“He still knows who I am and lights up when I enter the room,” Tallulah, 29, penned in a Wednesday, May 31, personal essay for Vogue. The Idaho native and her family — mom Demi Moore, sisters Rumer Willis and Scout Willis, stepmom Emma Heming and half-sisters Mabel, 11, and Evelyn, 8 — announced in March 2022 that Bruce, 68, had been diagnosed with aphasia.
In February, Moore, 60 — who was married to the Sixth Sense star from 1987 to 2000 — revealed that the actor had received the “more specific diagnosis” of frontotemporal dementia (FTD). “Today there are no treatments for the disease, a reality that we hope can change in the years ahead,” the Indecent Proposal actress wrote in a statement via the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD) at the time.
Although Bruce’s loved ones disclosed his condition just last year, Tallulah wrote that she knew “something was wrong for a long time.” She continued: “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.’”
The child actor admitted to taking the changes personally at first, fearing that her father was simply preoccupied with Heming, 44 — whom he wed in 2009 — and their two daughters.
“Later that unresponsiveness broadened, and I sometimes took it personally. He had had two babies with my stepmother, Emma Heming Willis, and I thought he’d lost interest in me,” she recalled. “Though this couldn’t have been further from the truth, my adolescent brain tortured itself with some faulty math: I’m not beautiful enough for my mother, I’m not interesting enough for my father.”
Although Tallulah once handled her dad’s health struggles with “avoidance and denial,” she’s reached a point where she cherishes every moment with the Moonlighting alum.
“In the past I was so afraid of being destroyed by sadness, but finally I feel that I can show up and be relied upon. I can savor that time, hold my dad’s hand and feel that it’s wonderful,” she wrote.
The Wyllis founder noted that she now takes “tons of photos” each time she visits her father’s house. “I’m like an archaeologist, searching for treasure in stuff that I never used to pay much attention to. I have every voicemail from him saved on a hard drive. I find that I’m trying to document, to build a record for the day when he isn’t there to remind me of him and of us,” she explained.
In addition to her candor about navigating Bruce’s declining health, Tallulah opened up about her family sending her to Driftwood Recovery, a Texas rehabilitation center, in June 2022 amid her battle with anorexia.
“I was introduced to a variety of therapies, my medication was retooled, and I was given a new diagnosis: Borderline Personality Disorder, an illness that impairs the ability to regulate emotions and find stability in relationships,” she shared, adding that the experience helped her realize that she “wanted more harmony with [her] body” and to “bring a levity to my sisters and my parents.”
“There’s this little creature changing by the hour, and there’s this thing happening with my dad that can shift so quickly and unpredictably. It feels like a unique and special time in my family, and I’m just so glad to be here for it,” she wrote.