Off The Record
Bruce Willis Speaks Publicly for First Time Since He Received Dementia Diagnosis
Bruce Willis has made his first public statement since being diagnosed with dementia in a new video released in honor of his 68th birthday.
When news of the actor’s Alzheimer diagnosis broke earlier this year, he has kept a low profile.
(scroll below for the video)
In a Sunday Instagram post, Willis’s ex-wife Demi Moore, 60, showed off birthday festivities for her former husband Bruce.
Willis’s daughters Rumer, Scout, and Tallulah, as well as his current wife Emma Hemming, were among the partygoers.
In the video, everyone (even the Die Hard guy) sings the birthday song.
Willis seemed to be in a good mood as he sang along with the song, made small talk with the other partygoers, and blew out the candles on his birthday pie.
He talked, grinned, and waved his hands around while they sang.
He took a small step backwards, as if he lost his footing.
After making a valiant effort to extinguish the last few candles in the pie, he staggered again.
Willis joined his family in a brief moment of mirth.
Everyone yelled “Hip Hip Hooray” as the song ended.
The actor made a lassoing motion with his hands and even shouted “hooray at one point.”
Some of the others at the intimate celebration then surrounded him and hugged and kissed him.
Moore wrote the following in the caption: “Happy birthday, BW! So glad we could celebrate you today. Love you and love our family. Thank you to everyone for the love and warm wishes — we all feel them.”
The video’s release was met with excitement from fans who rarely see Willis in this role, but several of his loyal followers expressed concern after noticing a little but significant change.
One of Willis’s front teeth seemed to be gone.
There appears to be no obvious reason, and no indication that the family will provide an explanation.
There was both worry and solidarity expressed.
Actress Rosario Dawson commented: “Happy Birthday Bruce! Blessings to your and the family.”
Another commenter wrote: “Always one of the coolest guys ever! Happy birthday Bruce!”
One fan noted: “Even the slightest thing is the BIGGEST thing! Usually, when a person is suffering from frontotemporal dementia they don’t remember the significance of blowing out the candle. And he did it without being told to. He even commented on the dog. He was definitely lucid and a participant at the moment. I am so glad to see this! Happy Birthday, Bruce!”
Another comment read: “One of the best! Thank you for letting us share a very personal journey!! A fan forever!”
Someone else chimed in: “That’s sooo heartwarming.”
A fifth fan commented: “What an emotional moment [thanks] for sharing Demi we love you and your family.”
Another fan wrote: “Could watch this over and over again … there’s nothing better than this … the decision to make your blended family a priority is what family dreams are made of! We love you, Bruce.”
Someone on the Internet mentioned that “Bruce is missing a tooth.”
Bruce’s wife’s sweet throwback
It was announced earlier this month that Willis is suffering from frontotemporal dementia, and his wife, Emma, released a touching throwback video of her husband earlier this month.
The actor, who has been married for nearly 14 years, is seen in the clip praising his wife while dressed casually in a white T-shirt and a black puffer jacket.
Willis read the following passage from the magazine: “USA Weekly interview with Emma-Heming Willis, creator and CEO of Cocobaba.”
“How about it?” Emma asked as Willis replied proudly: “How ‘bout it? I’m crazy about it!”
Emma captioned her post: “What’s this new memory thingy on IG!? OMG my biggest fan. I’m in love with him.”
Last week, Emma updated everyone on the devastating status of her emotional and mental health following the news that Willis has “untreatable” frontotemporal dementia.
Sharing a photo of herself sharing a hug with a dementia specialist called Teepa Snow, Emma wrote: “I’m thankful I got the opportunity to work with @teepasnows pac who has helped me add to my dementia care toolkit.
“She’s a loving, compassionate, and skilled leader in this space who navigates herself with pure empathy. She’s a gift.
“Head to the link in my bio as her website has a wealth of caregiving information you might find useful too.”
In response, Teepa stated, “@emmahemingwillis has done an absolutely wonderful job providing the proper support for Bruce as his abilities have evolved and creating a secure space and life that continues to offer him with what he needs to live well.
“Frontal temporal dementia is never easy but with the right programming and support, it truly is possible to continue living life.
“Congrats to Emma and their entire family for their very very hard work and dedication. It is truly remarkable!”
The speech and language disorder that was discovered with the father of five last year has unfortunately “progressed,” and he has had to retire from acting as a result.
Personality shifts, compulsive behaviors, and trouble communicating are all signs of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), the most common form of dementia in those under the age of 60.
Rumer, the actor and Moore’s 34-year-old daughter, broke the news to her followers on Instagram that her father had been diagnosed with cancer.
In her post, she explained that Willis’ condition was sadly “not treatable” and “has progressed.”
It read: “Our family wanted to start by expressing our deepest gratitude for the incredible outpouring of love, support, and wonderful stories we have all received since sharing Bruce’s original diagnosis.
“In the spirit of that, we wanted to give you an update about our beloved husband, father, and friend since we now have a deeper understanding of what he is experiencing.”
The “painful” ailment that the Pulp Fiction star is suffering from was described in greater depth in the 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).
“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.
“To read our full statement and learn more about this disease please go to the link in our bio,” she closed, signing off as the “Ladies of Willis/Moore.”
Aphasia is a disorder that makes it difficult for sufferers to comprehend spoken language and express themselves clearly.
It often comes on after a stroke or head injury but can also be due to disease or a brain tumour producing degenerative damage.
It is common for people with aphasia to suffer from either a “expressive” or “receptive” form of the disorder.
Those with “expressive” aphasia have trouble expressing themselves verbally despite being able to understand and recall the words they need.
“Receptive” aphasia, on the other hand, is a condition in which a person has normal speech production and length of sentence, but their words may not make sense to others.
As for Frontotemporal Degeneration, according to a continued statement from the family on the website of the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration: “FTD is a cruel disease that many of us have never heard of and can strike anyone. For people under 60, FTD is the most common form of dementia, and because getting the diagnosis can take years, FTD is likely much more prevalent than we know.
“Today there are no treatments for the disease, a reality that we hope can change in the years ahead. As Bruce’s condition advances, we hope that any media attention can be focused on shining a light on this disease that needs far more awareness and research.
“Bruce always believed in using his voice in the world to help others and to raise awareness about important issues both publicly and privately. We know in our hearts that – if he could today — he would want to respond by bringing global attention and connectedness with those who are also dealing with this debilitating disease and how it impacts so many individuals and their families.”