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01st Jun 2023

Bruce Willis’ daughter says their relationship has worsened since his dementia diagnosis

Ellen Fitzpatrick

Bruce Willis’ daughter Tallulah has opened up about her father’s brain condition and his dementia diagnosis, sharing how it has impacted their relationship.

Writing a personal essay for Vogue, Tallulah shared new details about her dad’s brain condition and how it has not only affected her but their entire family.

Bruce Willis was diagnosed with aphasia and prior to this, his family blamed his symptoms on his “Hollywood hearing loss”.

Tallulah said his unresponsiveness prior to his diagnosis affected her greatly and she began to take it personally.

The 29-year-old wrote: “Later that unresponsiveness broadened, and I sometimes took it personally. He had had two babies with my stepmother, Emma Heming Willis, and I thought he’d lost interest in me.”

As the actor’s condition worsened and they discovered there was something wrong, it took a toll on his daughter’s mental health as she tortured her own brain with the idea that her dad didn’t care for her anymore.


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A post shared by tallulah (@buuski)

Bruce Willis has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), his family announced in an emotional social media post earlier this year.

The Pulp Fiction and Fifth Element actor was diagnosed in March 2022 with aphasia, a condition affecting the brain which causes difficulty with language and speech, and stepped back from acting.

The 67-year-old’s family – his current wife, Emma Heming Willis, and his former wife Demi Moore, as well as his children Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel, and Evelyn – shared an update on the progression of his condition, revealing that Bruce now has a more “specific diagnosis”.

They said: “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.”

FTD causes changes to personality, behaviour, language, and movement, due to the areas of the brain that it affects, the front and sides of the brain. The onset of the disease, as with other forms of dementia, is slow, to begin with but gradually gets worse.

Tallulah also wrote about when her father’s diagnosis clicked with her while at a wedding and she broke down during the ather of the bride’s speech, realising she never would have that herself.

“Suddenly I realised that I would never get that moment, my dad speaking about me in adulthood at my wedding, It was devastating. I left the dinner table, stepped outside, and wept in the bushes,” she wrote.


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