A bittersweet celebration. Bruce Willis‘ wife, Emma Heming Willis, got emotional while marking his 68th birthday following his dementia diagnosis.
The 44-year-old model took to her Instagram Story on Sunday, March 19, to give fans an update on how she’s processing her husband’s health battle. “I have started the morning by crying as you can see by my swollen eyes,” she said in the candid video, noting that she feels “it’s important that you see all sides” of her family’s experience.
She continued: “I always get this message where people always tell me, ‘Oh, you’re so strong. I don’t know how you do it.’ I’m not given a choice. I wish I was, but I’m also raising two kids in this.”
Heming Willis and the Die Hard actor share daughters Mabel, 10, and Evelyn, 8. As Willis continues to face challenges with his health, the CocoBaba founder is taking things one day at a time.
“Sometimes in our lives, we have to put our big girl panties on and get to it, and that’s what I’m doing,” she said. “But I do have times of sadness every day, grief every day and I’m really feeling it today on his birthday.”
The Malta native also penned a heartfelt tribute to Willis on Sunday, uploading a montage of some of the couple’s sweetest moments together. “He is pure love. He is so loved. And I’ll be loving him always. Happy Birthday my sweet 💌,” she gushed in the caption. “My birthday wish for Bruce is that you continue to keep him in your prayers and highest vibrations because his sensitive Pisces soul will feel it 🙏🏽 Thank you so much for loving and caring for him too 💞.”
The twosome tied the knot in March 2009, initially exchanging vows in Turks and Caicos. While the nuptials were not legally binding, the pair hosted a civil ceremony later that month when they returned to California.
Willis was previously married to Demi Moore from 1987 to 2000. The exes share three daughters — Rumer, Scout and Tallulah Willis — and have remained friendly in the years since their split. The blended family all gathered together to celebrate the Armageddon star on Sunday.
“Happy birthday, BW! So glad we could celebrate you today. Love you and love our family. Thank you to everyone for the love and warm wishes — we all feel them,” Moore, 60, captioned a sweet video of Bruce being serenaded by his kids and Heming Willis.
The celebration came nearly one year after Moore, Heming Willis and their respective children announced that the two-time Emmy winner would be stepping away from the spotlight. “To Bruce’s amazing supporters, as a family we wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities,” read a joint statement shared via Instagram in March 2022.
The group acknowledged that it was a “really challenging time for our family,” adding that they all felt “appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support.”
At the time, a source exclusively told Us Weekly that the Red actor felt “blessed” to have such a strong support system in his loved ones. “They’re all pulling together, and that’s what matters,” the insider said.
Moore joined Heming Willis in updating fans on Bruce’s condition earlier this year, revealing that his diagnosis had “progressed” into frontotemporal dementia (FTD). “Unfortunately, challenges with communication are just one symptom of the disease Bruce faces. While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis,” read a February statement.
While FTD is the “most common form of dementia,” the women stated that “today there are no treatments for the disease, a reality that we hope can change in the years ahead.”
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The message continued: “Bruce always believed in using his voice in the world to help others, and to raise awareness about important issues both publicly and privately. We know in our hearts that — if he could today — he would want to respond by bringing global attention and a connectedness with those who are also dealing with this debilitating disease and how it impacts so many individuals and their families.”