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Rumer Willis hopes being transparent about Bruce Willis’ health will give people hope

Nardine Saad – Los Angeles Times (TNS)

Rumer Willis, the eldest daughter of action star Bruce Willis and actor Demi Moore, says her father is “great” as he continues to battle dementia.

“Yeah, yeah, doing OK. Thank you so much for asking,” Rumer Willis told Fox News Digital at the Wednesday night premiere of her new film, “My Divorce Party,” during the 24th Beverly Hills Film Festival.

The “Empire” and “Sorority Row” star said sharing updates about her father’s health journey has been a positive experience for her family members, who have rallied behind the “Die Hard” and “Armageddon” actor since announcing in March 2022 that he would step away from his career after struggling with aphasia, a cognitive disorder that impairs his ability to communicate.

“I think, for me, through this experience, what’s been so incredible is my dad is so beloved, and that’s been so evident in the transparency with which we’ve been sharing,” his 35-year-old daughter said.

“And I think if there’s any way sharing our experience brings hope — whatever comes forward as a family — that can have an effect and bring any sort of hope, comfort to someone else experiencing that, then to me, that’s … everything.”

Willis’ health had been a concern for many who worked with the prolific actor in his late-career years, with some questioning whether the action star was fully aware of his surroundings on set.

Some described heart-wrenching scenes as Willis grappled with his loss of mental acuity and an inability to remember his dialogue, The Times reported previously. In February 2023, Willis’ family announced that he had been diagnosed more specifically with frontotemporal dementia, a degenerative brain disease that currently has no cure.

Rumer Willis marked her father’s 69th birthday in March with photos of her infant daughter Louetta with her international film and TV star grandfather, who plays with his granddaughter in the sweet image.

“With baby Lou,” she wrote on Instagram stories, adding, “Lou loves you so big.”

In March, the “Pulp Fiction” star’s wife, Emma Heming, who has shared glimpses of her new role as her husband’s caregiver, publicly disputed a headline claiming that Willis felt “no more joy” following his diagnoses.

“I can just tell you that is far from the truth, OK?,” she explained in an Instagram reel at the time. “I need society and who’s ever writing these stupid headlines to stop scaring people. Stop scaring people to think that once they get a diagnosis of some neurocognitive disease that, that’s it. It’s over.”

She added: “It is the complete opposite of that.”

Heming, 45, said on Sunday that while she and her loved ones experience conflicting emotions about her husband’s health, this chapter of caring for Willis “is filled … with love, connection, it’s filled with joy, it’s filled with happiness.”

That same month, the model-turned-businesswoman marked her 15th wedding anniversary with the actor, noting that she could either “wallow in sorrow” on that day or “celebrate it.”

“I call this the ‘remarkable reframe,'” she wrote on Instagram, posting a photo of Willis kissing her. “What I know is there is so much to celebrate. Our union and connection is probably stronger than ever. We have two bright, fun and healthy daughters. We have a family unit that is built on mutual respect and admiration. And simply, I just love and adore the man I married. I’m so proud of what we have and continue to create. So, happy crystal anniversary to us!”

Willis’ tight-knit extended family has been at the forefront of his health struggle, coming together to support the actor and provide updates to the public for years. He and ex-wife Moore share daughters Rumer, 32-year-old Scout and 30-year-old Tallulah. He and Heming, whom he wed in 2009, share daughters Mabel, 12, and Evelyn, 9.

In January, Moore, who was married to “The Expendables” actor from 1987 to 2000, got candid about how she copes with his condition and encouraged people caring for loved ones with dementia to “meet them where they’re at.”

“When you let go of who they’ve been or who you think they [were] or who even you would like them to be,” the “G.I. Jane” and “Feud: Capote vs. the Swans” actor said on the SiriusXM show “Radio And,” “you can then really stay in the present and take in the joy and the love that is present and there for all that they are, not all that they’re not.”

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(L.A. Times staff writer Alexandra Del Rosario contributed to this report.)

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©2024 Los Angeles Times. Visit latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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