Ashley Judd says mom Naomi Judd suffered a 'level of catastrophe' before her suicide

Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Country music star Naomi Judd died from suicide, her actor daughter Ashley Judd confirmed Thursday during a “Good Morning America” interview with ABC journalist Diane Sawyer.

The “Double Jeopardy” and “Twin Peaks” star spoke tearfully with Sawyer as she shared details of her mother’s April 30 death, one day before the 76-year-old musician and her elder daughter, Wynonna Judd, were to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

The Judds singer, whose family had previously only said they lost her “to the disease of mental illness,” used a gun to end her life, and Ashley Judd said that she was the one who discovered her body.

Her family — including stepfather Larry Strickland and sister Wynonna — deputized Ashley to disclose the matriarch’s manner of death because “we don’t want it to be part of the gossip economy,” she said. In fact, stories about suicide had already been circulating online before Thursday’s interview with Sawyer. They also wanted anyone suffering from similar struggles to seek help before it’s too late.

“My mother knew that she was seen and she was heard in her anguish ... and she was walked home,” Judd told Sawyer.

“Our mother couldn’t hang on to be recognized by her peers. That is the level of catastrophe of what was going on inside of her,” she said. “Because the barrier between the regard in which they held her couldn’t penetrate into her heart and the lie the disease told her was so convincing.”


The lie, she explained, was her mother’s thoughts “that you’re not enough, that you’re not loved, that you’re not worthy.”

“Her brain hurt. It physically hurt,” she said.

Speaking slowly and often through tears, Judd thoughtfully shared other details and read aloud a letter from Wynonna, who couldn’t be there for the interview because she “needed some time to process.”

“I need this time to myself,” Wynonna’s letter said. “I’m not ready yet to speak publicly about what happened. So I know you understand why I’m not there today.”


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