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Emma Heming Willis Details How Going Public With Bruce Willis’ Dementia Diagnosis Affected Her Family

Emma Heming Willis recently opened up about how Bruce Willis’s dementia diagnosis affected her family.

In 2022, Bruce was diagnosed with aphasia, which affects an individual’s ability to communicate and speak. Six months later, he was also diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, or FTD.

After going public with her husband’s diagnosis, Emma revealed that she felt relieved to have spoken up.

“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,” she said in a video at The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration’s 2024 Education Conference. “I was able to see the support that I so desperately needed for my husband, for our whole family.”

Emma Heming Willis Opens Up About Husband Bruce Willis’s Dementia Diagnosis

At the time of his dementia diagnosis, Bruce’s family shared an update via a statement:

“Since we announced Bruce’s diagnosis of aphasia in spring 2022, Bruce’s condition has progressed and we now have a more specific diagnosis: frontotemporal dementia (known as FTD),” the Willis family said. “Unfortunately, challenges with communication are just one symptom of the disease Bruce faces. While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis.”

Reflecting on going public with her husband’s diagnosis, Emma felt it was “very important” to disclose her family’s current situation.

“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,” she confessed at the AFTD 2024 Education Conference. “I felt like it was very important for us to come out and say what it was.”

This story’s featured image is by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images for TCM.

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