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Kimberly Williams-Paisley Reveals Mother’s Struggle With Dementia

Kimberly Williams Paisley
Robin Marchant, Getty Images

While Kimberly Williams-Paisley was starring in the hit TV show, ‘Nashville,’ few people knew of the private pain she was enduring. The wife of Brad Paisley is finally speaking out about her family’s struggle with her mother’s advanced dementia, after bearing it in silence for years.

“I’m finally at a point — my mother’s finally at a point where I feel like it’s OK to talk about it,” she tells Robin Roberts on ‘Good Morning America.’ “There was a long time . . . that she didn’t want us to talk about it, and 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.”

The actress’ 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 for the mother of two little boys (six-year-old Huck and Jasper, four).

“When I found out what her diagnosis was, I thought, ‘Wow, she’s just not going to know my kids.’ And what was so cool was seeing how she actually really did interact with my kids,” she recalls. “You know, both down on the floor being really goofy and silly. And my kids adored her . . . they played really well together.”

Williams-Paisley admits it has been a struggle learning to accept her mother’s difficulties, which include not recognizing her own daughter. Williams currently lives in an assisted care facility, with her family visiting as often as they can. The time together, Williams-Paisley admits, is bittersweet.

“She is, in many ways, a ‘new’ mom,” she concedes to Redbook magazine. “But now it’s easier to welcome memories of her as she used to be. 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.”

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