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Demi Moore caps comeback from addiction, tragedy to be crowned ‘godmother’ of Cannes

When Demi Moore glides down the red carpet to the glittering Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 23 to host the 30th annual amFAR gala at the Cannes Film Festival she will probably, in the words of a friend, “make it look as easy as she does everything else.”

It will mark a head-turning comeback as “godmother of Cannes” for an actress who has combined box-office triumph with bitter personal tragedy, encompassing addiction, fractured families and two ex-husbands diagnosed with dementia, one of whom has died of it.

Demi Moore was one of the stars of the 2024 Met Gala. She wore a floral gown designed by London-based designer Harris Reed.

At 61, Moore is fresh off a dazzling appearance at the Met Gala, an elegant turn as suspected high society husband-killer Ann Woodward in “Feud: Capote vs. The Swans,” not to mention an Instagram video set to Elvis Presley’s “Burning Love” showing Demi’s hard body in a leopard print bikini.

“Can we talk real quick about how that badass mama has a stronger physique at 61 than most 20 year olds?” one of her 5.2 million followers asked.

Those who know her say Moore’s strong physique is second to her steely will.

That will, they say, catapulted her out of a nightmarish and itinerant childhood that began in Roswell, NM and continued across the southern US that included saving her alcoholic mother from repeated suicide attempts and losing her stepfather to suicide as a teenager.

Then it helped to unexpectedly launch her into a career that made her, for a time, the highest-earning actress in the business.

Moore showed off her gym-toned body in a recent Instagram video with her daughters.

“I listened to her book on Audible and connected with her from that moment on,” said her friend, a political influencer who has become an ally in recent years.

“I love her relationship with her daughters and how they’ve made it through their own ordeals. Her own mother kind of sold her out and then she enters this industry that eats people alive.

“But she seems to come out ahead no matter what. I especially love seeing her with her little Chihuahua, Pilaf. She seems to have really come into her own.”

Moore’s most loyal companion these days is her often-photographed Chihuahua, Pilaf.

It’s taken a while, but the journey has had more twists and turns than many of Moore’s biggest films, like “Ghost,” “Indecent Proposal,” “A Few Good Men, “Striptease” and “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.’

Now single — her most recent relationship was with NYC restaurateur Daniel Humm from whom she split in 2022 — she’s left three husbands in her wake.

Her first, musician Freddy Moore whom she married when she was barely 18, died at 72 in 2022 from Alzheimer’s.

Moore starred with the late Patrick Swayze in 1990’s “Ghost” – which went on to gross more than $500 million.

She’s become a nurturer and a caretaker of her second husband, Bruce Willis, 69, who, at their height of his fame and during their marriage, told Demi he wasn’t sure he wanted to be married to her.

Willis and his second wife, Emma Hemings, live with their two daughters near Demi in Hailey, Idaho, and have formed a blended family as they deal with Willis’ frontotemporal dementia.

Demi’s third husband, Ashton Kutcher, who encouraged her to take up drinking again and persuaded her to have threesomes, is now married to Mila Kunis.

Moore shaved her head for 1997’s underrated ”
GI Jane” – directed by Ridley Scott.

He resigned in semi-disgrace from the anti-trafficking organization he formed with Moore when he and Kunis were widely criticized for pleading with a judge for a lenient sentence for Ashton’s former co-star, Danny Masterson, who was convicted of rape.

What’s striking about Moore, say those who know her, is that she’s only lost her way twice.

Early in her career she was abusing alcohol and cocaine until director Joel Schumacher said he wouldn’t not hire her for 1985’s “St. Elmo’s Fire” unless she sobered up.

Demi in character as Ann Woodward, a high society woman suspected of possibly murdering her husband, in this year’s “Feud: Capote vs. the Swans.”

She did, for 20 years, and only relapsed when her third marriage to the much younger Kutcher, now 48, collapsed because of his infidelities.

Moore was hospitalized in 2012 for a reported overdose and was estranged from her three daughters, Rumer, now 35, Scout, 32, and Tallulah, 30, for several years, but the four have since reconciled.

Moore now seems to dote on her first granddaughter, Louetta, who was born in April 2023 to Rumer and her partner, Derek Richard Thomas.

Moore and her second husband, Bruce Willis, who she married in 1987, at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000, as their marriage was ending.

Scout, Rumer and Tallulah Willis posing in late April with Rumer’s one-year-old daughter, Louetta.

“Life is certainly not a straight line and I think everyone here has dealt with not feeling good enough at some point in their lives,” she said in 2018 when being honored by the Peggy Albrecht Friendly House, a program helping women with substance abuse issues.

“I know in a moment of great struggle for me, I’ve reached out to a wise teacher and expressed my fear that I wasn’t good enough and she said, ‘You will never be good enough, but you can know the value of your worth. Put down the measuring stick.’”

Said her youngest daughter Tallulah Willis, who has been public about her own emotional struggles, a few years ago: “I don’t think my mom was raised. She was forged. And the strength that comes from that, it’s intimidating. It’s scary.”

Moore and Ashton Kutcher, 15 years her junior, were married from 2005 to 2013.

Moore mentioned in her 2019 memoir, “Inside Out,” that her long-troubled mother, Virginia Guynes, who died in 1998, may have set her up to be raped by their landlord when she was only 15 — one of a number of sobering details revealed in the book that Demi had stayed silent about for years.

She still never mentions one of her half-brothers, James Craig Harmon, 50, from her biological father, the late Air Force airman Charles Harmon, Sr. whom she never knew, who served time in prison after attacking his girlfriend in 2005.

After moving out of her mother’s apartment at 16, the-then Demi Guynes met fledgling rocker Freddy Moore at a Hollywood nightclub and married him when she was barely 18, after co-writing song with him, “It’s Not a Rumour” and appearing in an early video of the song.

A news photographer who worked briefly at a Pennsylvania newspaper with Demi’s stepfather said Moore “haunted” him as a child because she looked “neglected.”

Moore landed a plum role in 1982 in the hottest soap opera at the time, “General Hospital,” when she was just 19, despite almost zero acting experience or industry connections and with a background of considerable emotional trauma – and has seemingly made a career out of never looking back.

Especially at her brief foray into posing for cheesy nude photos.

“I remember interviewing her a few years later and she tried to tell me Bruce Willis was her first husband and she denied ever posing nude,” Alan Carter, who specialized in writing about soap operas for many years told The Post.

Moore with ex-husband Willis, his second wife Emma Hemings, left, and daughters Rumer, Tallulah and Scout, when Rumer made her Broadway debut in “Chicago” in 2015.

“She told me, like, four or five stories that weren’t true. I was like, Demi! I saw you on ‘General Hospital.’

“I know you were married before. I saw you on the cover of ‘Oui.” Her publicist just said she didn’t remember history. OK, sure.”

Moore’s triumphant return to Cannes — she helped host the amFAR gala at Cannes in 1997 with the late Elizabeth Taylor — will include a turn as the “godmother” of the Trophée Chopard, which honors two emerging actors.

Moore’s next film, French director Coralie Fargeat’s English-language body horror movie “The Substance,” which co-stars Margaret Qualley and Dennis Quaid, will also be premiering at the festival.

And she’s joined the cast of Taylor Sheridan’s upcoming Paramount series, “Landman,” alongside Billy Bob Thornton.

Demi holding her first grandchild, Louetta, born last year, with her dog Pilaf and her daughter, Rumer, at right.

Bruce Willis is a staple on Demi’s Instagram account. The two – along with his second wife and kids – are often seen at her home in Hailey, Idaho.

The show is based on the podcast “Boomtown,” and is described as being about “roughnecks and wildcat billionaires in the proverbial boomtowns of West Texas.”

“Success is the best revenge,” veteran producer Brian Balthazar told The Post.

“As far as I’m concerned, disappearing from the business for a while at times, only to come back looking better than ever and making great work qualifies as just that.  

“I couldn’t take my eyes off her making her entrance at the Met Gala. Anyone who ever doubted her need look no further than Demi Moore in 2024 to be proven wrong.”

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