Bruce Willis’s daughter Tallulah has spoken about her father’s “really aggressive” dementia and why it is so important for her family to be open about it.
The Hollywood actor, 68, was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) a year after his family revealed he was suffering from aphasia, a condition affecting speech and language.
“What’s going on with my dad – he has a really aggressive cognitive disease, a form of dementia that’s very rare,” Tallulah Willis told The Drew Barrymore Show on Wednesday.
Willis added they were candid about the condition because “it’s who we are as a family”.
“But also, it’s really important for us to spread awareness about FTD because there’s not enough information out there,” she said.
“If we can take something that we’re struggling with as a family… and help other people to turn it around, to make something beautiful about it, that’s really special for us.”
She said she had “no idea” about FTD before her father’s diagnosis.
The 29-year-old revealed one of the ways she spends time with her father is while listening to music together.
“Playing music and sitting in that and this energy of love, it’s really special,” she said.
“A really beautiful way for me to heal through this is becoming like an archaeologist to my dad’s stuff, his world, his little trinkets and doodads,” she added.
Asked about her father’s health, Willis said: “He is the same, which, I think, in this regard I’ve learned is the best thing you can ask for. I see love when I’m with him, and it’s my dad and he loves me.”
Earlier this year, she wrote an essay for Vogue about coming to terms with his illness.
“It started out with a kind of vague unresponsiveness, which the family chalked up to Hollywood hearing loss. ‘Speak up! Die Hard messed with Dad’s ears,'” Willis wrote.
Later, the unresponsiveness “broadened”, she added.
“He still knows who I am and lights up when I enter the room.
“He may always know who I am, give or take the occasional bad day. One difference between FTD and Alzheimer’s dementia is that, at least early in the disease, the former is characterised by language and motor deficits, while the latter features more memory loss.
“I keep flipping between the present and the past when I talk about Bruce: he is, he was, he is, he was. That’s because I have hopes for my father that I’m so reluctant to let go of.”