Rumer Willis Shares How Her Approach to Parenting Differs From Mom Demi Moore

Bruce Willis Holds Rumer Willis' Daughter Lou in Sweet Photo for the Toddler's First Birthday

Rumer Willis has been endlessly inspired by mom Demi Moore, but she isn't simply following in her mother's footsteps when it comes to parenting her own daughter, Louetta Isley Thomas Willis.

"We're in such a different time, there's just so much more information," Rumer told E! News' Francesca Amiker at the premiere of her film My Divorce Party during the 24th Annual Beverly Hills Film Festival. "My mom will be like, 'You should do this with her,' and I'll say, 'Actually, based on what I've been reading, you don't do that anymore.'"

Which in no way means Rumer, who shares 12-month-old Lou with partner Derek Richard Thomas, thinks she has all the answers. Rather, the eldest of Demi and ex-husband Bruce Willis' three daughters is fascinated by the fact that she's not just mirroring her own mom when it comes to the choices she's making.

"When you're in that transition from maiden to motherhood, and you have a really tight relationship with your mom, there's an interesting separation that occurs as you are discovering your own path as a mother," Rumer explained. "There are things I take from her that I love, but there's also stuff I want to discover myself."

Whether that's the best course of action or not, she added with a laugh, "Inevitably we screw up our children in opposite ways, right?"

photosCeleb Moms Breastfeeding

Rumer continued, "I think as parents you want to give your kids whatever you didn't have. But the beauty in what I'm learning is, she might not need what I didn't get, because she's her own person."

One of her greatest takeaways from her own parents, who separated in 1998 when Rumer was 9 but eventually settled into being two of the most notably amicable exes in Hollywood, was "a lot of laughter."

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With both Bruce and Demi ("Papu" and "Yaya" to their granddaughter), there's "a level of silliness and goofiness, and not taking yourself seriously," Rumer said. "They really cultivated that in my sisters and allowed us the space to be expressive. That really is so important, because a lot of the time—especially when you're growing up as, like, a nepo baby—you have to act a certain way. I appreciate that we're left-of-center as a family."

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So, the best advice Rumer can offer, "other than don't take any advice from anybody," she noted, "is just see who your child is and allow them the space and move with them."

The biggest thing she'd learned so far about parenthood is to "really trust yourself." With Lou, "I'm her mom and she lived inside my body. I know her better than anybody."

Rumer Willis, Instagram

Rumer said she planned on spending Mother's Day May 12 with "the ridiculous amount of women" in their family, including her mom and sisters Scout Willis, 32, and Tallulah Willis, 30.

Though since the whole family is "obsessed" with Lou, they'll probably just talk about the toddler queen of the household, who, according to Rumer, is sporting four teeth, almost walking, able to get off the bed herself, eating "like a champ" and saying "mama."

"I feel very blessed," the actress added. "She's so happy and smiley and just joyful all the time."

As for the small faction of men in the family, including Lou's musician dad, Rumer observed that "it's interesting watching guys parent, especially when you're a breastfeeding mom. There's not really a lot for them to do—at least for awhile, your kid just wants Mom."


Rumer Willis/Instagram

But Derek was "doing great," she added. "As we're navigating new parenthood with a partner, there's so much that goes on—your hormones, everything's going crazy—people say that if you can make it through the first year together, that's the biggest milestone. Being in a relationship while having a kid, there's a level of depth and intimacy and trust that you have to go to with someone."

She'd been in longer relationships before, she noted, but "the depth of the s–t that you're going through together" as parents was next-level. (Derek referred to the "short time" they'd been together in a loving birthday post for Rumer in August 2022.)

photosBruce Willis' Family Moments

At the same time, her whole sprawling family has been tested like never before, the "ladies of Willis/Moore" (as they've referred to themselves on Instagram) having shared in March 2022 that Bruce was battling aphasia and would be stepping away from his prolific movie career. They followed up in February 2023 that he had been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia.

Rumer said the 69-year-old—who's also dad to daughters Mabel, 12, and Evelyn, 10, with wife Emma Heming Willis—was doing "really good."

"My dad is so beloved," Rumer said, "and I feel like that's been so evident. If there's any way that, in sharing our experience—strengths, hope, whatever comes forward as a family—if that can bring any sort of comfort to someone else, then to me that's everything."

And good times are still being had.


Rumer Willis, Instagram

Lou's grandparents are "so sweet" with her, Rumer said. "They're the cutest." And while the child doesn't get screen time, per se, "when I FaceTime my family and she hears the little ring, she'll try and grab the phone and see who's on it, and her face lights up in this huge megawatt smile."

by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

On her rare night out on behalf of My Divorce Party—"Bridesmaids walked so we could run," Rumer quipped of the R-rated comedy, which gleefully doesn't shy away from women talking about "the gnarliest, nastiest s–t"—she was admittedly "just a little tired." 

Since developing a bit of insomnia while she was pregnant, she's never "gotten back to the deep sleep zone," she shared. Even though Lou's been sleeping through the night since she was 2 months old, she'll find herself wide awake, thinking "What's happening? Is there danger?!"

Otherwise, "everything's rewarding," Rumer said. "She's my best friend. I'm away from her for an hour and I miss her."

Keep reading to see the sweetest scenes from Rumer's mom life: