Bruce Willis’ wife to paparazzi: Stop chasing him after dementia diagnosis


Emma Heming Willis is asking the paparazzi to keep their distance from her husband, actor Bruce Willis, who was recently diagnosed with a rare form of dementia.

“This one goes out to the photographers and video people trying to get the exclusives of my husband out and about,” Heming Willis said in a video posted to Instagram on Saturday. “Just keep your seat.”

Heming Willis, who has been married to the actor since 2009 and shares two daughters with him, said it was important for her husband to have his space when he is out in public.

“Please don’t yell at my husband and ask him how he is,” she said. “Make it possible for our family or whoever is with him that day to be able to get him from point A to point B safely.”

Willis’ family announced last month that the 67-year-old had been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, or FTD. The announcement came about a year after he retired from acting, citing a communication disorder known as aphasia, which had since progressed. There is no treatment or cure for FTD, which mostly affects people between the ages of 40 and 60.

Heming Willis said her husband was recently harassed by photographers trying to take pictures of the star when he met friends for coffee. She credited Willis’ friends for doing a “stand-up job of protecting him” and explained how “stressful and difficult” it can be for loved ones and relatives to help those with the disease navigate the world.

“Any tips or advice on how to get your loved ones out into the world safely?” asked Heming Willis. In the comments, many praised her honesty and attempts to raise awareness of the disease.

Bruce Willis has frontotemporal dementia: What are the symptoms of FTD?

Neurologists say that people with FTD may need additional support for daily activities as the disease progresses. Patients may also need help with physical safety and communication.

Symptoms of FTD can include changes in behavior, speech or movement, experts said. Patients may have aphasia like Willis’, which can cause them to struggle to understand or produce language.

The actor’s family said in February that he faces challenges with communication, among many other symptoms of the disease. “Although this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis,” read the statement from Heming Willis, his ex-wife Demi Moore and his five daughters.

The family said the public’s “compassion, understanding and respect” will help them support Willis in living “as full a life as possible.”

Richard Sima, Kelyn Soong, Caitlin Gilbert and Marlene Cimons contributed to this report.

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