In response to Bruce Willis' acting retirement and aphasia diagnosis, Kevin Smith said he "feels like an asshole" for publicly criticizing the actor over a decade ago. Smith directed Willis and Tracy Morgan in the buddy comedy "Cop Out" in 2010, but their relationship was tumultuous. Smith stated on Marc Maron's podcast in 2011 that working with Willis was "fucking soul crushing".
“It was difficult,” Smith said at the time about Willis. The director added that Willis “wouldn’t even sit for a fucking poster shoot” and that “were it not for Tracy, I might have killed either myself or someone else in the making of fucking ‘Cop Out.'”
Following the announcement that Willis is retiring from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia, a language disorder caused by brain damage that affects a person's ability to communicate, Smith sent well wishes to the actor and his family.
“Long before any of the ‘Cop Out’ stuff, I was a big Bruce Willis fan, so this is really heartbreaking to read,” Smith wrote on Twitter. “He loved to act and sing and the loss of that has to be devastating for him. I feel like an asshole for my petty complaints from 2010. So sorry to [Bruce Willis] and his family.”
Willis' family released a joint statement on social media announcing his diagnosis and retirement. “This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support,” the family said. “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.”
Seth Green responded to the news on Twitter, writing, “I have so much love for Bruce Willis, and am grateful for every character he’s given us. Hugs and love for the whole family. Thank you for sharing him with us all.”
“Bless you, Bruce Willis!” wrote “Deadpool” creator Rob Liefeld. “Prayers for healing and sincere gratitude for sharing your talents with all of us!”
Below are some Hollywood reactions to Bruce Willis' retirement and diagnosis.