Bruce Willis’ wife reveals why family went public with dementia diagnosis

Bruce Willis’ wife, Emma Heming Willis, has opened up about sharing the “Die Hard” star’s dementia diagnosis, rather than the “isolating” option of keeping it private.

The 45-year-old model spoke about the family’s decision on Tuesday at the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration‘s 2024 Education Conference.

Frontotemporal dementia, according to the Mayo Clinic, refers to a group of diseases that primarily affect the brain’s frontal and temporal lobes, the areas associated with personality, behavior and language.

“First and foremost, it had been so isolating and I was trying to keep it quiet and really it was about our daughters,” said Heming Willis, who married Willis in 2009 and shares Mabel, 12, and Evelyn, 9, with the 69-year-old actor.

“I never wanted them to think that this was some sort of family secret that we have to keep,” she added. “It was very important for us to come out and say what it was.”

Heming Willis said she also wanted for the couple’s kids to see the family “raise awareness and on a global scale, because that is the kind of reach their father has. And I know that he would want us to do that.”

Going public with the diagnosis allowed Heming Willis to “breathe,” she said, noting that it felt like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. It also enabled her “to seek the support that I so desperately needed” — for both her husband and the family as a whole.

In early 2022, Willis’ family, including ex-wife Demi Moore and their adult daughters — Rumer, Scout and Tallulah — announced in a joint statement that he was “stepping away” from acting due to aphasia, which affects a sufferer’s ability to communicate.

The family issued an update in February 2023, confirming Willis’ condition had progressed into frontotemporal dementia.