Bruce Willis’ wife Emma says she struggles with ‘guilt’ amid husband’s health battle.
Bruce Willis’ wife Emma is opening up about her husband’s dementia diagnosis and the lessons it has taught her in a powerful new essay.
In the article, which was published in Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper, the model and health advocate detailed the personal highs and lows that she has faced since the Die Hard actor’s family announced that his condition had progressed from aphasia to frontotemporal dementia, or FTD, in February.
“I struggle with guilt, knowing that I have resources that others don’t. When I’m able to get out for a hike to clear my head, it’s not lost on me that not all care partners can do that,” Emma wrote. “When what I share about our family’s journey gets press attention, I know that there are many thousands of untold, unheard stories, each of them deserving of compassion and concern.”
However, Emma also acknowledged that the family has become a voice for those who are similarly battling the disease, and that sharing their story helps others “feel seen and understood” too.
“I want people to know that when I hear from another family affected by FTD, I hear our family’s same story of grief, loss, and immense sadness echoed in theirs,” she continued. “It’s important to me to be an advocate on behalf of those families who don’t have the time, energy, or resources to advocate for themselves.”
Emma, who married Bruce in 2009, says that she feels much more hopeful today “than I did after Bruce was first diagnosed.”
“I understand this disease more now, and I’m now connected to an incredible community of support,” she explained. “I have hope in having found a new purpose — admittedly one I never would have gone looking for — using the spotlight to help and empower others. And I have hope in how our entire family can find joy in the small things, and in coming together to celebrate all the moments life has to offer.”
While Emma admitted that she still has “so much to learn about FTD, this community, and how research on the disease is evolving,” she now feels like she’s “finding my footing” amid her husband’s health journey.
She concluded, “As much as I grieve this experience daily — as I know so many others do — I also know that it has made me stronger than I ever thought possible.”