Emma Heming Willis marks Bruce Willis's birthday by opening up about grief over his dementia diagnosis: 'I'm really feeling it today'

Emma Heming Willis (pictured with her husband in 2019) opened up about her sadness on Bruce Willis's birthday. (Photo: VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
Emma Heming Willis (pictured with her husband in 2019) opened up about her sadness on Bruce Willis's birthday. (Photo: VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

It's an emotional birthday for Bruce Willis and his loved ones, his wife, Emma Heming Willis, says in a new Instagram message as the Die Hard star turns 68 on March 19. Following his family's announcement that the action star was stepping back from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia, last month it was revealed that Willis now has frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

Along with the three adult daughters — Rumer, Scout and Tallulah — he shares with ex-wife Demi Moore, the Pulp Fiction star shares 10-year-old Mabel and 8-year-old Evelyn with former model Emma, whom he married in 2009. Since her husband's diagnosis was made public in February, Emma has been using her platform to raise awareness about FTD, advocate for her husband and speak openly about her grief — something she admitted she was "really feeling" on the occasion of his birthday.

"So today is my husband's birthday," the 45-year-old shared in a video message posted to her Instagram Stories on Sunday. "I have started the morning by crying, as you can see by my swollen eyes and snotty nose."

She went on to share how she's been praised for putting on a brave face amid her husband's health challenges, even though she's struggling on the inside.

"I just think it's important that you see all sides of this," the CocoBaba founder said. "I always get this message, or people always tell me that 'Oh, you're so strong, I don't know how you do it.' I'm not given a choice. I wish I was. But I'm also raising two kids in this, so sometimes in our lives, we have to put our big girl panties on and get to it, and that's what I'm doing. But I do have times of sadness every day, grief every day, and I'm really feeling it today on his birthday."

Emma — who recently urged fans and the media to give her husband space when he's out in public — also got emotional as she spoke of putting together an Instagram reel, set to Stevie Wonder's As, celebrating Willis's birthday.

"I don't know why I do that to myself because the videos are like a knife in my heart," she admitted to fans. "But as much as I do it for myself, I do it for you because I know how much you love my husband — don't cry, Emma — but it means so much to me, so thank you."

Scout Willis also sent her dad birthday greetings on Sunday, writing, "What a privilege to have this man as my father and learn so much about life, joy, mischief and art through him." Younger sister Tallulah responded, "Love this girl dad."