently been dealing with this issue for at least five years, along with the decision to go public with the problem and retire from acting, suggest that his aphasia is expected to get worse instead of better. "Speech therapy might help improve aphasia symptoms but may not fully reverse this condition's effects," the Cleveland Clinic explains.
However, Willis at least appears to be doing well at the moment, judging by an Instagram story posted by Heming Willis on May 23. In the video, Willis plays basketball with friends outdoors, apparently in high spirits and still able to easily intercept a pass and make a shot. "I see you BeeDub," she captioned the story.
And however hard life may be now, Heming Willis is able to look back and savor the happy memories. Speaking with The Bump, she recalled that although life was hectic when Willis was doing "three movies, back-to-back," and their first daughter was a newborn, "In hindsight, that time of our lives was just perfect."
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