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Bruce Willis' wife pleads with paparazzi to stop yelling at him in wake of dementia diagnosis
"The woohoo-ing and the yippee-ki-yays — just don’t do it," Emma Heming Willis begged.
Less than two weeks after the family of Bruce Willis announced that he was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, his wife released a heartbreaking video pleading with the paparazzi to back off when the film legend is out in public. The video came after photos were released last week of the actor — who starred in beloved genre films like The Sixth Sense and 12 Monkeys (both now streaming on Peacock) — out for coffee with a pair of friends in Santa Monica, California.
Emma Heming Willis posted a video to Instagram Saturday explaining the difficulty of safely navigating in public with someone with dementia, and begged photographers to give her husband space.
"In service of raising awareness around dementia, because that is my goal, if you are someone that is looking after someone with dementia, you know how difficult and stressful it can be to get someone out into the world and just to navigate them safely — even just to get a cup of coffee," Heming Willis said in the clip, just before getting visibly emotional. "And I’m just seeing headlines and there’s a video of my husband out, getting some coffee with some friends that did a standup job with protecting him."
"It’s clear that there’s still a lot of education that needs to be put forth," Heming Willis continued in the video. "So, this one is going out to the photographers and the 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. For the video people, please don’t be yelling at my husband, asking him how he’s doing or whatever. The woohoo-ing and the yippee-ki-yays — 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."
The yippee-ki-yay reference is a nod to one of Willis' famous lines from Die Hard. The actor is also known for films like Pulp Fiction, The Fifth Element, Armageddon, Unbreakable, and Glass.
Heming Willis co-released a joint statement a little over two weeks ago with other members of Willis' family, including their two young daughters, Mabel and Evelyn; his famous ex-wife, Demi Moore; and their three daughters, Rumer, Scout, and Tallulah.
"Bruce always believed in using his voice in the world to help others, and to raise awareness about important issues both publicly and privately," reads the statement, posted on The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration website. "We know in our hearts that — if he could today — he would want to respond by bringing global attention and a connectedness with those who are also dealing with this debilitating disease and how it impacts so many individuals and their families."
The statement came just under a year after Willis stepped away from acting due to the cognitive disorder, aphasia.