Earlier this year, Bruce Willis retired from acting following his aphasia diagnosis. This condition impacts cognitive and language abilities, and Willis struggled to perform in his last several films. “As a result of this and with much consideration, Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him,” his family had announced. But the 67-year-old’s health has deteriorated over the past few months, and the family does their best to make the most of their time together.
“It’s been painful to see him deteriorate.”
Bruce Willis and Demi Moore are considered the most amicable exes in Hollywood. They were married for 11 years and share three children, Rumer, 34, Scout, 31, and Tallulah, 28. Willis married Emma Heming in 2009 and had two daughters, Mabel Ray, 10, and Evelyn Penn, 8. The blended family has grown closer after Willis’s diagnosis.
“Demi has been in constant contact with Bruce and Emma,” an insider source said. “She’s taking every opportunity she can to spend time with him. If she’s not there by his side, she’s calling on the phone just so Bruce can hear her voice.” The source added, “They know he won’t be around forever. So they’re cherishing every single moment.”
Demi and Emma had become closer as they struggle with Bruce Willis’s decline. Emma has become his spokesperson. “Bruce can’t say much, and it doesn’t seem like he’s grasping much of what others say,” the insider said. “So Emma’s really been the voice and communicator for him.”
Still, his deteriorating health has been difficult for all of them, especially with the upcoming holidays. “There are days when they see glimpses of the old Bruce, but they are brief and far between,” said the source. “It seems he’s slipping further away from them, and it breaks their heart.”
Therefore, the family plans to spend the holidays together. “The girls can’t imagine Christmas without Bruce,” said the source. “It’s been painful to see him deteriorate.” But for now, “all they can do is tell him they love him and pray for a holiday miracle.”
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter in November, Sylvester Stallone mentioned his friend’s condition. “Bruce is going through some really, really difficult times. So he’s been sort of incommunicado. That kills me. It’s so sad.” 
Bruce Willis’s Last Roles and Retirement
Willis is well-known for his roles in films like Die Hard, Pulp Fiction, The Sixth Sense, Looper, and Armageddon. But late in his career, he appeared in many low-budget independent films, most of which were released direct-to-video. People working on these films noticed that Willis seemed confused about what was happening and why he was there, and began to worry about his well-being. He also had to wear an earpiece to be fed his lines when he was unable to memorize his dialogue In fact, the screenwriter for Out of Death was told to reduce Willis’s role so they could film all of his scenes over the course of one day.
“He just looked so lost, and he would say, ‘I’ll do my best.’ He always tried his best,” said Terri Martin, the production supervisor for White Elephant. “He is one of the all-time greats, and I have the utmost admiration and respect for his body of work, but it was time for him to retire.” 
The Golden Raspberry Awards, which annually celebrates the worst films and performances, created a new category called the Worst Bruce Willis Performance in a 2021 Movie; that year he had appeared in eight releases. But after his family announced his retirement due to aphasia, the Golden Raspberry Awards retracted the category.
The Outlook on Aphasia
Aphasia can have various causes like a head injury, stroke, infection, brain tumor, and dementia. (It’s unknown what caused Willis’s condition.) The cause can greatly affect the outlook for people with aphasia. Some cases, like with a stroke, can have a likely chance of recovery.
But others can lead to lifelong issues, some mild and some severe. When aphasia comes from a neurodegenerative condition like dementia, the language skills tend to worsen over time. Therefore, treatment is individual while accounting for the patient’s brain damage severity, age, and overall health. It often involves emotional support, speech and language therapy, nonverbal communication therapy, group therapy, and medication.