Bruce Willis and Emma Heming's Relationship Timeline: From Love at First Sight to His Dementia Diagnosis
Bruce Willis and his wife of more than a decade, Emma Heming, are the true definition of relationship goals.
The Die Hard star fell head over heels for the actress-model after he met her in 2007. They would tie the knot in 2009 and later welcome two daughters -- Mabel, 10, and Evelyn, 8. Not only are they a tight-knit family, Willis and Heming have set a perfect example when it comes to a harmonious blended family.
Willis and Heming, 44, are often seen with the 67-year-old actor's ex-wife, Demi Moore, and their three daughters -- Rumer, 34, Scout, 31, and Tallulah, 28. They've celebrated together and also weathered tough times as a family. The whole group all showed a united front when they revealed the devastating news back in March 2022 that Willis was stepping away from his storied acting career due to his aphasia diagnosis, which is impacting his cognitive abilities.
In February 2023, Willis' family announced the actor's condition has progressed to frontotemporal dementia, also known as FTD.
"Since we announced Bruce's diagnosis of aphasia in spring 2022, Bruce’s condition has progressed and we now have a more specific diagnosis: frontotemporal dementia (known as FTD)," Willis' family revealed in a joint statement.
After showing such strong unity, ET takes a look back at Willis and Heming's love story.
They met in 2007
According to multiple reports, Willis and Heming met in 2007 at their mutual trainer's gym. The following year, they attended the Sundance Film Festival for his What Just Happened? film.
Willis told People in December 2020 about the first time he met Heming, calling it love at first sight. While discussing their marriage, Heming said that, when they first met, she was "surprised at how charming and how funny he was -- and extremely handsome," to which Willis replied, "I was already in love with her."
Willis and Heming tie the knot in 2009
The couple exchanged vows on March 21, 2009, at a ceremony held at the home they own in Turks and Caicos. Less than a week later, they reportedly had another wedding ceremony, this time in Beverly Hills.
They make their red carpet debut
The couple looked stunning when they made their red carpet debut as a married couple during the Met Gala in 2009. They were holding hands when they arrived for the event themed "The Model as Muse," with honorary chair Marc Jacobs.
The couple welcomes Mabel!
Willis and Heming welcomed their first child together, daughter Mabel Ray, on April 1, 2012. Nearly two weeks after welcoming Mabel, the actor arrived for his GI Joe: Retaliation premiere and told ET about how fatherhood had given him a new zest for life.
"You just forget how much fun it is and how cool it is," Willis said at the time. "There are a lot of things that I'm reminded of that regular life knocks out of you."
Willis admitted he was sleep deprived, but he wouldn't have it any other way.
"I didn't get to bed till 9 a.m. …[Lately] I'm just up wandering around with her…It just calms you down. It calms me down, anyway," he added.
Just over a month after Mabel entered the world, the couple shared the first pic of their daughter when Heming tweeted a pic.
"A beautiful day in Budapest with the loves of my life," she wrote. "Daddy and Mabel cracking each other up."
Willis hits birthday milestone
Three days after turning 60 on March 19, 2015, Heming took to Instagram and commemorated the actor's milestone birthday with a sweet post, which included a black-and-white strip from their photo booth sesh at his star-studded birthday soiree.
In the strip, the adorable couple shares a few laughs and she also plants a kiss on his cheek. She captioned the photo, "It's fair to say the birthday boy had a great time. #BWBirthdayBash."
It's another girl!
The happy couple welcomed Evelyn Penn Willis into the world on May 5, 2014. Baby Evelyn weighed 8 pounds, 10 ounces, Willis' rep told ET at the time and that "both mother and baby are healthy and doing beautifully" and that Willis and Heming "are overjoyed about the newest member of their family."
The rep added that Mabel Ray "is delighted to have a new baby sister."
Willis' Comedy Central Roast
Willis and Heming were all smiles while walking the red carpet at the July 2018 event. But another friendly and familiar face made a surprise appearance that day, Willis' ex, Moore.
Moore, looking glam in a shimmery gunmetal gown, deftly delivered some of the night's best roasts. She began by joking she had been “married to Bruce for the first three Die Hard movies, which makes sense because the last two sucked," according to Variety.
Then she covered their publicized divorce. “People wonder why our marriage came to an end, and in all honesty I think it was because some jealousy started to creep in. I think Bruce never really got over the fact that I rocked the bald look better than he did,” Moore cracked.
She continued, “After our divorce, he said he considered the end of our marriage his biggest failure, but Bruce, don’t be so hard on yourself, you’ve had much bigger failures. I mean, Planet Hollywood, Hudson Hawk, Striking Distance, campaigning for Michael Dukakis, turning down Clooney’s role in Ocean’s Eleven to focus on playing the harmonica?”
10 years ... and counting
In March 2019, the couple celebrated a decade of marriage. For the momentous occasion, Willis and Heming renewed their vows and threw a star-studded event attended by Moore.
In photos shared by Heming on her Instagram Story, Moore can be seen smiling in a floral yellow-and-white maxi dress alongside the rest of the group gathered for the special occasion. Meanwhile, the bride and groom stunned in all-white looks, with their two daughters -- Evelyn and Mabel -- matching their parents.
13 years ... and counting
In March 2022, the couple celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary. Heming posted a throwback photo on their wedding day, showing her choking back tears while Willis also looked teary-eyed. She captioned the post, "13 years ago, those wedding speeches really sent us over the edge 🤍😂 Enjoy! #uglycry #weddinganniversary #lucky 13."
Just one year prior, Heming shared a special message for Willis to celebrate yet another anniversary.
"Boy I sure do love this guy to the moon and back!" she captioned a beaming photo showing her planting a kiss on her husband's scruffy cheek. "Even though there’s been times I would have loved to take him to the moon, drop him off, and come back solo! 🌚🤣 That’s what 12 years of marriage looks like, right?"
"We’ve had our fair share of floating-on-air ups and disheartening downs. But he is my person," she continued. "There’s no one I would want to go through this crazy thing called marriage with than with him."
Family announces Willis' aphasia diagnosis
On March 30, 2022, the family -- Heming, Moore, daughters Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel and Evelyn -- shared a joint statement announcing Willis' diagnosis with aphasia.
"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," the statement read. "As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him."
The family added, "This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support. We are moving through this as a strong family unit, and wanted to bring his fans in because we know how much he means to you, as you do to him."
The women concluded the post, writing, "As Bruce always says, 'Live it up' and together we plan to do just that."
Aphasia is defined by the Mayo Clinic as "a condition that robs you of the ability to communicate. It can affect your ability to speak, write and understand language, both verbal and written."
The main treatment is speech and language therapy.
Yippee ki-yay motha...
Just months after the sad health update, Heming took to Instagram to celebrate the 34th anniversary of her husband's iconic action blockbuster, Die Hard, by paying a visit to the famous rooftop of the towering Nakatomi Plaza.
The video montage featured scenes from the beloved action film, intercut with a clip of the star standing on the rooftop looking out over the horizon.
"On top of Nakatomi Plaza 34 years later," Heming wrote, referring, of course, to Fox Plaza in Los Angeles, where Die Hard was filmed.
The sweet, nostalgic footage was set to "Ode to Joy," one of the film's most memorable musical scores.
It's a "magic" summer
While 2022 was a tough year for Willis & Co., the family exuded hope as they looked back on a year that also brought them much joy. Heming took to Instagram and shared a video of their "magic" summer. Heming's compilation video featured Mabel and Evelyn, and the post was set to Maren Morris' "Bones."
In the video, Willis is seen goofing off with his girls, enjoying walks in the woods and sharing a kiss with his wife. He also appeared to be staying active amid his diagnosis. In the video compilation, he can be seen playing catch, dancing with Mabel and giving her a piggyback ride.
"We don’t believe in perfection over here but #oursummer2022 was pretty close to it. In fact it was magic ☀️🥰," Heming captioned the clip.
Willis runs to his wife's defense
For National Grief Awareness Day, Heming took to social media and addressed how she's coping in light of Willis' aphasia diagnosis.
"This was the summer of self discovery—finding new hobbies, going out of my comfort zone and staying active," Heming captioned a video of herself gardening, staining wood, shadowboxing, biking, playing tennis and more. "My grief can be paralyzing but I’m learning how to live along side it."
For whatever reason, the post drew considerable backlash, but that didn't stop Heming from addressing the online trolls, and it was Willis who gave her all she needed for the ultimate clap back.
"When you're not allowed to talk grief, self-care, or being human in the world on grief awareness day..." she wrote on Instagram Stories. "But in the words of the great, philosophical, and insightful Bruce Willis... 'Ah, f**k 'em.'"
Heming also spoke directly to fans about the ordeal.
"So, in this crazy day and age of comments and, you know, people thinking they know you and the things and the situation -- ah, f**k 'em," she said. "I hope that you get to use that quote as frequently as I get to use my husband's quote. I think he's been up for scrutiny for so many years and he's just built this ultra thick skin, and he could give two s**ts. I, on the other hand, give two s**ts."
She continued, "But the, 'Ah, f**k 'em' is highly helpful. So, I hope that I can pass that along to you so that you can use it in your life."
Blended for the holidays!
Willis, Heming and Moore spent the holidays together with their kids and they let the world know about it when they shared a sweet family photo.
In the photo, Moore looked ecstatic as ever locked in Willis' arms while Heming looked equally as happy standing next to Moore. Heming and and Willis' kids were also part of the adorable photo, as were Moore and Willis' daughters.
Moore captioned the pic, "We are FAMILY!! Getting into the holiday spirit!"
Heming commented, "What a fun evening 😍❤️."
Falling in love ...
On Dec. 28, 2022, three days after Christmas, Heming took to Instagram and shared a sweet throwback video commemorating the early days of her love with her now-husband.
"It was that winter, 15 years ago I fell head [over] heels in love with him 🤍 #loveofmylife," she wrote beneath a video of a family ski trip.
Frontotemporal Dementia diagnosis
On February 16, 2023, Willis' family revealed the actor's condition has progressed to frontotemporal dementia, also known as FTD.
Bruce's wife, Emma, ex-wife, Demi Moore, and daughters, Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel and Evelyn, shared a joint statement Thursday of the recent diagnosis they referred to as "a cruel disease."
"As a family, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for the outpouring of love and compassion for Bruce over the past ten months," the statement read. "Your generosity of spirit has been overwhelming, and we are tremendously grateful for it. For your kindness, and because we know you love Bruce as much as we do, we wanted to give you an update."
According to the Alzheimer's Association, FTD "refers to a group of disorders caused by progressive nerve cell loss in the brain's frontal lobes or temporal lobes. The association also says nerve cell damage caused by FTD can lead to "loss of function in these brain regions, which variably cause deterioration in behavior, personality and/or difficulty with producing or comprehending language."
"FTD is a cruel disease that many of us have never heard of and can strike anyone," the statement added. "For people under 60, FTD is the most common form of dementia, and because getting the diagnosis can take years, FTD is likely much more prevalent than we know. Today there are no treatments for the disease, a reality that we hope can change in the years ahead. As Bruce’s condition advances, we hope that any media attention can be focused on shining a light on this disease that needs far more awareness and research."
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