Bruce Willis’s wife has offered a deeply moving and candid insight into her daily struggles after her superstar husband was diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Emma Heming Willis shared a video of herself on Instagram to mark Bruce’s 68th birthday, describing it as “one of those days of feeling the grief and sadness” as their family grapples with the Die Hard star’s frontotemporal dementia (FTD).
Speaking directly to the camera she said: “So today is my husband's birthday. I have started the morning by crying, as you can see by my swollen eyes and snotty nose, I just think it's important you see all sides of this.”
She continued: “I always get this message or people always tell me like, ‘Oh you're so strong, I don't know how you do it'. I'm not given a choice.
"I wish I was, but I'm also raising two kids in this. So sometimes in our lives, we have to put our big girl panties on and get to it, and that’s what I’m doing.
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“But I do have times of sadness, every day, grief every day, and I’m really feeling it today, on his birthday,” she admitted.
The 44-year-old model then explained the bittersweet pain of creating a montage of photos and videos to mark the occasion, saying: “So I worked on this reel that I'm posting for my husband's birthday. I don't know why I do that to myself because the videos are like a knife in my heart.
"But as much as I do it for myself I do it for you because I know how much you love my husband and – don't cry Emma – but it means so much to me so thank you.”
Willis later shared the reel in question and we defy anyone to watch it without feeling a lump form in their throat.
However, despite the undeniable pain of celebrating a big event with a loved-one, knowing it will be one of your last together, Emma, Bruce and their family also enjoyed some lighthearted fun together on the day.
The Hollywood icon got stuck in as the whole gang treated him to a joyous rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ before blowing out the candles on a celebratory pie (rather than cake).
Ex-wife Demi Moore, with whom he’s remained incredibly close over the years, posted a video of the get-together on Instagram, captioning the clip: "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."
It's the first birthday the Pulp Fiction star has celebrated since his dementia diagnosis.
In March last year, doctors told him that he had aphasia – a condition with affects a person’s ability to speak. Then, last month, he discovered that he was also suffering from FTD.
The Willis family made the devastating news public via a statement, which reads: "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.
“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.”
The statement goes on to explain the “cruel disease" as one which can "strike anyone", adding: "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."
It concludes: "Ours is just one family with a loved one who suffers from FTD, and we encourage others facing it to seek out the wealth of information and support available through AFTD (@theaftd, theaftd.org). And for those of you who have been fortunate enough to not have any personal experience with FTD, we hope that you will take the time to learn about it, and support AFTD’s mission in whatever way you can."
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