Bruce Willis Has Aphasia, Retiring From Acting Due To Cognitive Decline


In the past few years an actor whose name is synonymous with big-budget blockbusters made dozens of direct-to-video/streaming movies. On Wednesday, Demi Moore announced via Instagram that Bruce Willis will be retiring from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia and suffering “cognitive decline.” Rumors began circulating earlier this month after the snarky YouTubers at the Half In the Bag channel – known best for their near-toxic reviews of Star Wars films – commented on the string of films Willis currently worked on. A director from some of those movies replied to a comment under that video that he saw firsthand the Die Hard legend “deteriorating” as they worked together. While they claimed it was dementia, the diagnosis of aphasia is something completely different, though the result is the same, and Bruce Willis is retiring from acting because of it.

Demi Moore Announced Bruce Willis Has Aphasia, Cognitive Decline on Her Instagram

Demi Moore, who was married to Willis from 1987 to 2000, made the announcement via Instagram on behalf of him and their three daughters. Since they divorced, Moore and Willis remained amicable co-parents, often celebrating holidays and special occasions together. A little more than week ago, Moore posted an image of the two on Instagram to celebrate Bruce’s 67th birthday.

Bruce Willis Has Aphasia retiring from acting Demi Moore Instagram cognitive decline Image via Demi Moore’s Instagram

Demi Moore’s full statement announcing Willis is retiring from acting:

“To Bruce’s amazing supporters, as a family we wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities. As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him. This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support. We are moving through this as a strong family unit and wanted to bring his fans in because we know how much he means to you, as you do to him. As Bruce always says, “Live it up” and together we plan to do just that. Love, Emma, Demi, Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel, & Evelyn”

The news that Bruce Willis has aphasia and is retiring from acting will certainly shock some fans and confirm the rumors that others have heard. Unlike dementia, which affects memory and awareness, aphasia is a mostly language-focused disorder. The symptoms are especially debilitating to an actor, who’s job revolves around language. Those who endure aphasia are sometimes unable to read aloud, speaking fluently, repeating words and phrases, and even speaking in ‘gibberish.’

Bruce Willis began his career in the 1980s, landing his breakout role as David Addison on Moonlighting, a show that impacted TV common wisdom for decades. In his last year on the show, the movie Die Hard came out and launched Willis into the stratosphere as a blockbuster movie star. Since then, he’s released an album, starred on Broadway, and done commercials in Japan.

Yet, it will be some time before we see Willis’ final performance, as he has more than half a dozen movies still in the pipeline to be released in 2022 and 2023.

Featured image via Universal Pictures

Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he’s loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book of superhero short stories, Tales of Adventure & Fantasy: Book One is available as an ebook or paperback from Amazon.