Emma Heming Willis Admits She's Struggling As Caregiver For Husband Bruce Willis — 'I'm Not Good'

We cannot pour from an empty cup.

Emma Heming Willis, Bruce Willis Emma Heming Willis via Instagram / Bruce Willis via Getty

Emma Heming Willis has been amazingly candid about her role as a caregiver since her husband Bruce Willis was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia in February 2023.

The acclaimed actor has been surrounded by his loving family while battling the progressive form of dementia, for which there is no cure. A pivotal part of Heming Willis’ social presence raises awareness of the impacts of frontotemporal dementia, not just for those diagnosed, but also for those providing care.


Emma Heming Willis admits that she’s struggling in her role as a caregiver for Bruce Willis, describing the emotional toll of terminal illness.

In an Instagram reel posted on August 14, 2023, Heming Willis filmed herself sitting in the front seat of her car, after returning from a hike. She professed deep gratitude and joy from looking at photos that her followers shared with her.

She stated, “I’m asking care partners to send me photos because I just think it’s so important for us to break up our thinking, which can feel, for me, very much like doom and gloom.”

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She explained that while it may appear to the outside world that she’s holding it all together, her daily reality feels markedly different.

“I know it looks like I’m out, living my best life,” she said. “I have to make a conscious effort, every single day, to live the best life that I can. I do that for myself. I do that for our two children. And Bruce, who would not want me to live any other way.”


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Heming Willis described the unique and complicated place that caretakers live in, as they inhabit a world focused on supporting a sick loved one while trying to keep their own heads above water. Her experience has resonated with many people across the world, those who also have to balance the roles of caregiver, parent, and partner while facing impending loss.

She exclaimed, “I don’t want it to be misconstrued that, like, I’m good. ‘Cause I’m not. I’m not good. But I have to put my best foot forward, for the sake of myself and my family, because, again, when we are not looking after ourselves, we cannot look after anyone that we love.”

Heming Willis recognized the incredible importance of caring for yourself in order to care for others, even when doing so feels impossible.

“This is a conscious effort. It does not come to me easily. But I am just doing the best that I can. Always,” she exclaimed. Her openness around the difficulties of being a caretaker shed light on aspects of the role that are often left unspoken, like dealing with caregiver burnout.


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She offered a small, tangible practice to combat the feeling of pouring from an empty cup.

“I just want you to take a moment out of your day, and I know that your day is stressful, and I know that your day is hard,” she continued. “But I just want you to break it up for a minute. Just for a second, and just look for something beautiful.” 

The caption on her Instagram reel reinforced her message, stating, “This is a care partner PSA... When we are not looking after ourselves, we are no good to the people we love who we want to show up for and take care of.”


She urged her followers and fellow caretakers to “keep looking for that one beautiful thing or moment in your day.” 

Her request emphasized a difficult truth, one deeply felt by those moving through illness and mourning: To survive the ever-present grief of hardship, we must seek out small moments of beauty. To be alive is to walk along a razor-thin edge, holding the knowledge that nothing here is permanent.

Even in the midst of epic grief, the world around us endures. We are surrounded by the concurrent existence of sorrow and joy, gathering strength through acknowledging that truth.


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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.