Bruce Willis’s wife Emma shares tearful message to fans on actor’s birthday as star battles dementia

Bruce Willis and Emma Heming at the Los Angeles premiere of "His Way" Photograph: © Tuukka Jantti,

Peony Hirwani©

Bruce Willis’s wife, Emma Heming Willis, was teary-eyed as she thanked the actor’s fans for the “kind” wishes on his birthday on Sunday (19 March).

“I have started the morning by crying as you can see by my swollen eyes and snotty nose,” Emma said in a video posted to Instagram Stories.

“I just think it’s important that you see all sides of this.”

She continued: “I always get this message where people always tell me, ‘Oh you’re so strong. I don’t know how you do it.’ I’m not given a choice. I wish I was but I’m also raising two kids in this.

“Sometimes in our lives, we have to put our big girl panties on and get to it. And that’s what I’m doing,” she said. “But I do have times of sadness, every day, grief every day, and I’m really feeling it today on his birthday.”

Emma also said that she was putting together a reel for her husband’s birthday.

“As much as I do it for myself I do it for you because I know how much you love my husband,” she said, before telling herself, “Don’t cry, Emma.”

In the caption of the reel which carried old videos of Willis enjoying time with his family, Emma wrote: “He is pure love. He is so loved. And I’ll be loving him always. Happy Birthday my sweet.

“My birthday wish for Bruce is that you continue to keep him in your prayers and highest vibrations because his sensitive Pisces soul will feel it. Thank you so much for loving and caring for him too.”

Bruce was recently diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia.

In an update shared online, the Willis family said: “We now have a more specific diagnosis: frontotemporal dementia (known as FTD).

“Unfortunately, challenges with communication are just one symptom of the disease Bruce faces. While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis.”

Calling it a “cruel disease”, they went on to say that “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,” they added.

Bruce’s diagnosis came almost a year after it emerged that he had almost a year afterhis representatives revealed that he had aphasia.

Hollywood stars were among those to send messages of love and support to the actor following the new diagnosis.