/Tallulah Willis Pens Heartbreaking Essay On Anorexia Battle During Fathers Health Struggle

Tallulah Willis Pens Heartbreaking Essay On Anorexia Battle During Fathers Health Struggle

This article contains detailed descriptions of disordered eating.

Tallulah Willis has opened up about struggling with anorexia ― and how it coincided with the health issues facing her father, Bruce Willis.

In an essay for Vogue this week, Willis wrote that at age 11, she found herself overwhelmed by horrible comments after making a public appearance alongside her “famously beautiful mom,” Demi Moore.

Willis said she “lived with the silent certainty of my own ugliness.” She got sober and sought treatment for depression before more recently struggling with anorexia nervosa.

“Like so many people with eating disorders, my sense of myself went haywire,” the 29-year-old wrote, adding that there is “an unhealthy deliciousness at the beginning of losing weight rapidly.”

Her battle with anorexia also coincided with her dad’s recent diagnoses of aphasia and frontotemporal dementia.

Rumer Willis, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore and Tallulah Belle Willis in Los Angeles in 2018.
Rumer Willis, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore and Tallulah Belle Willis in Los Angeles in 2018.

Phil Faraone/VMN18 via Getty Images

Willis said that she was “not proud” of being in denial about her dad’s new reality, but said she was “too sick” to handle it.

“My friends and family were terrified, and I dismissed it,” she said.

“By the spring of 2022, I weighed about 84 pounds. I was always freezing,” Willis wrote. “I was calling mobile IV teams to come to my house, and I couldn’t walk in my Los Angeles neighborhood because I was afraid of not having a place to sit down and catch my breath.”

She wrote that she found herself wondering what her dad would do if he was his “full self.”

“The other night, I lay in bed thinking to myself, with an ache in my heart, What if my dad had been his full self and saw me at that size?” she explained. “What would he have done? I’d like to think that he wouldn’t have let it happen.”

The father and daughter celebrate Bruce Willis' 60th birthday in 2015.
The father and daughter celebrate Bruce Willis’ 60th birthday in 2015.

Kevin Mazur via Getty Images

After she was dumped by her fiancé last year, Willis said her family sent her to a recovery facility in Texas. There, she received a new diagnosis ― borderline personality disorder ― and began her road to recovery.

After leaving Texas, Willis said she “felt a lot better,” though she was armed with the knowledge that “recovery is probably lifelong.”

“But I now have the tools to be present in all facets of my life, and especially in my relationship with my dad,” she said. “I can bring him an energy that’s bright and sunny, no matter where I’ve been. In the past I was so afraid of being destroyed by sadness, but finally I feel that I can show up and be relied upon.”

“I can savor that time, hold my dad’s hand, and feel that it’s wonderful,” Willis added. “I know that trials are looming, that this is the beginning of grief, but that whole thing about loving yourself before you can love somebody else—it’s real.”

Willis and her family have been open about their behind-the-scenes struggles in recent years. In 2019, Moore spoke about dealing with alcoholism in her 40s and how it affected her relationship with her daughters.

The family also banded together in 2022 to announce that Bruce was retiring from acting after he was diagnosed with aphasia.

If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.

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