In spite of his dementia diagnosis, Bruce Willis' wife is saying that paparazzi are still accosting him in public.
In an Instagram video post, the actor's wife Emma Heming Willis said there's "still a lot of education" that the public — and the media — need to do surrounding his frontotemporal dementia diagnosis, which his family revealed in February.
While calling for more awareness of the "Die Hard" star's condition, which along with other symptoms makes it difficult for him to speak, Heming Willis asked that the tabloid industry leave him alone on the rare occasions that he is able to go out in public with his loved ones, and recounted a recent incident in which paparazzos tried to get Willis' attention by yelling catchphrases from his cinematic career at him.
"For the video people, please don’t be yelling at my husband asking him how he’s doing or whatever — the ‘woohoo’-ing and the ‘yippee ki-yays’… just don’t do it. OK? Give him his space," the 44-year-old model said. "Allow for our family or whoever’s with him that day to be able to get him from point A to point B safely."
This latest statement is the most recent heartbreaking communiqué from the Willis family who, for over a year now, have handled his FTD diagnosis with grace and treated it as a means to educate the public about dementia and aphasia, the actor's initial diagnosis that causes speech difficulties and effectively ended his acting career.
"Bruce always believed in using his voice in the world to help others, and to raise awareness about important issues both publicly and privately," the family's February statement, issued in tandem with the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration, explained. "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."
It's already tragic enough when beloved stars like Willis have debilitating health issues, but his family's vulnerability about their difficulties takes it to a level that the public hasn't seen very often.
These calls for awareness, education, and privacy are undeniably good, if for no other reason than to remind us all that even though they seem larger than life, celebrities are people with health concerns and needs, too.
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