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Bruce Willis' family celebrate bittersweet Thanksgiving amid star's dementia battle

The Die Hard star is ‘not totally verbal’

Bruce Willis premiere
Faye James
Faye JamesSenior Editor
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On a Thanksgiving touched by both warmth and heartache, Emma Heming Willis shared a cherished memory with her Instagram followers, a snapshot of a family united in the face of Bruce Willis' dementia battle. 

The photograph—a testament to resilience and love—captured Bruce surrounded by his daughters from two marriages and their partners, including Scout's boyfriend, Jake Miller, and Rumer's partner, Derek Richard Thomas.

The image also hinted at new beginnings, with Rumer's pregnancy evident before the arrival of her daughter, Louetta, in April. Emma's caption, filled with love and a sense of gratitude, read, "I’m grateful and thankful to know this kind of love," followed by an outpouring of heart emojis.

 "Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving," she added, extending her heartfelt sentiments to the world.

View post on Instagram

The family's collective strength is a beacon for many as they navigate the complexities of Bruce's health. 

Rumer's own Instagram tribute a few days prior, featuring a younger version of herself cradled in her father's arms, resonated deeply with those who have experienced similar struggles. 

"Really missing my papa today," she expressed, her words resonating with the weight of her father's illness.

Bruce Willis with a baby Rumer Willis in a throwback photo shared on Instagram© Instagram
Bruce Willis with a baby Rumer Willis in a throwback photo shared on Instagram

Glenn Gordon Caron, a longtime friend and creator of Bruce's breakout show "Moonlighting," recently shared with Page Six the poignant reality of the actor's condition. 

"My sense is the first one to three minutes he knows who I am," Caron disclosed, painting a picture of a man still present yet slipping away.

Bruce Willis and Demi Moore's blended family© Instagram
Bruce and Demi's blended family

 "He’s not totally verbal; he used to be a voracious reader...and he’s not reading now," Caron continued, underscoring the profound impact of the disease.

Caron's reflections also offered a glimpse into Bruce's once irrepressible spirit. 

Photo posted by Bruce Willis' wife Emma Heming on Instagram for Mother's Day 2023 of their blended family© Instagram
Photo posted by Bruce Willis' wife Emma Heming on Instagram for Mother's Day 2023 of their blended family

"All those language skills are no longer available to him, and yet he’s still Bruce... The thing that makes [his disease] so mind-blowing is if you’ve ever spent time with Bruce Willis, there is no one who had any more joie de vivre than he."

Despite Bruce's retreat from the public eye, his family's Thanksgiving tribute allowed fans to remember him as he was: full of life and laughter. As Caron aptly put it, Bruce "just adored waking up every morning and trying to live life to its fullest."

bruce willis dementia diagnosis daughter scout emotional response family© Photo: Getty Images
Bruce's blended family

"I have so much more hope today than I did after Bruce was first diagnosed," Emma previously expressed, acknowledging the strength she has garnered through this experience. "As much as I grieve this experience daily—as I know so many others do—I also know that it has made me stronger than I ever thought possible."

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