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Published 2022-04-07
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Bruce Willis Not The Only Star With Aphasia! Who Else's Career Could End Too?

At the end of March Hollywood was shocked to hear the news that Bruce Willis was retiring from acting due to the fact that he was diagnosed with aphasia. For some time there had been rumors circulating the net that the actor was suffering from dementia or a similar condition that made work difficult for him and that it was the reason for his choice in acting gigs the past few years. But now, as the news has been confirmed, it not only made some in the industry to make changes, it also brought light to other stars who had also faced similar issues. What industry changes had there been made? And which others stars are facing the same issues as Willis? Read on to find out.

What Is Aphasia?

Before we continue with the article and find out what other stars are suffering from the condition, let’s find out what it actually is. According to explanations by medical experts, aphasia is a neurological disorder that is caused by damage to the parts of the brain that are responsible for language production or processing. For some, it may occur suddenly or progressively, but that depends on the location of the brain tissue involved. Aphasia can also have various different causes. The most common is a blood vessel blockage to the language center in the brain, which often is triggered by a stroke or acute trauma, such as a gunshot wound. Though it can also be a result of a gradual and insidious neurodegenerative disorder such as Alzheimer’s. According to the statistics from the National Aphasia Association, the condition affects roughly two million Americans.

Bruce Willis Career Decline

Since around 2015, fans had noted that the actor had been mainly starring in many straight-to-DVD movies and many claimed that he was having difficulty finding work in high-profile productions. According to IMDB, the former A-lister is starring in no fewer than 11 virtually unknown releases in 2022 alone, including such titles as Fortress 3, Paradise City, and Gasoline Alley to name a few. As a result, of such career changes on the actor's part, many rumors had started going around. There were rumors that this was due to the fact that the actor was “greedy” and that he wanted more money than what the offered pay way, as these were allegations that Sylvester Stallone had made in the past.

via GIPHY

Suffering From Dementia?

Of course, people were coming up with many reasons as to why he was accepting such roles. One of them was that the star, who has an estimated net worth of $250 million, is going through some financial trouble. This would have left him with little choice but to accept such roles as the B-movie industry represents quick cash. Another reason was that the Sixth Sense actor is in the early stages of dementia, rumors of which were first reported by OK! magazine in 2021. At the time an insider speaking with the publication claimed that while the actor was not formally diagnosed with early-onset dementia, was something the was waging a personal war with for years. However, soon his family would soon tell people what really was going on.

Willis Family Speaks Out

On March 30th, the Willis family had posted a joint statement on social media where they announced that the actor was not retiring from the industry. In the statement they had explained what his condition was, revealing that he had recently been diagnosed and as a result, he was stepping away from a career that has meant so much to him. They went on to add that it is a challenging thing for their family and added that they wanted his fans to know as they are aware of how much the actor meant to them.

The Razzies Speak Out

For this year’s edition of the Golden Raspberry Awards that honor the “worst” of the industry, the Razzies had given Willis his own category, and in light of the rumors that the actor had early on-set dementia people were raising eyebrows at the category. But now in light of the family’s statement, the co-founders of the award had spoken out and revealed that they had rescinded the Razzie Award given to him. In addition, the Razzies also revoked their 42-year-old nomination of Shelley Duvall for her performance in 'The Shining', citing "extenuating circumstances" and director Stanley Kubrick's "treatment of her throughout the production.” Many praised them for this decision claiming it was a step in the right direction. But which other stars had also battled the same condition as Willis? Read on to find out.

Sharon Stone’s Health Troubles

A celebrity that had also faced similar issues in her career was Basic Instinct star Sharon Stone. At the height of her career, she was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars but that all came to a crash in September 2001, when, at the age of 43, Stone had collapsed in her home from a brain aneurysm and as a result endured subsequent cerebral hemorrhaging that, according to reports, lasted 9 days. Sharon pulled through but once she was discharged from the hospital, she was facing other issues as she had lost her ability to read and also developed speech issues, which included a stutter. This, as you can imagine, had brought her career to a standstill. Since then, the star has recovered and had worked on several TV and cinematic roles such as the HBO murder mystery Mosaic, as well as the hit series The Flight Attendant. On top of this, she had also become an ardent advocate for stroke awareness, hosting events and raising money for the Women’s Brain Health Initiative.

Randy Travis

After the Grammy-winning country music star was hospitalized because of viral cardiomyopathy which is a virus that attacked the heart, he suffered a stroke in 2013. As a result, he lost his ability to talk and comprehend language. According to media reports, he still struggles with aphasia to this day, and he rarely does interviews as his ability to speak is severely limited. In 2019 he released a memoir titled Forever and Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music, Faith, and Braving the Storms of Life. In it, he talked about his struggles with the disease: “In my case, my brain was functioning, and I could understand what Mary [Travis’s wife] said to me, but I could not respond in anything close to a sentence. When we first returned home, I could barely speak at all. We spent three months in speech therapy before I learned to say the letter 'A.' Eventually, after about a year and a half, I could say 'yup,' 'nope,' and 'bathroom.' I could also say 'I love you', and a few other phrases but not much more. All this was extremely frustrating for me; I felt like I was trapped inside the shell of my body.” Experiencing the struggle first-hand, he and his wife had created the Randy Travis Foundation to provide support to others going through similar problems. But which other major star had suffered from the disease? Read on to find out.

Mark McEwen

The former weatherman and entertainment reporter had previously worked on CBS This Morning, as well as the Early Show. His career there had lasted around 16 years. During that time he covered various topics such as award shows, and the Olympics, and even had interviewed 5 different U.S presidents. But that all came to an end when in 2005 he suffered a stroke. Similar to Travis, he also documented his struggles and recovery in his memoir Change in the Weather: Life After Stroke. In it, he revealed that despite struggling with aphasia, he was one of the lucky ones for whom it slowly went away. Since his recovery, he hosted different TEDx talks and revealed that singing songs by Stevie Wonder and the Beatles had helped him speak more fluently.

Emilia Clarke

One of the celebrities that had such struggles, and one that surprised many fans, has been Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke. It all happened shortly after she had finished filming the first season of the hit HBO series in 2011. As she revealed in an essay for the New York times last year, she was working out with a trainer when she had experienced a painful headache that she said felt like an elastic band was squeezing her brain. As it turns out she suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage, an uncommon type of stroke caused by bleeding on the surface of the brain. In the aftermath of it, she could not remember her name, as she wrote in the text: “Instead, nonsense words tumbled out of my mouth and I went into a blind panic. I’d never experienced fear like that — a sense of doom closing in.” But just like McEwan, she was one of the lucky ones as her aphasia disappeared after a week but it left her with a dread of not being able to express herself in language. And so she started Same You, a charity to broaden neurorehabilitation access for young people after a brain injury or stroke. The charity aims to fund research for innovative therapies, raise awareness about the prevalence of brain injuries, and train advanced brain injury nurses.

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