Maria Shriver, Jake Tapper, And Father Of The Bride Star Kimberly Williams-Paisley Share Personal Stories And Send Support To Bruce Willis Amidst Official Diagnosis

Bruce Willis in Split
(Image credit: Universal)

The close-knit Hollywood community received a jolt back in March 2022 when Demi Moore posted on her social media accounts that her former husband, and A-list superstar Bruce Willis, was retiring effective immediately due to a diagnosis of aphasia. At the time, close friends and colleagues like John Travolta and Sylvester Stallone shared emotional messages about their love of Willis and his impact on the industry. In the weeks and months that followed, Willis’s wife Emma Heming kept fans updated on his progress and shared sweet insights into the star’s home life with his loved ones. But the latest story was far from positive, and it prompted more supportive messages from celebrities who knew Willis, and connected with his suffering. 

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Bruce Willis with a steely eyed glare

(Image credit: Miramax Films)

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The Willis family released a statement on Thursday explaining that the actor’s condition had been further clarified to them, and he was now diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, or FTD. The family went on to explain:

FTD is a cruel disease that many of us have never heard of and can strike anyone. 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.

As one might imagine, an outpouring of love and support followed the revelation. Maria Shriver, who ran in the same circles as Willis and Demi Moore during her lengthy marriage to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tweeted:

In the process of reporting the heartbreaking story, CNN anchor Jake Tapper also touched on a personal experience with FTD, which he called “a profoundly cruel disease” in this Tweet:

Too many seem to have personal connections to FTD, and were willing to share their difficult memories with the disease. Father of the Bride star Kimberly Williams-Paisley posted a comment of solidarity underneath People’s reporting of the Willis diagnosis, simply stating:

My mom had this too. Sending love to his family.

Bruce Willis has an arduous journey ahead of himself. But as he and his family members pointed out in their statement, they hope that media coverage of his diagnosis and battle shine a brighter light on the condition, and the work that might be going into finding a cure. 

Willis has enjoyed the type of career few can only dream of. If you have fallen behind on some of his best movies, use that guide to help program your weekend, and then enjoy sentimental memories from the likes of Looper director Rian Johnson and Friends co-star Matthew Perry, who made two comedies with Bruce around 2000. These are the stories we want to use to use to celebrate the man’s accomplishments, because the road going forward is only going to get harder, not better.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.