Bruce Willis early warning signs of dementia: Daughter Tallulah tells of heartbreaking symptoms before diagnosis

Tallulah Willis, the 29-year-old daughter of Hollywood actor Bruce Willis, has spoken out about the early warning signs her family missed leading up to the Die Hard star’s diagnosis of dementia.

In February, it was revealed that Willis had been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, or FTD – a diagnosis his daughter said she was still struggling to come to terms with.

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FTD can cause problems with memory loss, language use, and the ability to perform everyday functions.

The development followed an initial diagnosis of aphasia in 2022, when Willis’ family announced the beloved actor was retiring from the industry he loved.

In a heartbreaking interview for Fashion, Tallulah described some of her father’s early symptoms while also discussing her own health struggle with anorexia nervosa and depression.

Tallulah Willis, left, and with her father, Bruce Willis, right. Credit: Getty/Instagram

“It started with a kind of vague unresponsiveness that the family blamed on Hollywood hearing loss,” she explained of her father’s early warning signs.

Tallulah – one of three daughters Willis shares with ex-wife Demi Moore – said she initially took her father’s lack of responsiveness personally.

“He had two babies with my stepmother, Emma Heming Willis, and I thought he’d lost interest in me,” she said.

The idea “tormented” her, she said, and as her father’s condition worsened, she began to deny the real cause – a reaction she said she was “not proud” of.

“The truth is, I was too ill to deal with it myself,” she admitted, revealing that she’d been battling anorexia and dealing with her own issues for four years.

Gradually she came to the sad realization that her father would never make a speech about her at their wedding.

Tallulah with her parents Demi Moore and Bruce Willis. Credit: Instagram/Tallulah Willis

“I remember a moment when I was heartbroken: I was at a wedding on Martha’s Vineyard in the summer of 2021 and the father of the bride gave a moving speech,” she said.

“Suddenly I realized I would never live to see that moment when my father spoke about me as an adult at my wedding.

“It was devastating,” she said, adding that she left the table to go outside and cry.

But Tallulah said she’s gradually learning to come to terms with her father’s FTD β€” and going through something of an early grieving process.

Tallulah Willis and Bruce Willis. Credit: Instagram/Tallulah Willis

“I used to be very afraid of sadness destroying me, but finally I feel like I can step up and trust myself,” she told Vogue.

“I can enjoy this time, holding my father’s hand and feeling that it’s wonderful.

“I know there are trials ahead, that this is the beginning of grief, but the whole thing of loving yourself before you can love anyone else β€” that’s real.”

Bruce Willis and his family. Credit: Instagram

She said that now every time she visits her father’s house, she takes “heaps of” photos and looks for “treasures” in little things.

“I saved every voicemail he sent to a hard drive,” she said.

“I try to document the day he’s not there, make a record and remember him and us.”

She revealed that Willis still knew who she was and noted that FTD is slightly different from Alzheimer’s in that the early symptoms relate to “language and motor deficits” rather than memory loss.

Bruce Willis. Credit: Instagram/Emma Heming Willis

Tallulah said she switches between present and past tense when talking about her father because she “has hopes for my father that I’m reluctant to let go.”

“I’ve always recognized elements of his personality in me,” she said.

“And I just know that if we only had more time, we would be such good friends.”

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Dustin Huang

Dustin Huang is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Dustin Huang joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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