Tallulah Willis said that her father has been in declining health for years
Tallulah Willis claims that after being diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, her father, Bruce Willis, still recognizes her.
Tallulah, 29, wrote a first-person essay describing Bruce, 68, who was diagnosed with FTD, a degenerative brain disease, in February after his family initially revealed that he had suffered from aphasia in 2022.
She wrote, “I’ve known something was wrong for a long time. The family blamed Hollywood’s hearing loss for the initial foggy unresponsiveness, saying, “Speak up! Die Hard damaged Dad’s ears.”
Tallulah added, “Later, that unresponsiveness widened, and I sometimes took it personally. It was hard not to take the quiet personally. I believed he had become distant from me after he fathered two children with my stepmother, Emma Heming Willis.”
She continued, referring to her mother, Demi Moore: “Though this couldn’t have been further from the truth, my adolescent brain tormented me with some flawed math: I’m not pretty enough for my mother, I’m not intriguing enough for my father.”
Despite her personal difficulties, Tallulah said that she responded to her father’s health decline with “avoidance and denial”. However, she claimed that she was better equipped to face reality after receiving therapy for her eating issue and a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.
Although recovery is likely a lifetime process, Tallulah stated, “I now have the tools to be present in all aspects of my life, especially in my relationship with my dad.”
“No matter where I’ve gone, I can offer him a sunny, bright spirit,” she said. “In the past, I was terrified of letting melancholy consume me, but at last, I feel like I can depend on myself to be there.”
Tallulah continued, “I can cherish that moment, grasp my dad’s hand, and feel it’s amazing.”
The actress, Demi Moore’s mother, admitted to taking “tons of photos” every time she visits her father’s home “of whatever I see, the state of things.”
Tallulah said, “I’m like an archaeologist, looking for treasure in things I never used to pay attention to. I have all of his voicemails on a hard disk. I realize I’m trying to record everything to create a record for the day he isn’t here to remind me of him and us.”
“These days, my dad can always be found on the house’s first floor, either in his office or anywhere in the large open layout of the kitchen, dining, and living area. Thankfully, his mobility has not been impacted by dementia,” she continued.
Tallulah added that he was still thinking about her. She said, “He still recognizes me and smiles when I walk into the room.”
When talking about Bruce, Tallulah said in an interview that she is “flipping between the present and the past: he is, he was, he is, he was.”
“That’s because I’m so unwilling to relinquish my hopes for my father,” she explained. “I’ve always seen traces of his personality in mine, and I know we’d get along so well if we had more time.”
“I embrace all of him because he was cool, charming, slick, trendy, lovely, and a little strange. I inherited those genes from him,” Tallulah continued.
According to her, her father would abuse the life he had built for himself because he had grown up in New Jersey with a scarcity mentality. She stated, “He loved to enjoy the life he had achieved for himself. He was a spoilsport. He occasionally ordered one of everything on the menu when we went to a restaurant so he could taste everything.”
The actor’s family — wife Emma, their children, Mabel, 11, and Evelyn, 9, as well as Moore, 60, and their children, Rumer, 34, Scout, 31, and Tallulah — have come together to help him “live as full a life as possible.”
“The focus for Bruce is to keep him active. He has a busy schedule with activities every day. They make sure both his body and brain are exercised,” a source also said at the time.