In a video posted to Instagram on Tuesday, Heming, 45, opened up about her daily struggles as a spousal caretaker for Willis, who was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) in February. FTD is a condition that often strikes younger patients than other forms of dementia.
Heming said she makes a conscious effort every day to avoid the “doom and gloom” that comes with caring for a loved one with dementia. She said she is doing the best she can to take care of Willis, 68, while trying to maintain her own well-being.
The model filmed her “care partner PSA” in her car after a hike.
“It’s so important for us to break up our thinking, which can feel, for me, very much like doom and gloom,” she said.
“I know it looks like I’m out living my best life,” Heming 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.”
Heming and Willis have two children together, 11-year-old Mabel and nine-year-old Evelyn. Willis and his ex-wife Demi Moore also have three adult children, Rumer Willis, 35, Scout Willis, 32, and Tallulah Willis, 29.
Through tears, Heming said she did not want people to falsely assume that she is “good.”
“Because I’m not. I’m not good,” she said. “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.”
“I am just doing the best that I can, always,” Heming concluded.
She asked her followers to break up their busy days and “look for something beautiful.”
This isn’t the first time Heming has been open about how she copes with Willis’ diagnosis.
In March, Heming called on the paparazzi to leave Willis alone when he is in public. She asked for the space in order to “get (Willis) from Point A to Point B safely.”
Later that month, Heming shared how difficult it was to celebrate Willis’ 68th birthday. She was candid with her social media following and said she wanted to show all sides of being a care partner, not just the good moments.
Willis, who was first diagnosed with aphasia last year, retired from acting in March 2022. At the time, his family said he was “experiencing some health issues … which are impacting his cognitive abilities.”
According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, FTD is an umbrella term for a group of rare disorders that most often affect the parts of the brain associated with personality and behaviour.
Approximately five to 10 per cent of all diagnosed dementia cases are FTD, but the condition accounts for about 20 per cent of all young-onset dementia cases diagnosed in people under 65. Symptoms include difficulty with speech and movement and gradual memory loss.