The “Die Hard” actor’s wife, Emma Heming Willis, has asked paparazzi to avoid approaching him and keep their distance. There is still a lot of education regarding dementia patients that need to be put forth, Heming Willis said in an emotional video she posted on her Instagram page over the weekend.
The 44-year-old model described how “difficult and stressful it can be to get someone out into the world and to navigate them safely,” recalling a recent incident in which photographers attempted to speak to the ailing actor as he made a rare public appearance to meet friends for coffee in Santa Monica.
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She remarked in the video, “Please keep your space to the photographers and the film guys that are trying to capture those exclusives of my husband out and about. “I realize this is your responsibility, but perhaps just respect your space.”
She added, “For the video, please don’t yell at my husband asking him how he’s doing or whatever — the ‘woohoo’-ing and the ‘yippee ki-yays’… don’t do it. OK? Give him his space. Allow our family or whoever’s with him that day to safely get him from point A to point B.”
In the video’s title, Heming Willis wrote: “To other caregivers or dementia care specialists navigating this environment… Do you have any recommendations for securely releasing your loved ones into the world? Share your thoughts below. Willis, 67, and Heming Willis wed in 2009; they have two children, Mabel and Evelyn.
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Her plea comes weeks after Willis’ family disclosed that his aphasia, which affects speech, had developed into frontotemporal dementia, or FTD.
“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 said in an online update last month.
FTD is “a collection of illnesses caused by increasing nerve cell death in the frontal lobes (the regions behind your forehead) or the temporal lobes of the brain,” per the Alzheimer’s Association. These brain regions are frequently linked to personality, conduct, and language.
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