Bruce Willis' daughter pens heartbreaking truth about father's health
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Bruce Willis’ daughter has shared a heartbreaking truth about her father’s health, having written an essay about ‘grief’ and what lies ahead.
Earlier this year, Willis, 68, announced he had frontotemporal dementia - just a year after he retired from acting following an initial aphasia diagnosis.
At the time, his family said in a statement that challenges with communication were ‘just one symptom of the disease Bruce faces’.
“FTD is a cruel disease that many of us have never heard of and can strike anyone,” they said, explaining how it was the most common form of dementia for people under 60.
“Today there are no treatments for the disease, a reality that we hope can change in the years ahead,” they added.
His daughter Tallulah has now penned a poignant essay for Vogue, detailing how she’d known something was wrong with her father ‘for some time’.
“My family announced in early 2022 that Bruce Willis was suffering from aphasia, a brain-mediated inability to speak or to understand speech, and we learned earlier this year that that symptom was a feature of frontotemporal dementia, a progressive neurological disorder that chips away at his cognition and behavior day by day,” she said.
“But I’ve known that something was wrong for a long time.
“It started out with a kind of vague unresponsiveness, which the family chalked up to Hollywood hearing loss: ‘Speak up! Die Hard messed with Dad’s ears.’”
When that unresponsiveness ‘broadened’, Tallulah - whose mother is Demi Moore - said she ‘sometimes took it personally’.
“He had had two babies with my stepmother, Emma Heming Willis, and I thought he’d lost interest in me,” she explained.
“Though this couldn’t have been further from the truth, my adolescent brain tortured itself with some faulty math: I’m not beautiful enough for my mother, I’m not interesting enough for my father.”
Tallulah revealed that, while her father was ‘quietly struggling’, she was battling her own demons with body dysmorphia and anorexia – and was later diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, an illness that’ impairs the ability to regulate emotions and find stability in relationships’.
“I admit that I have met Bruce’s decline in recent years with a share of avoidance and denial that I’m not proud of,” she said.
“The truth is that I was too sick myself to handle it.”
Tallulah said her dad still knows who she is, ‘give or take a bad day’, and that she tries to ‘savor that time’.
However, she knows that ‘trials are looming’, saying ‘this is the beginning of grief’.
She added: “There’s this little creature changing by the hour, and there’s this thing happening with my dad that can shift so quickly and unpredictably.
“It feels like a unique and special time in my family, and I’m just so glad to be here for it.”