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Bruce Willis’ wife explains why she went public with his dementia diagnosis

Getty Bruce Willis Emma Heming 03092023
Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Film at Lincoln Center

Emma Heming Willis is opening up about how sharing her husband Bruce Willis‘ Frontotemporal dementia or FTD diagnosis in 2023 impacted her.

“I could breathe, you know, I could really exhale and sort of just feel this weight sort of lift from my shoulders but everything changed for the better once we were able to disclose his diagnosis,” Heming Willis said in a video shared Tuesday by The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration at their 2024 Education Conference.

“I was able to see the support that I so desperately needed for my husband, for our whole family,” the 45-year-old added.

Willis was diagnosed first with aphasia in 2022 and then about six months later, he received an additional diagnosis of FTD, according to his family.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, FTD is a common type of dementia marked by personality and behavior changes as well as problems with language skills, such as speaking or understanding words. 

Heming Willis, who shares two daughters with Willis and is a stepmother to Willis’ three older children with actress Demi Moore, has been vocal on social media since then about sharing their family’s experience and her own experience as a caregiver.

“There were so many reasons to go public but first and foremost, it had been so isolating and you know, I was trying to keep it quiet and really, it was about our daughters and … I never wanted them to think that this was some kind of family secret that we had to keep,” Heming Willis told the audience at the conference. “I felt like it was very important for us to come out and say what it was.”


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