Many country fans know Kimberly Williams-Paisley as either the wife of Brad Paisley or as the star of ABC’s “Nashville.” Before that, she was known as the adorable star of the “Father of the Bride” movies. But now, she’s becoming the face of something completely different: having a family member with advanced dementia.
After struggling in silence for years, Paisley tells “Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts that she – and more importantly, her mother – are finally at a point where the situation is okay to talk about. “There was a long time…that she didn’t want us to talk about it,” Paisley offered. “That was so much a part of the stress of what we were all going through, was that we had to hide it and cover up for her, and protect her pride, and I just felt like we were at a point where our story could help other people.” Paisley’s mother, Linda Williams, was diagnosed with progressive aphasia nine years ago, when she was only 61 years old. The news came as a devastating blow. “When I found out what her diagnosis was, I thought, ‘Wow, she’s just not going to know my kids,’” said Williams-Paisley. “What was so cool was seeing how she actually really did interact with my kids.”
Williams-Paisley first spoke out about her family’s ordeal in the new issue of “Redbook” magazine. There, she admits it has been a struggle learning to accept her mother’s challenges, which now include not recognizing her own daughter. Williams currently lives in an assisted care facility, with her family visiting as often as they can. “It’s easier to welcome memories of her as she used to be,” Williams-Paisley notes. “I see her in the expression Jasper makes when he sings at the top of his lungs, eyes and mouth open wide, head tilted back and shaking slightly. I remember her as I run, the way she always used to, into a cold ocean when no one else wants to. I’m sure I know how she felt as I listen to my own children with all my heart.”