'Hard to know' if he’s even aware: Bruce Willis' wife Emma opens up about actor’s struggle with dementia

25 September 2023, 15:09

Emma Hemming has opened up about Bruce Willis' struggle with dementia
Emma Hemming has opened up about Bruce Willis' struggle with dementia. Picture: Getty

By Asher McShane

Bruce Willis’ wife Emma Hemming has given a candid update on the actor’s battle with dementia, saying that the condition is ‘hard’ and is a disease that affects their entire family.

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Speaking on Today in the US, Emma, 45, fought back tears as she described the family’s struggle with his health.

Asked how Bruch was doing, she said: “Dementia is hard. It's hard on the person diagnosed. It's also hard on the family. And that is no different for Bruce or myself or our girls.

DAnd when they say that this is a family disease, it really is.”

Explaining the condition to Mabel, 11, and eight-year-old Evelyn, Emma said: “the most important thing was to be able for us to say what the disease was, explain what it is because when you know what the disease is from a medical standpoint it sort of all makes sense.

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Bruce Willis and Emma at a film premiere in 2019
Bruce Willis and Emma at a film premiere in 2019. Picture: Getty

'So it was important that we let them know what it is because, you know, I don't want there to be any stigma or shame attached to their dad's diagnosis, or for any form of dementia.'

Asked if Bruce was aware what was happening to him, she said simply: “Hard to know.”

Emma Dickinson, CEO of The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD), explained: 'What we know is, obviously, the disease can start in the frontal or the temporal lobes like the name signifies.

“One of the things that the frontal lobe controls is self-insight. We don't know. Some people, that's the first thing they lose, any understanding that they themselves have changed and other people retain that for a long time.”

Emma continued: ‘'I think it was the blessing and the curse. You know, to sort of finally understand what was happening so that I can be into the acceptance of what is.

'It doesn't make it any less painful, but just being in the acceptance and just being in the know of what happening to Bruce just makes it a little bit easier.

“There is so many beautiful things happening in our lives. It is just really important for me to look up from the grief and the sadness so that I can see what is happening around us.”

In February this year Bruce, 68, was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, an uncommon form of the condition that affects behaviour, personality and language.