In a heartfelt essay for Vogue, Tallulah Willis opens up about her father Bruce Willis’ battle with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and how it affected their family dynamics. The news of Bruce’s diagnosis came a year after he announced his “step back” from his acting career due to “aphasia,” a condition impacting his cognitive abilities.
Tallulah reveals that she had sensed something was amiss for a while. It began with her father’s occasional unresponsiveness, which the family initially attributed to Hollywood hearing loss. However, as his condition progressed, Tallulah started to take it personally, feeling a sense of disinterest in him. She candidly shares how her adolescent mind twisted this into thoughts of inadequacy, believing she was not beautiful or interesting enough for her parents.
The youngest daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, Tallulah also discloses her own struggles with anorexia nervosa and an ADHD diagnosis, which made it challenging for her to come to terms with her father’s declining health. She admits that she allowed avoidance and denial to influence her reactions, something she now regrets. At the time, she was too consumed by her own battles with body dysmorphia, often showcasing it on social media, while her father silently faced his own struggles.
However, Tallulah had a poignant moment of realization during a wedding on Martha’s Vineyard in the summer of 2021. When the bride’s father gave a heartfelt speech, she suddenly understood that she would never experience her father speaking about her as an adult at her own wedding. This realization brought her to tears and prompted her to reflect on the depth of the situation.
Today, Tallulah is in recovery from her eating disorder and approaches her relationship with her father from a healthier perspective. She acknowledges that she now possesses the necessary tools to be fully present in all aspects of her life, especially in her connection with her dad. Tallulah believes she can bring him positive and radiant energy, regardless of her own experiences. She no longer fears being overwhelmed by sadness, and she feels confident that she can show up for her father and be a reliable support system.