Bruce Willis’ daughter Tallulah Willis pens a heartbreaking letter about her father’s frontotemporal dementia (FTD) diagnosis.
The 29-year-old published in an essay in Vogue, she weighed in on coming to terms with her father’s health issues as well as her own.
Bruce Willis shares three daughters — Tallulah, Scout, 31, and Rumer, 34 — with ex-wife Demi Moore. He is also father to Mabel, 11, and Evelyn, 9, with wife Emma Willis.
“I’ve known that something was wrong for a long time,” Tallulah wrote. “It started out with a kind of vague unresponsiveness, which the family chalked up to Hollywood hearing loss: ‘Speak up! Die Hard messed with Dad’s ears.’ Later that unresponsiveness broadened, and I sometimes took it personally.”
“He had had two babies with my stepmother, Emma Heming Willis, and I thought he’d lost interest in me. Though this couldn’t have been further from the truth, my adolescent brain tortured itself with some faulty math: I’m not beautiful enough for my mother, I’m not interesting enough for my father.”
She reflected on her history with anorexia, her later diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, and her sobriety, which began when she was 20.
“Every time I go to my dad’s house, I take tons of photos — of whatever I see, the state of things,” she wrote. “I’m like an archaeologist, searching for treasure in stuff that I never used to pay much attention to. I have every voicemail from him saved on a hard drive. I find that I’m trying to document, to build a record for the day when he isn’t there to remind me of him and of us.”
She continued, “These days, my dad can be reliably found on the first floor of the house, somewhere in the big open plan of the kitchen-dining-living room, or in his office. Thankfully, dementia has not affected his mobility. That office has always been a kind of window into what he’s most interested in at any given moment.”
“Recently I found a scrap of paper there on which he had written, simply, ‘Michael Jordan.’ I wish I knew what he was thinking. (In any case, I took it!) The room is filled with the knickknacks he has collected: vintage toy cars, coins, rocks, objects made of brass. He likes things that feel heavy in the hand, that he can spin around in his fingers. There’s always music playing.”
Thankfully, “he still knows who I am and lights up when I enter the room,” she added. “I keep flipping between the present and the past when I talk about Bruce: He is, he was, he is, he was. That’s because I have hopes for my father that I’m so reluctant to let go of.”
Credit: CNN, EW, NBC News, Vogue