Bruce Willis Is “Not Totally Verbal” Amid Aphasia and Dementia Battle

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Emma Heming Speaks Out On Bruce Willis’ Dementia Battle

Bruce Willis continues to face challenges with this health. 

The Die Hard actor—who was diagnosed with the language disorder aphasia in 2022 and frontotemporal dementia earlier this year—is now “not totally verbal,” according to friend Glenn Gordon Caron, the creator of the ’80s TV show Moonlighting, which co-starred Willis and Cybill Shepherd

“My sense is the first one to three minutes he knows who I am,” Caron told the New York Post in an article published Oct. 12. “He used to be a voracious reader—he didn’t want anyone to know that—and he’s not reading now. All those language skills are no longer available to him, and yet he’s still Bruce.”

“When you’re with him you know that he’s Bruce and you’re grateful that he’s there,” he continued, “but the joie de vivre is gone.”

According to Caron, who said he occasionally communicates with Willis’ wife Emma Heming Willis and his older children, “it means a lot” to Willis that Moonlighting was recently made available for streaming online.

“I know he’s really happy that the show is going to be available for people,” he noted, “even though he can’t tell me that.”

Explaining the move to streaming has been in the works for a while, Carson said he was able to spend time with Willis, 68, and discuss it before the action star’s condition advanced.

“I know he’s excited,” Caron shared. “I was able to communicate with him, before the disease rendered him as incommunicative as he is now, about hoping to get the show back in front of people.” 

VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Caron went on to praise the Pulp Fiction actor—who retired from Hollywood last year for health reasons—as an “extraordinary” person who “loved life.”

According to the Medium producer, Willis “just adored waking up every morning and trying to live life to its fullest.”

“So the idea that he now sees life through a screen door, if you will, makes very little sense,” he added. “He’s really an amazing guy.”

Instagram/Tallulah Willis

In February, Willis’ wife Emma, ex-wife Demi Moore and kids Rumer Willis, 35, Scout Willis, 32, Tallulah Willis, 29, Mabel Willis, 11, and Evelyn Willis, 9, shared in a joint statement on social media that the patriarch’s condition had progressed.

“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,” read the statement. “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.”

Explaining he’d been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia—which can cause trouble communicating and difficulty walking, among other conditions—they shared, “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 look back on his most precious family moments over the years, read on:

Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for goop

Blended Family

Bruce Willis stepped out with his wife Emma Heming Willis to celebrate the release of ex Demi Moore‘s 2019 memoir Inside Out. He was joined by his three daughters with the G.I. Jane actress, Rumer Willis, Scout Willis and Tallulah Willis.

Instagram/Emma Heming Willis

Adventure Is Out There

Bruce and Emma go hiking with their daughters Evelyn Willis and Mabel Willis.

Phil Faraone/VMN18/Getty Images For Comedy Central

All Smiles

The actor posed ex-wife and their daughters Rumer and Tallulah backstage at his Comedy Central roast in 2018.

Instagram

Three Generations

Bruce became a grandpa in April 2023 when Rumer welcomed a baby girl named Louetta.

Instagram

Newest Addition

The entire family got together to celebrate the birth of Rumer’s baby.

Instagram/Emma Heming Willis

Backstage Buddies

Bruce had two special vistors when he starred in Broadway’s Misery in 2016.

Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

Broadway Bunch

The family showed up in full force to support Rumer’s 2015 Broadway debut as Roxie Hart in Chicago.

Instagram/Emma Heming Willis

Feeling Festive

“I put my camera on a ladder, set the timer, and crossed my fingers,” Emma captioned this family Christmas photo. “Now that’s 2020 for you.”

Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for goop

Movie Date

Bruce took his three oldest daughters to the Over the Hedge premiere in 2006.

Instagram/Emma Heming Willis

Sweet Kisses

The dad of five shared a sweet moment with daughter Mabel.

Chris Polk/FilmMagic

Daddy’s Girls

Tallulah, Scout and Rumer joined their dad at a Bruce Willis Charity Foundation in 2005.

Instagram/Emma Heming Willis

Dancing With the Fam

The family celebrated Rumer’s Dancing With the Stars win with Val Chmerkovskiy.

Instagram/Rumer Willis

Polaroid Memories

“What a privilege it is every day to be your daughter,” Rumer captioned this throwback photo. “I love you so much. You are the coolest cat in town.”

Instagram/Emma Heming Willis

A Birthday to Remember

Emma rang in her 43rd birthday in 2021 with Bruce and their daughters, as well as Rumer and Demi.

Instagram

‘Tis the Season

The family spent Christmas 2022 together.

Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Star Status

Bruce was joined by mom Marlene and his three oldest daughters when he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006.

Instagram/Emma Heming Willis

Happy Haunts

The action star dressed up with Mabel and Evelyn on Halloween 2021.

Instagram/Tallulah Willis

Getting Silly

Tallulah jokingly captioned this photo of herself and dad Bruce making silly faces, “high drama club.”

Instagram/Emma Heming Willis

Snow Squad

Evelyn and Mabel hit the slopes during a family ski trip.

Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Gang’s All Here

The family, including Demi’s then-husband Ashton Kutcher, stepped out to watch Rumer in 2008’s The House Bunny.

Instagram/Emma Heming Willis

Disney Magic

Bruce and Emma took their kids to Walt Disney World in 2017.

Instagram/Emma Heming Willis

Proud Parents

“First time performing in a play for these two!” Emma wrote on Instagram 2018. “Mabel played Molly and Evelyn as Sandy in an Off-off-off-off-off-off Broadway [winking emoji] production of Annie. The whole cast and production was stellar—Mom and Dad couldn’t be prouder.”

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