As Bruce Willis’ family celebrated his 68th birthday on Sunday, the actor’s wife took to social media to share a heartfelt tribute to him — and open up about the reality of caring for a loved one with frontotemporal dementia.
“I started the morning crying as you can see from my swollen eyes and nosebleed,” Emma Heming Willis said in her Instagram Reel. “I just think it’s important that you see all aspects of this.”
“I always get this message where people are always telling me, ‘You’re so strong. I don’t know how you do it,’” the 44-year-old continued. “I don’t have a choice. I wish I was but I’m also raising two kids in this,” referring to the couple’s two young children, Mabel, 10, and Evelyn, 8.
“Sometimes in our lives we have to put our big girl panties on and get to them. And that’s what I do,” she said. But I have times of sadness, every day, sadness every day, and I really feel it today on his birthday.”
Hemming Willis said she was putting together another movie for Willis’ birthday, adding that the buffering in the videos was “like a knife in my heart”, but that he was determined to get through it. “Don’t weep, Emma,” said she, before saying to herself, “As much as I do it for myself, I do it for you because I know how much you love my husband.”
In her caption, Heming Willis expressed her gratitude to the family’s supporters and her husband’s fans, saying that “The bright side or the flip side is that I’m so lucky to feel your warmth and love… I see your letters and stories shared, and all I can say is thank you.”
Several hours later, it posted a compilation film showing Willis before his health struggles ended his acting career, a battle that was first announced last March. Initially thought to suffer from aphasia, a rare cognitive disorder that affects communication, Willis was eventually diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia in February. “Although this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis,” the family said in a statement.
Less than three weeks later, Hemming Willis made a public plea to the paparazzi to stop yelling and crowding her husband when he was out and about. “The woo-hooing and yippee-ki-yay — just don’t,” she said on Instagram. “Give him the space. Allow our family or whoever is with him that day to be able to get him from point A to point B safely. This is my PSA.”
On Sunday, Scout Willis, the 31-year-old daughter Willis shares with ex-wife Demi Moore, celebrated her dad’s birthday with a post mentioning her mixed feelings.
“What a privilege to have this man as my father and to learn so much about life, joy, hurt, and art through him,” she wrote alongside a photo of her carried on his shoulders as a little girl.
“Today is not necessarily an easy day, because it is a day filled with deep love, and our grief really shows us the depth of our love for someone. So I try to be with both of them today.”
She added, “Sadness is the price I will always pay for knowing what it means to feel this love.”
“Typical beer trailblazer. Hipster-friendly web buff. Certified alcohol fanatic. Internetaholic. Infuriatingly humble zombie lover.”