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

Gaone Pule
Jun 01, 2022
02:20 P.M.
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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

WILLIS' FIRST MARRIAGE WITH DEMI MOORE

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

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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

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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

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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.

WILLIS AND MOORE WELCOMED THREE DAUGHTERS

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

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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

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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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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.

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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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Moore and Willis always prioritized parenthood over anything else. The "Unbreakable" star once said his proudest achievement was being a dad to their girls:

"I’m much more proud of being a father than being an actor."

WILLIS & MOORE'S DIVORCE – HE WANTED HER TO BE A STAY-AT-HOME MOM

Bruce Willis during the CocoBaba and Ushopal activity on November 4, 2019 in Shanghai, China. / Source: Getty Images

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After welcoming three children and being a Hollywood power couple for over a decade, Willis and Moore filed for divorce in 1998. Reports stated that the pair had been living apart for months due to their hectic schedules. Their divorce was finalized in 2000.

However, the pair have remained good friends over the years and continued to co-parent their kids amicably. Soon after the divorce made headlines, Willis, a German-American native, said:

"We have three children whom we will continue to raise together, and we're probably as close now as we ever were. Our friendship continues."

Rumer Willis, Bruce Willis, Tallulah Belle Willis, Demi Moore, Marlene Willis and Scout Willis attending the after party for the Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis at NeueHouse on July 14, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

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According to Moore, she and Willis began to butt heads when she wanted to return to work after giving birth to Rumer, but he wanted her to become a stay-at-home mom.

The duo started a family in the first year of marriage, and reality later hit when they realized they knew nothing about each other. Moore admitted that they were more passionate about becoming parents than being married from the very beginning.

After she became a household name for her role in 1990's "Ghost," Moore claimed that Willis told her that he did not want to be married anymore. Though he was proud of her success, he did not like the attention it received, making her feel uncomfortable.

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Bruce Willis and Demi Moore during "The Juror" Los Angeles premiere. / Source: Getty Images

The starlet also revealed that the "RED" star did not want to be known as the man who walked out on his family, but she still suspected he was having an affair. However, she remained married to him despite her suspicions.

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But it was not until Moore's mother was on her deathbed that the couple decided to split. They cited irreconcilable differences in court papers, and a judge signed the order the same day, wrapping up their eleven-year marriage.

The divorce heavily affected Willis, as he went into depression. In an interview with the Daily Mail, he gave fellow actor Will Smith credit for helping him "at a time when I was paralyzed with despair."

Bruce Willis during Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry and Switchfoot Visit MTV's "TRL" High School Week at MTV Studios, Times Square on April 5, 2004 in New York City, New York. / Source: Getty Images

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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

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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.

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Meanwhile, her older sister, Rumer, previously told Larry King on his talk show that her parents still get along well because they did not allow their divorce to affect their parenting.

"I never had to split up vacations or split up birthdays. They always made an effort to do all of the family events still together as opposed to two separate things, which I really think made an impact," said Rumer.

HOW WILLIS MET HIS SECOND WIFE - EMMA HEMING

Bruce Willis and Emma Heming during the premiere of "RED 2" at Westwood Village on July 11, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

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Despite his divorce taking its toll on him, Willis found love again when he met his second wife, Heming. In 2020, the couple appeared on "People's List." They talked about their married life, sharing that it was love at first sight for them. Heming confessed that she was enamored by her future spouse:

"When we first met, I was surprised at how charming and how funny he was and extremely handsome. That was my first thought of you."

Willis added saying, "I was already in love with her." The pair met through a mutual friend in 2007. Regardless of their 24-year age gap, they married in 2009 at a civil ceremony in Beverley Hills.

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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."

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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.

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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."

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Willis was lucky to have two more daughters with Heming. He gushed about their then-10-month old firstborn in 2013 in an interview with E! News, saying, "We're just trying to make her laugh all the time," sharing she was about to walk.

He even took her to the London set of the movie "Red 2" at the time. Meanwhile, his youngest daughter, Evelyn, is allowed to be a regular kid, who enjoys sewing, ice-skating and outdoor adventures.

Heming revealed on Instagram that when the doting dad was asked whether he would like to have a son, he responded: "I'd have five more girls right now."

WILLIS' HEALTH ISSUES BEFORE HIS DIAGNOSIS

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Bruce Willis and Emma Heming spotted at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 9, 2016 in Queens, New York City. / Source: Getty Images

Besides wanting more girl children, Willis still has a health concern that has made his career a back seat. He had cognitive problems on film sets before the aphasia diagnosis, a source disclosed to Page Six in March 2022.

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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.

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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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