Bruce Willis' Wife Emma Says It's 'Hard to Know' If He Is Aware of His Condition Amid Dementia Battle

Bruce Willis and Emma Heming Willis
Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Film at Lincoln Center

The Make Time Wellness founder offers a health update on the beloved 'Die Hard' actor.

Bruce Willis' wife, Emma Heming Willis, offered an update on her husband's ongoing health battle with dementia in a new interview. 

Emma, 45, sat down with Hoda Kotb for Today on Sept. 25 to kick off World Frontotemporal Dementia Awareness Week, calling the condition --  a progressive neurological disorder that impacts both cognition and behavior -- "hard." She was joined for the interview by Susan Dickinson, the CEO of the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration.

Bruce, 68, was diagnosed with the disorder last year, and as a byproduct, aphasia, a brain-mediated inability to speak or to understand speech. 

"It’s hard on the person diagnosed, it’s also hard on the family. And that is no different for Bruce, or myself, or our girls. When they say this is a family disease, it really is," Emma said. 

Asked whether Bruce himself is aware of his condition, Emma appeared to become emotional as she replied, "It's hard to know." 

The Make Time Wellness founder shares daughters Mabel, 11, and Evelyn, 9, with the actor. Bruce also shares adult daughters Rumer Willis, 34, Scout, 32, and Tallulah, 29, with ex-wife Demi Moore

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"We're a very honest and open household," Emma said of their family. "The most important thing was to be able for us to say what the disease was, explain what it is, because when you know what the disease is from a medical standpoint, it sort of all makes sense."

Referencing their young daughters, she continued, "So it was important that we let them know what it is, because I don't want there to be any stigma or shame attached to their dad's diagnosis or for any form of dementia."

Emma called Bruce's diagnosis "the blessing and the curse." 

"To finally understand what was happening, so that I could be into the acceptance of what is. It doesn't make it any less painful, but just being ... in the know of what is happening to Bruce makes it a little easier," she explained.

Emma went on to express her desire to find joy in her family's life amid the sadness of Bruce's circumstance. 

"There's so many beautiful things happening in our lives," she shared. "It's just really important for me to look up from the grief and the sadness so that I can see what is happening around us. Bruce would really want us to be in the joy of what is, he would really want that for me and our family."

While Emma noted that participating in the interview was an experience outside her comfort zone, she has been a vocal and open advocate in recent years through her social media posts. 

"I know it looks like I’m out living my best life, [but] I have to make a conscious effort every single day to live the best life that I can. I do that for myself, I do that for our two children and [I do that for] Bruce, who would not want me to live any other way," she said in a selfie video taken in her car back in August.

"So I don’t want it to be misconstrued that I’m good, 'cause I’m not. I’m not good," she said, adding that her thinking can often become "doom and gloom."

Emma shared that putting her "best foot forward" is a daily task that "does not come to [her] easily," but it’s one she feels is "really important" for "the sake of [herself] and [her] family."

"When we are not looking after ourselves, we cannot look after anyone that we love," she explained, noting that she is "just doing the best that [she] can always."