Bruce Willis Struggled to Communicate to the Point That He Could Not Act — His Wife Became His Caregiver

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Hollywood’s A-List actor Bruce Willis had prior health issues before being diagnosed with aphasia. His wife, Emma Heming, is now his caregiver after making the difficult decision to leave behind what he does best.

In March 2022, Bruce Willis’ family announced that the film legend had been diagnosed with aphasia, a medical condition affecting his ability to communicate.

Before the diagnosis, he was already experiencing cognitive problems, and things became so difficult for him that he “could not act anymore.”

Actor Bruce Willis during the 17th Annual A Great Night In Harlem at The Apollo Theater on April 04, 2019 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images

Willis’ daughter, Rumer, posted an image of her father wearing a bathrobe with sunglasses on her Instagram. She wrote that due to his illness, he would effectively retire from the acting profession:

“As a result of this, and with much consideration, Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.”

The movie star began his illustrious acting career in off-Broadway productions back in the 1980s and became a class act with his hit film, “Die Hard” (1988), wherein he played John McClane.

Actress Emma Heming Willis and Bruce Willis during Cleveland Cavaliers Vs. New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden on February 4, 2017 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images

The film later became his first significant movie franchise, and they turned it into a sequel, “Die Hard 2” (1990), where he reprised his role as McClane.

After it became a box office hit, they made another sequel in 1995 called “Die Hard with a Vengeance.” Willis’ movies have grossed over $5 billion worldwide with a successful career spanning four decades.

In response to the devastating diagnosis, sources revealed to People in April 2022 that the news has “been hard” for his 24-year-younger wife Emma Heming because “it’s not easy seeing a spouse decline.”

The insider shared that Heming had to keep it together for their young children even though her husband’s diagnosis had shocked her.


Bruce Willis and his then-wife, actress Demi Moore during the premiere of "Chances Are" at the Mann Bruin Theatre on March 8, 1989 in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

Willis has been a decent family man throughout his life. He was first married to actress Demi Moore whom he met at the premiere of the 1987 film “Stakeout,” which starred her former fiance Emilio Estevez.

In her memoir, “Inside Out” released in 2019, Moore revealed her first impression of Willis and described him as “cocky and handsome.” She wrote that he was entirely fixated on her that evening, prompting Esteves to say:

“He’s all over you, like a cheap suit in the rain.”

Actor Emilio Estevez and Demi Moore attending "The Early Girl" Off-Broadway preview play performance on October 9, 1986 at Circle Repertory Theatre in New York City. / Source: Getty Images

Before finding fame, Willis was a bartender in New York City and showed off behind the bar that night, tossing the cocktail shaker in the air. “He was so attentive as the evening progressed, I was stunned to find out later that he’d actually been on a date that night with another woman,” said Moore.

She was smitten by him, and before the evening ended, he was bold enough to ask her out on a date. Moore shared she had never encountered anything like that before and gave him her number.

Bruce Willis and Demi Moore at the "Celebration of Tradition" A Gala Event Gathering Warner Bros. Stars at Warner Bros. Studios on June 2, 1990 in Burbank, California. / Source: Getty Images

The next day, Willis accompanied the “G.I. Jane” star to see her aunt, and from there, it was a whirlwind romance. “It’s hard not to feel good when someone showers you with that much attention,” Moore explained in her book.

The pair later got hitched at the Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas on November 21, 1987, merely four months after meeting. They later had a lavish wedding sponsored by film studio TriStar due to the vast publicity it would generate.


Demi Moore with Bruce Willis and daughters Rumer Willis, Tallulah Willis and Scout Willis during the "Bandits" Westwood premiere at Mann Village Theatre on October 4, 2001 in Westwood, California. / Source: Getty Images

Moore conceived the couple’s first child together, Rumer, on their wedding night. Despite issues within their marriage, later on, she fell pregnant with their second child, Scout, making them stay together. Having a third child named Tallulah cemented what the duo had together.

Willis and Moore welcomed their eldest daughter, Rumer, in August 1988 in Kentucky. She attended the Interlochen Center for the Arts, including Southern California University. After that, the actress followed in her world-famous parents’ footsteps and pursued a Hollywood career.

Rumer Willis, Bruce Willis, Tallulah Belle Willis, Demi Moore and Scout LaRue Willis posing backstage as Rumer makes her broadway debut as "Roxie Hart" in Broadway's "Chicago" on Broadway at The Ambassador Theater on September 21, 2015 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images

Rumer has starred in several films, including “The House Bunny,” “Striptease” and “Empire.” She is also a singer and a songwriter, and her hit song, “Crazy 4 U,” got featured on the “Empire: Original Soundtrack” Season 3.

The brunette beauty is also the winner of Season 20 of “Dancing with the Stars,” which aired in May 2015, alongside her dance partner, Val Chmerkovskiy.


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A post shared by Rumer Glenn Willis (@rumerwillis)

Moore and Willis had their second daughter, Scout, a Brown University graduate, in July 1991. Like her older sister, the actress grew up in Idaho and later explored a Hollywood career after relocating to Los Angeles with her mom and sisters.

Scout has been featured in numerous movie roles, such as “Bandits,” “The Scarlett Letter” (her acting debut), and “Breakfast of Champions,” alongside her mother.

She also supports important causes as an activist and has worked with many non-profit organizations, including the Bruce Willis Foundation, Save the Children, and Habitat for Humanity.

Willis and Moore’s third daughter, Tallulah, arrived in February 1994. Unlike her siblings, she was born and bred in LA and is a graduate of the University of San Francisco.

However, Tallulah eventually followed in her family’s footsteps and became an actress. She made an appearance in “The Whole Ten Yards,” “Bandits,” and “The Scarlett Letter.”

She is currently in a relationship with film director Dillion Buss and announced their engagement in May 2021 after dating for one year.


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A post shared by Demi Moore (@demimoore)

Willis began questioning his role as a father in his children’s lives, including failing to make his role as a husband work in his marriage to Moore, expressing:

“I felt I had failed as a father and a husband by not being able to make it work.”

When he was on the phone with Smith, he told him that things would get better with time, giving him hope. He further said to him that sooner or later, he and Moore would start seeing other people and would have to show their brood that it was okay to move on.

Bruce Willis during a VIP party at T-Mobile Arena on August 26, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. / Source: Getty Images

Even though Willis beat himself up about his failure concerning his family, his daughters think otherwise. He and their mother were quarantined together amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and engaged in several activities while cooped up.

In an appearance on the podcast “Dopey,” their middle child, Scout, shared that it had been fun to watch both of her parents in the same house where they raised them.

They welcomed their first child together, daughter Mabel, in 2012 and another daughter named Evelyn, in 2014. After being married for ten years, the couple renewed their wedding vows in 2019, and Heming, a one-time model, had nothing but praise for her husband:

“I think we’ve always had a lot of respect for each other, which has helped build a great foundation. He makes me laugh. He’s funny, and he’s smart, and nuts, and always keeps me on my toes, so it’s fun.”

Before marrying Heming, Willis dated several models as he was single for a decade. When talking about that experience, he said he went from not caring about being loved to “love is truly the answer.”

He spent his single years unhappy and was in a dark place. The father of five said he never thought that being with someone was the answer. However, his whole perspective changed when he started spending time around Heming, and every day, his life became much happier.

After only one date on a Friday before Heming was getting ready to move to New York, the duo fell madly in love, and their romance blossomed. Even though the mom of two is relatively young, she revealed in an interview with W magazine that they have more in common.

Heming shared they are both self-made, are from similar backgrounds, and worked until they became self-sufficient. The actress added that, at first, she was nervous about being a stepmother to Willis’ kids because she had never dated a man with children and wanted to be sensitive to that.

However, it did not turn out as bad as she had thought, and she views the blended family life as a blessing. Moore even attended their wedding along with her then-husband actor Ashton Kutcher and her daughters.

Heming once shared that she has nothing but respect for both Willis and Moore, who, despite their divorce, managed to put their children first. The British-American native told Closer Weekly in April 2019 that Moore had welcomed her into her family as she welcomed her into hers:

“It was important for her to be there. She was at our first wedding. I loved having her there again. I wouldn’t do it without her.”

The insider revealed the issues arose in his recent movies and that he could not remember his lines before the family stepped in to care for him. He allegedly used earpieces for them to feed him the lines, and it was very difficult for him on screen, said the source.

Though attempts were made to adjust to his struggle, it became apparent that the situation was getting worse, “it was becoming super obvious he was having trouble, he could not act anymore,” the source revealed.

His wife Heming became his caregiver, with an insider telling People that she is working with several professionals to assist him. The source revealed that Willis has an assistant for safety but that Heming takes care of him too.

The family shared they are tackling this bump head-on as a strong family unit. According to Mayo Clinic, aphasia is a medical condition that can affect a person’s ability to speak, write, and understand language in both written and verbal.

It occurs after a stroke or a head injury, but Willis’ family did not reveal the cause of his condition. However, he has endured injuries on film sets over the years.

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