Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis’ ‘Big Gang of Women’ Stands by Him amid His Aphasia Diagnosis – Inside His Blended Family

Bruce Willis, 67, is retiring from acting after his diagnosis with aphasia. This condition impacts the brain’s ability to communicate. It can occur after a head injury, stroke, or from other diseases; the cause is unclear in Willis’ case. It can cause difficulty speaking and understanding other people’s dialogue, which can negatively affect a patient’s job, relationships, and daily life. Treatment includes speech and language rehabilitation and often requires the friends and family’s patience and cooperation. [1] Fortunately, Willis has a close blended family behind him every step of the way. 

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A United Blended Family

One week ago, Bruce Willis’ family posted the aphasia announcement on Instagram, explaining his diagnosis and retirement from acting. “This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support,” they wrote. “We are moving through this as a strong family unit, and wanted to bring his fans in because we know how much he means to you, as you do to him. As Bruce always says, “Live it up” and together we plan to do just that.[2]

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His family includes his wife Emma Heming, and their daughters Mabel Ray and Evelyn Penn, his ex-wife Demi Moore, and the daughters he had with her, Rumer, Scout, and Tallulah. While many people expect tension between Hemming and Moore, the two are good friends.

In 2021, Moore shared a long Instagram post on International Women’s Day “celebrating the women who inspire me,” which included Hemming Willis. “@emmahemingwillis: I #SeeHer as family who I am honored to call a friend,” Moore wrote. “Our children are sisters and yet there is no name for what our family connection is to one another. We are mothers united, sisters bonded on this crazy adventure of life.” 

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Read: How Did Demi Moore Survive Her Toxic Marriage With Ashton Kutcher

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One Family Unit

Moore and Willis wed in 1987, separated in 1998, and divorced two years later. Still, they remained good friends as they co-parented their three daughters. Then in 2009, Willis married Heming Willis. When they renewed their vows in March 2019, Moore attended the ceremony.  “I’m so thankful and grateful that my parents made such an effort at that time,” Rumer said to Larry King in March 2015. “They always made an effort to do all of the family events still together and made such an effort to still have our family be as one unit, as opposed to two separate things, which I think really made an impact.” [3]

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During the pandemic, Willis and Moore were quarantined with their daughters at the house where they co-parented. Heming Willis and their two girls joined them at a later date. “It was really a blessing,” Moore said.“It’s everything that’s come forward has allowed us to reevaluate what’s important and what needs attention that has been overlooked and neglected. It was amazing,” She added that her adult daughters “love their little sisters.”

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Fortunately, the family made the best of the situation and used the time to become closer. “Our family regardless of what the shape of it is, it’s important to keep together and for the little ones to feel comfortable with me, and to know me so they also know their sisters better,” Moore said. “It was really sweet and we did have some silly times for sure.” [4]

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How the Family is Handling Willis’ Aphasia

“Some people with aphasia have been able to recover completely without treatment,” said Sanam Hafeez, PsyD, an NYC-based neuropsychologist and director of Comprehend the Mind. “But for most, some amount of aphasia typically remains.”

While therapy can help slowly recover language functions over time, many patients still have problems communicating. “This can be difficult and frustrating both for the person with aphasia and for their family members,” Hafeez said. “It’s essential for family members to learn the best ways to communicate with their loved ones.” [5] This can include speaking slower or more clearly, using smaller vocabulary while not infantilizing their speech, turning off distractions like a TV while conversing, or using visual clues such as written words to help communicate. Every case is different so the treatment process varies.

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After Willis and his family came forward about the aphasia diagnosis, they received a tremendous amount of support from fans and friends. But especially his family is “doing whatever they can [to support] him,” said an insider source. “They have rallied around him in a big way to help Bruce cope with what is to come.”

A someone facing health challenges, Bruce couldn’t be part of a better family,” said a source close to Heming Willis. “It’s been shocking. And it’s not easy seeing a spouse decline. But she’s trying to keep it together for him.[6]

Keep Reading: Bruce Willis Waited 54 Years For The Love Of His Life

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Sources

  1. “Aphasia.Mayo Clinic. March 31, 2022
  2. Instagram. Demi Moore. April 5, 2022
  3. “Friendly Exes! Demi Moore and Bruce Willis’ Amicable Post-Split Relationship Through the Years.” US Magazine. Meredith Nardino. March 30, 2022
  4. “Demi Moore Says She and Ex Bruce Willis’ Wife Emma Heming Are ‘Sisters’: ‘We Are Mothers United’.People. Gabriella Chung. March 9, 2021
  5. “Bruce Willis’ Family Say He’s Living With Aphasia. Here’s What That Means.Healthline. George Citroner. April 1, 2022 
  6. “Bruce Willis’s Family Is “Doing Whatever They Can to Support Him” Amid Aphasia Diagnosis.Vanity Fair. Emily Kirkpatrick. April 6, 2022
Sarah Biren
Freelance Writer
Sarah is a baker, cook, author, and blogger living in Toronto. She believes that food is the best method of healing and a classic way of bringing people together. In her spare time, Sarah does yoga, reads cookbooks, writes stories, and finds ways to make any type of food in her blender.
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