Emma Heming Willis, the wife of actor Bruce Willis, made a public appeal over the weekend, requesting that journalists respect her family's privacy and refrain from pursuing her husband after his recent diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia.
According to experts, frontotemporal dementia usually begins with alterations in personality, such as increased aggression and hypersexual behavior, and later develops into memory loss. The illness is caused by the degeneration of the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure available for this disease.
Emma Heming Willis' statement was prompted by an incident where paparazzi attempted to approach the 67-year-old actor during a rare public outing to meet some friends for coffee.
“If you are someone who is looking after someone with dementia, you know how difficult and stressful it can be to get someone out into the world and to navigate them safely, even just to get a cup of coffee,” she said. “It’s clear that there’s still a lot of education that needs to be put forth. So this one is going out to the photographers and video people that are trying to get those exclusives of my husband out and about. Just keep your space.”
“I know this is your job, but maybe just keep your space,” she continued. “Please don’t be yelling at my husband, asking how he’s doing, whatever. The woo-hooing and the yippee-ki-yay’s — just don’t do it. Give him the space. Allow for our family or whoever’s with him that day to be able to get him from Point A to Point B safely. That’s my PSA.”
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On February 16, the family announced that Willis had received a diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia. Although the news was challenging, they also expressed that having a definite diagnosis was a relief.
“FTD is a cruel disease that many of us have never heard of and can strike anyone,” the statement continued. “For people under 60, FTD is the most common form of dementia, and because getting the diagnosis can take years, FTD is likely much more prevalent than we know. Today there are no treatments for the disease, a reality that we hope can change in the years ahead. As Bruce’s condition advances, we hope that any media attention can be focused on shining a light on this disease that needs far more awareness and research.”
Last year, Willis' family released a statement on social media revealing that he would be taking a break from his acting career due to a diagnosis of aphasia. This condition, which can develop gradually due to degenerative brain conditions or after a stroke or head injury, affects a person's ability to communicate effectively.
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