Bruce Willis' Wife Issues Emotional Plea to Paparazzi After Ailing Actor's Uncomfortable Encounter


When Emma Heming Willis married Bruce Willis in 2009, she obviously had no idea that barely more than a decade later, she’d be caring for a dementia patient.

So it should come as no surprise that she’s asking for a little help.

What may be a little more surprising was the gracious way she made her emotional request.

Willis posted her video plea to Instagram on Saturday, asking the world first to “excuse my appearance” because it was Saturday morning and she’d recently gotten out of bed — which gives you a good idea of how important it was to her to get this message out.

Willis said she was offering the video “in the spirit of raising awareness around dementia.” In February, she had announced on social media that her husband had been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia.

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After explaining that it could be very “difficult and stressful” to get someone with dementia “out into the world … safely, even just to get a cup of coffee.”

The day before, her husband had apparently been out with friends, who, she said, “did a stand-up job protecting him.”

At that point, Willis had to shut down the camera for a moment, as she was obviously having trouble fighting back tears at the thought of her action-star husband being reduced to the state where he needed such protection.

“This one is going out to the photographers and the video people that are trying to get those ‘exclusives’ of my husband out and about: Just keep your space,” she said. “I know this is your job, but maybe just keep your space. For the video people, please don’t be yelling at my husband, asking him how he’s doing … just don’t do it, okay?”

The family of the legendary film star had announced on Feb. 16 that the actor had officially been diagnosed with dementia following his retirement last spring following an initial diagnosis of aphasia that abruptly ended a storied career that spanned decades and generated numerous hit films.

In a statement, those closest to the 67-year-old said his condition has worsened into frontotemporal dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, FTP “refers to a group of disorders caused by progressive nerve cell loss in the brain’s frontal lobes (the areas behind your forehead) or its temporal lobes (the regions behind your ears).”

The progressive disease eventually robs its victims of the ability to communicate thoughts and understand spoken words. The disease is inherited in about a third of cases.

“Unfortunately, challenges with communication are just one symptom of the disease Bruce faces,” the family said.

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The statement called FTD “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,” the statement said. “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.”

The family noted that Willis always hoped to use his voice and influence to raise awareness about issues that concerned him.

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“We know in our hearts that — if he could today — he would want to respond by bringing global attention and a connectedness with those who are also dealing with this debilitating disease and how it impacts so many individuals and their families,” his family stated.

Willis’ family asked for “continued compassion” as they hope he is able to live “as full a life as possible.”

Hopefully, his wife’s very reasonable plea to the paparazzi will result in some of that compassion.

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George Upper is the former Editor-in-Chief of The Western Journal and was a weekly co-host of "WJ Live," powered by The Western Journal. He is currently a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. A former U.S. Army special operator, teacher and consultant, he is a lifetime member of the NRA and an active volunteer leader in his church. Born in Foxborough, Massachusetts, he has lived most of his life in central North Carolina.
George Upper, is the former editor-in-chief of The Western Journal and is now a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. He currently serves as the connections pastor at Awestruck Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a former U.S. Army special operator, teacher, manager and consultant. Born in Massachusetts, he graduated from Foxborough High School before joining the Army and spending most of the next three years at Fort Bragg. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in English as well as a Master's in Business Administration, all from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He and his wife life only a short drive from his three children, their spouses and his grandchildren. He is a lifetime member of the NRA and in his spare time he shoots, reads a lot of Lawrence Block and John D. MacDonald, and watches Bruce Campbell movies. He is a fan of individual freedom, Tommy Bahama, fine-point G-2 pens and the Oxford comma.
Foxborough, Massachusetts
Beta Gamma Sigma
B.A., English, UNCG; M.A., English, UNCG; MBA, UNCG
North Carolina
Languages Spoken
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Faith, Business, Leadership and Management, Military, Politics