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

Rumer Willis learned a lot from mom Demi Moore and dad Bruce Willis, but she's on her own journey when it comes to parenting 12-month-old daughter Louetta with partner Derek Richard Thomas.

By Natalie Finn May 12, 2024 3:00 PMTags
Watch: 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?"

Celeb 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."

Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images

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."

2024 Celebrity Babies

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.)

Bruce 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:

Welcome to the World, Lou

Rumer Willis welcomed her first child with boyfriend Derek Thomas in April 2023, introducing their daughter Louetta Isley Thomas Willis to the world in an Instagram post.

"You are pure magic," Rumer captioned the photo. "You are more than we ever dreamed of."

Rumer, the eldest daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, revealed Lou was born at home and later shared images of her birth experience.

A Love Letter

One month after Lou's birth, Rumer penned an emotional message to her daughter, sharing that she had "waited and dreamed of you my whole life."

"You have changed my life in the most profound way," the House Bunny actress continued. "It is the privilege and honor of my life to be your Mother and I will do everything and anything for you always. I hope you never stop wanting to sleep next to me or take baths with me."

Rumer went on to thank her sisters, Tallulah Willis and Scout Willis, for supporting her through her pregnancy and at-home birth experience. 

To my sisters, my best friends, my partners in crime," she wrote, "to have you there to share in the moment that I was able to bring my girl in the world is a moment I will never forget. You have watched and supported me on the journey and know what it meant to bring another precious girl into our lineage."

Waiting on You, Lou

"One of the first things i said after you were born was 'oh my girl, I missed you,'" Rumer revealed in a May 2023 Instagram post. "I feel like i have always known you and you me. You are the most beautiful creature I have ever met."

The actress added, "Every moment and contraction and every bit of the pain of birth was worth it and I would do it a thousand times over if it means getting to spend one sec with you."

Life Partner

"I am so grateful to have you in my life and our daughters life," Rumer captioned a birthday post for Thomas in 2023. "You are such a great dad and our girl is so lucky to call you papa."

"Best Girl Dad in the Game"

Rumer paid tribute to her dad on Father's Day 2023, writing that seeing the Die Hard actor—who was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia earlier this year—hold his first grandchild as "something I will treasure for the rest of my life."

"His sweetness and love for her was so pure and beautiful," Rumer shared of Bruce. "Papa I'm so lucky to have you and so is Lou. Thank you for being the silliest, most loving, coolest Daddio a girl could ask for." 

It's the Little Things

In an August 2023 post, Rumer listed several life happenings that had brought her joy lately, including putting "tiny bows in tiny hairs," the "most precious toe buttons" and "mini naps with mini hands." 


Just days before her 35th birthday, Rumer posed nude in an Instagram photo, reflecting on her body image in the caption.

Sharing that she had spent "so many years trying to shape and mold" her body into something she "thought was desirable," the Dancing With the Stars champion celebrated that she is "a little softer and rounder and jiggly and different" after giving birth.

"That's ok, more than ok it's kind of amazing because I grew a person inside of it," she wrote. "I know my body is still readjusting, but whatever shape it ends up in I am just grateful for all that it did and continues to do."

Acknowledging her "ongoing process of transformation," Rumer explained that she was "grateful for every twist and turn" of her postpartum journey.

"My breasts, might be bigger and perhaps ever so drifting downward but what a gift and privilege that they can feed and provide nourishment for my Lou," she wrote. "They also make a fantastic pillow while we cosleep. My hips and tummy, now softer and rounder, cradle my daughter in safety, warmth, and love."

Birthday Girl

Rumer marked her 35th birthday by sharing a photo of herself breastfeeding Lou, writing on Instagram, "This past year has come with so much growth, so many challenges and fears to overcome but right along side more joy than I could ever imagine. I truly learned what it is to surrender into the deepest core of myself and find a strength and a primal power I didn't know I had."

"This new version of me is someone I love more than I ever thought I could. I feel more comfortable in my skin," she continued. "More confident than I ever imagined. I have known for so many years that being a mother would bring me into alignment with a divine purpose I have always felt and to known that my intuition was right has given me a trust within myself that I am so deeply grateful for."