Bruce Willis‘ close relationship with his ex-wife Demi Moore has been highlighted in his family’s joint statement about his brain condition, which she co-signed along with his wife Emma Heming Willis and all five of his children.
In the post they shared on social media, they announced that the 67-year-old actor was retiring from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia, a condition caused by brain damage that affects one’s ability to speak, write, and understand language.
‘To Bruce’s amazing supporters, as a family we wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities,’ they wrote.
Bruce Willis’ family released a joint statement on Wednesday revealing that he was diagnosed with aphasia, a condition that affects one’s ability to speak, write, and understand language
Willis’ wife Emma Heming Willis, ex-wife Demi Moore, and his three eldest children shared the joint statement on social media along with a throwback photo of the actor in a white robe
The statement was signed by Willis’ ex-wife, his current wife, and all five of his children: ‘Emma, Demi, Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel, & Evelyn’
‘As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him. This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support.
‘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,’ they added. ‘As Bruce always says, “Live it up” and together we plan to do just that.’
Willis shares three daughters — Rumer, 33, Scout, 30, and Tallulah, 28 — with Moore, 59, and two daughters — Mabel, nine, and Evelyn, seven — with Heming Willis, 43.
The statement was signed ‘Emma, Demi, Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel, & Evelyn.’
‘Aphasia in an impairment of language, affecting the production or comprehension of speech and the ability to read or write,’ according to the National Aphasia Association.
Willis and Moore (pictured in 1994) wed at the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on November 21, 1987
The former couple’s eldest daughter, Rumer, was born in 1988, followed by Scout in 1991 and Tallulah in 1994
Willis and Moore (seen in 1997) announced their split in 1998 after a decade of marriage, and their divorce was finalized in 2000, but the remained committed to being best friends and co-parents
It is always due to injury to the brain, most commonly from a stroke, particularly in older individuals. Head trauma, brain tumors, or infections can also cause aphasia.
Willis’ family did not share what led to his diagnosis, but their message of unity during this difficult time is a reminder of his tight-knit relationship with Moore.
The former couple met at the Los Angeles premiere of the 1987 action comedy Stakeout, which starred actor Emilio Estevez — Moore’s then-fiancé.
The actress, who was previously married to singer Freddy Moore from 1981 to 1985, started dating Willis shortly after her split from Estevez. After just three months together, they wed at the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on November 21, 1987.
‘We were moving to the gambling tables when Bruce said, “I think we should get married.” We’d been joking about it on the flight there, but suddenly it didn’t seem like he was kidding,’ Moore wrote in her 2019 memoir, Inside Out.
Willis forged a bond with Moore’s third husband, Ashton Kutcher (seen together with Willis and Moore’s children in 2003), whom she married in 2005. Moore and Kutcher split in 2011 and divorced a few years later
In 2009, Willis married Heming Willis (left), an English model and actress, on the Turks and Caicos islands, but he remained close with Moore (right)
Willis and his wife Heming Willis have two daughters, Mabel, nine, and Evelyn, seven, together
Their eldest daughter, Rumer, was born in 1988, followed by Scout in 1991 and Tallulah in 1994.
Willis and Moore announced their split in 1998 after a decade of marriage, and their divorce was finalized in 2000. That same year, the Die Hard actor opened up about their enduring friendship and dedication to co-parenting.
‘I still love Demi. We’re very close,’ he told Rolling Stone. ‘We have three children whom we will continue to raise together, and we’re probably as close now as we ever were. We realize we have a lifelong commitment to our kids. Our friendship continues
‘The institution has been set aside… It’s difficult to live your life and marriage under a magnifying glass, which is what happens to movie star couples.’
In 2005, Moore married actor Ashton Kutcher, and Willis became friends with his ex-wife’s third husband, although they both admitted it was an adjustment at first.
Moore and Heming Willis have forged a close bond; the Ghost actress regularly spends quality time with Willis’ two youngest children during their family get-togethers
In 2020, Willis and Moore made headlines after they spent four weeks in quarantine with their daughters, two of their daughters’ boyfriends, and her assistant amid the COVID-19 pandemic
Willis, who remained single for a decade after his divorce, credited his friend Will Smith with helping him get over his jealousy when Moore and Kutcher started dating in 2003.
‘During some very dark hours he talked to me about it,’ he told Playboy in 2007. ‘He said, “Dude, you’ve got to do whatever it takes to get the kids and all the spouses or the girlfriend together. You’ve got to show your kids it’s okay.” It was like a light went on. Ding. So Will, thanks. And thanks for all those good movies you’re making.’
Kutcher shared a similar statement during an interview with Live magazine, saying: ‘People ask us, “How do you guys get on so well?” Well, I don’t like everything Bruce does, and I’m sure he doesn’t think everything I do is great.
‘But being with Bruce is normal to me now,’ he added. ‘We go scuba-diving, skiing, we hang out with the girls together, we watch movies, we talk about sport.’
In 2009, Willis married Heming Willis, an English model and actress, on the Turks and Caicos islands with Moore and Kutcher among their wedding guests.
Bruce’s wife Emma was not quarantined with her husband and his ex-wife
The family had a great time posing together in matching pajamas and posing with the same books while stuck inside
Scout later revealed on a podcast that her stepmother and younger sisters weren’t with them because one of the girls poke herself with a need in the park and was awaiting test results
‘We’ve become like a tribe,’ Willis said of their blended family while speaking with W Magazine that year.
Heming Willis added that she met Moore and Kutcher early on, saying she was ‘really blessed because from day one it’s been comfortable and fun.’
The Unbreakable star noted that people are often baffled by his friendship with Moore, whom he said he still loves.
‘It’s generated a lot of interest because everyone can understand resentment and envy in the breakup of a marriage, but they don’t understand how I can get along with my ex like that,’ he said. ‘Demi and I made a choice to put the kids first, and we’re really lucky that it turns out we all have fun together.’
Moore, who is 15 years older than Kutcher, split with the actor in 2011, and they finalized their divorce in 2013.
Meanwhile, Willis and Heming Willis went on to welcome their daughter Mabel in 2012. Two years later, they had Evelyn.
Moore often shares photos of herself with Willis on his birthday each year
Moore shared this photo earlier this month to wish Willis a happy birthday while thanking him for their blended family
During an interview with Larry King in March 2015, Rumer praised her parents for getting along and making it a point to remain a family after they divorced and married other people.
‘We are moving through this as a strong family unit:’ Bruce Willis’ family issues statement about his condition
To Bruce’s amazing supporters, as a family we wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities. As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.
This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support. 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.
Emma, Demi, Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel, & Evelyn
‘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,’ she said.
In 2020, Willis and Moore made headlines after they spent four weeks in quarantine with their daughters, two of their daughters’ boyfriends, and her assistant amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The actor’s wife and two youngest daughters were not with them, but Scout later explained that there was a simple explanation for their absence.
‘My stepmom was going to come up here with my little sisters,’ she said on the Dopey podcast. ‘But my younger sister, who is now actually 7 years old, at a park, had never gotten a talk about not [expletive] with hypodermic needles that she found, so she actually tried to poke her shoe with it and poked her foot.’
She added: ‘So my stepmom had to be in L.A. waiting to get the results from taking her to the doctor so my dad came up here early and then travel got crazy so my stepmom stayed in LA with my little sisters.’
Earlier this month, Moore wished Willis a happy birthday in an Instagram post, sharing a photo of them standing in the kitchen.
‘Happy birthday Bruce! Thankful for our blended family,’ she wrote.
That same weekend, Heming Willis posted a tribute to her husband of 13 years in honor of their anniversary.
She shared a photo of them at their 2009 wedding, writing: ’13 years ago, those wedding speeches really sent us over the edge,’ she wrote.
Heming Willis also posted her own birthday tribute to her husband — a photo montage she created, sharing: ‘I don’t just love him, I really, really like him.’
Aphasia, the brain condition suffered by Bruce Willis, can leave a person unable to communicate
The world learned on Wednesday that Hollywood legend Bruce Willis, 67, would retire due to his diagnosis of aphasia, a potentially devastating condition that causes a person to lose communication skills.
Willis’ family announced that the condition would cause the Die Hard star to step away ‘from the career that has meant so much to him.’
Around one million Americans suffer from the condition, the National Institutes of Health reports, and around 180,000 people are diagnosed with it every year.
It can manifest itself in multiple ways, and is often either the result of a head injury, a stroke, a tumor or other brain deterioration.
Aphasia can be devastating as well, with experts saying it causes depression in over a third of cases, can lead to personality shifts and can even alienate friends and family from the affected person.
Other famous examples of aphasia include former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke.
‘Imagine being dropped in a country where you do not speak the language – cannot understand, read, write or speak. It would impact all of your interactions – this is what it is like to have aphasia,’ Darlene Williamson, president of the aphasia association, told DailyMail.com.
While it is impossible to say for Willis in particular how drastically the condition has effected him and his behavior, Williamson reports that it can often be devastating for patients.
‘The consequences of living with a language impairment can alter someone’s behavior and outlook on life,’ Williamson said.
‘Approximately 35 percent of individuals with aphasia experience some depression.’
The cause of the condition, which is often some sort of traumatic brain injury or a stroke, can lead to massive personality shifts.
‘[Aphasia is] difficulty with language that comes about from some kind of injury to the brain. The most common source is stroke… but it could come from any other type of damage,’ Dr Brenda Rapp, a cognitive scientist at Johns Hopkins University, told DailyMail.com.
Certain infections that impact the brain’s language centers can cause aphasia to form as well, along with cognitive decline and deterioration associated with dementia.
The condition can make it very hard for an actor like Willis to continue in his career, as just the process of speaking out lines can become a challenge.
‘It would surely be difficult,’ Williamson said about attempting to continue acting while afflicted with the condition.
‘Aphasia affects comprehension of language, speaking, as well as reading and writing. There are varying levels of severity which would be another determining factor. It may not be impossible, but acting would require extra accommodations.’
Dr Rapp said that despite communication failures caused by the condition, people who suffer the condition still have the same thoughts, and are internally the same person. While the experience can be alienating, loved ones should remember that the person has not changed. Pictured: Willis with family and friends after a ‘roast’ event in 2018
There are four common types of aphasia that make up a vast majority of cases: fluent – often called Wernicke’s; non-fluent – known as Broca’s; anomic; and Primary Progressive Aphasia.
Rapp explained that there are different forms of the condition because each represents a different type of breakdown in the process of communication.
Whether it is the ability to translate thoughts into proper words, the ability to physically say words, or the ability to interpret and understand speech from others, each part of communication is a complex process, and even slight brain damage can cause issue.
While the condition does cause communication failures, Rapp notes that the person themselves is still the same.
Their thoughts, beliefs and feeling towards their loved ones remain, even if it can be frustrating and alienating for both the aphasia patient and those around them to deal with this condition.
Willis’ family did not reveal what type he was facing, or how severe of a case he had, or what was the root cause found for the condition.
According to the Stroke Association, a UK based group, those who suffer Wernicke’s aphasia have the ability to string together long sentences of words, but will often say things in a way that they do not make sense, or even use made up words.
They will also suffer from impaired reading and writing ability, and may have trouble understanding clear verbal communication towards them.
One example used by Rapp is that a person may misunderstand the sentence ‘John kicked the dog’.
Dr Brenda Rapp, a cognitive scientist at Johns Hopkins University, explains that aphasia is often caused by a stroke, and can manifest itself in many different ways
While the average person would clearly understand who kicked who in that scenario, a person dealing with this type of the condition may struggle to figure out whether John or the dog was the person that did the kicking.
Broca’s aphasia will often cause a person to forget words or put together a proper string of words even when their brain can fully understand what they want to say.
A person suffering from this type of the condition will often use simple, short, sentences to get across speech as they are unable to properly say what they want to at times.
The Stroke Association says that these sentences will often be of around four words or less.
A person suffering from Broca’s aphasia will also struggle with writing, but their reading ability is left unaffected.
Someone suffering from anomic aphasia may suffer to find specific verbs and nouns that they need to get their point across, and will speak very vaguely.
This may also translate into their writing, where they will just not be able to generate the correct words necessary to say what they would like to say.
Primary Progressive Aphasia aphasia damages a person’s ability to communicate in virtually every single way.
A person suffering from this version of the condition will have trouble speaking, reading and writing.
Their ability to process and understand someone that is speaking to them is damaged as well.
Doctors can often detect aphasia via either an MRI or CT scan, and will be able to pinpoint the exact part of the brain that is causing the issue.
There is no way to fix or cure the condition entirely, but patients will often undergo speech therapy to help rebuild their language skills.
‘There’s not a lot of progress [with medication for the condition]… the treatment for aphasia is speech therapy,’ Rapp said.
She noted that in some cases a person may undergo electric stimulation therapy alongside speech therapy in order to ‘get the most’ out of the experience.
Williamson said that ‘strong family support is a critical piece of living successfully with aphasia.’
It is not always permanent, though, and how long it lasts and how severe it is often depends on how bad the damage to the brain is.
Stroke victims in particular that suffer aphasia can regain their speech, and often within only a few weeks.