Struggling With Dementia, Bruce Willis’s Wife Begs Paparazzi To Stop Tormenting Him

Bruce Willis' wife, Emma Heming Willis, took to Instagram asking paparazzi to give her husband plenty of space when he's out in public, as dementia means he'll get confused and scared at all of the attention.

By Jonathan Klotz | Updated

bruce willis

Legendary action star and one of the greatest to step foot on a stage, Bruce Willis, was recently diagnosed with dementia following his retirement from acting. Cinemablend reports that his wife, Emma Heming Willis, went to Instagram with a special request directed at the paparazzi. In the short video, Mrs. Willis asks that they give the Die Hard star space while out and about, as he might not know why everyone is hollering at him and trying to take his picture.

In the post’s caption, she asks for advice from anyone else who has to take care of a loved one with dementia. With over half a million followers, the community has rallied around the Willis family to provide love and support, offering countless anecdotes of what worked and doesn’t work based on their own experiences. The message is short but respectful of how the paparazzi are trying to make a living, asking the videographers in particular not to yell at Bruce Willis when he’s in public.

Everyone that has seen a loved one slowly fades away due to dementia or Alzheimer’s knows how difficult it can be, day in and day out, never sure how they’ll react to stimuli. Dealing with the decline in full view of the public is even worse. Somedays, he might not know his name, leading to public confusion with strangers shouting at him, which could be dangerous.

The way dementia attacks the cognitive functions of the brain is by stopping the communication of cells. In practice, this means that the person with the disease may be aware of things going on around them but unable to communicate or fully understand why events are taking place. Memory loss is a primary symptom of dementia which can lead to a confused person wandering around in public and unaware of where they are, and sometimes, even who they are.

Bruce Willis in Die Hard

After an illustrious career that took off in 1985 when he landed the lead role in Moonlighting alongside Cybil Shepard, Bruce Willis then became a superstar following the groundbreaking success of Die Hard; still the greatest action movie ever made. Throughout the 90s, Willis continued to star in action films, including two more Die Hard sequels, sci-fi thriller 12 Monkeys, The Fifth Element, and the Sixth Sense, his first of three collaborations with M. Night Shyamalan.

More recently, the star was routinely the butt of jokes for his willingness to star in any direct-to-DVD movie, though the public was unaware of his difficulty with aphasia at the time. Once the diagnosis came out, the jokes stopped, and just a few months later came the horrific news that Bruce Willis had dementia.

It’s good that longtime fans of the star rally around his wife and family, offering support and guidance at a difficult time. Hopefully, Bruce Willis can quietly live out the rest of his life without interference from the public, surrounded by family and loved ones.