Kevin Smith apologizes to Bruce Willis for past 'Cop Out' complaints: 'I feel like an a–hole'

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Director Kevin Smith issued an apology to Bruce Willis on Wednesday after the actor’s family announced he was “stepping away” from acting due to his aphasia diagnosis.

Smith directed the 2010 comedy “Cop Out” starring Willis and Tracy Morgan. In the year following the film’s release, Smith made distasteful remarks about his time working with the “Die Hard” icon.

“Long before any of the Cop Out stuff, I was a big Bruce Willis fan – so this is really heartbreaking to read,” Smith reacted on Twitter.

“He loved to act and sing and the loss of that has to be devastating for him. I feel like an a–hole for my petty complaints from 2010. So sorry to BW and his family,” Smith’s tweet continued.

Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan and director Kevin Smith attend the premiere of "Cop Out" on Feb. 22, 2010 in New York City.  
(Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage)

In 2011, Smith’s commentary on working with Willis made headlines after he discussed his frustration working with the veteran action star on Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast.

“It was difficult,” Smith said at the time (via Variety). “I’ve never been involved in a situation like that where, one component is not in the box at all. It was f—ing soul crushing. I mean, a lot of people are gonna be like, ‘Oh, you’re just trying to blame the movie on him.’ No, but I had no f—ing help from this dude whatsoever.”

In the same interview, Smith praised Morgan, saying if it weren’t for him, “I might’ve killed myself or someone else in the making of that movie.” 

Kevin Smith (right) apologized to Bruce Willis on Wednesday for his past complaints about working with the actor on "Cop Out."
(Bobby Bank/WireImage)

In a statement released on Wednesday, Willis’ family announced he has been diagnosed with aphasia, a condition that affects the ability to communicate.

“Bruce’s amazing supporters, as a family we wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities. As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him,” the family statement, signed by wife, Emma, ex-wife Demi Moore, and daughters Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel, and Evelyn, read.

It continued: “This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support. 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.”

Director Kevin Smith and actor Bruce Willis.
(Bobby Bank/WireImage)

“As Bruce always says, ‘Live it up’ and together we plan to do just that,” the statement concluded.

Willis’ diagnosis was announced a little over a week after his 67th birthday.

According to the National Aphasia Association, the acquired communication disorder impairs a person’s ability to process language, including the ability to speak and understand others or read and write. It affects 2 million Americans, with nearly 180,000 diagnosed with the disorder annually.

Bruce Willis’ family said in a statement Wednesday the actor is "stepping away" from acting following his aphasia diagnosis.
(Britta Pedersen/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Aphasia is always due to injury to the brain, and is most common from a stroke, particularly in older individuals. About 25%-40% of stroke survivors develop aphasia. 

Brain injuries resulting in aphasia may also occur stemming from head trauma, brain tumors and infections.

It does not affect a person’s intelligence, although a person with aphasia may have trouble recalling words and names.

Aphasia can be severe or very mild and can occur in people of all ages, races, nationalities and genders. 

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