Tallulah Willis is reflecting on her dad Bruce Willis‘ heartbreaking health battle.
Nearly four months after the actor’s family shared his frontotemporal dementia diagnosis, his 29-year-old daughter detailed the emotional journey. In a personal essay for Vogue, Tallulah noted that though her dad’s health update was confirmed earlier this year, she had “known that something was wrong for a long time.”
“It started out with a kind of vague unresponsiveness,” she explained in the piece published May 31, “which the family chalked up to Hollywood hearing loss.”
Tallulah shared that she sometimes took this behavior personally, in part due to the Die Hard star—who also shares kids Rumer, 33, Scout, 30 with ex Demi Moore and is dad to Mabel, 10, and Evelyn, 8 with wife Emma Heming Willis—expanding his family. But she was also facing heath battles of her own.
“I admit that I have met Bruce’s decline in recent years with a share of avoidance and denial that I’m not proud of,” she continued. “The truth is that I was too sick myself to handle it.”
Tallulah went on to share her four-year battle with anorexia, as well as her ADHD diagnosis, which came amid her seeking treatment for depression.
“While I was wrapped up in my body dysmorphia, flaunting it on Instagram, my dad was quietly struggling,” she added. “All kinds of cognitive testing was being conducted, but we didn’t have an acronym yet. I had managed to give my central dad-feeling canal an epidural; the good feelings weren’t really there, the bad feelings weren’t really there.”
Then came a pivotal moment.
“I was at a wedding in the summer of 2021 on Martha’s Vineyard, and the bride’s father made a moving speech,” the Whole Nine Yards actress shared. “Suddenly I realized that I would never get that moment, my dad speaking about me in adulthood at my wedding. It was devastating. I left the dinner table, stepped outside, and wept in the bushes.”
As Tallulah explained, she’s realized that this time serves as “the beginning of grief,” but added that she’s finding comfort in living in the moment.
“Every time I go to my dad’s house, I take tons of photos—of whatever I see, the state of things,” she explained. “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.”
Sharing that the Sixth Sense star “still knows who I am and lights up when I enter the room,” Tallulah said that she’s still grappling with remembering the past while thinking of the present.
“That’s because I have hopes for my father that I’m so reluctant to let go of,” she explained. “I’ve always recognized elements of his personality in me, and I just know that we’d be such good friends if only there were more time. He was cool and charming and slick and stylish and sweet and a little wacky—and I embrace all that.”
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