Actress ASHLEY JUDD (center) with sister WYNONA JUDD & mother NAOMI JUDD at the premiere of her new movie, Kiss The Girls

Ashley Judd says mom Naomi shot herself moments after asking her to stay with her

Fans of Naomi Judd were heartbroken to hear the news of her recent passing. She, along with her daughter Winnona Judd, had made a great career for themselves in the country music industry. They had achieved together 14 top-of-the-charts hits, five Grammy Awards and so much more. Their last performance was in 19991, and their fans were elated to hear of them returning to stage for a final tour, but that never happened. Naomi had died before the tour started. Her daughters have announced her death, along with a disclosure that Naomi had in fact killed herself. They have also revealed how their mother had taken her life.

The Late Naomi Judd

Judd died the day before the legendary duo the Judds were set to be honored by the Country Music Hall of Fame. Wynnona walked up to the stage with her sister to accept the award with a broken heart.

“I’m gonna make this fast because my heart’s broken — and I feel so blessed,” Wynonna said, addressing the audience. “I mean, it’s a very strange dynamic to be this broken and this blessed.” What followed was a short video that acted as a sort of memorial for the mother that raised the Judd girls. 

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Naomi had long since dealt with the exhausting effects of mental illness. Her husband, Larry Strickland had passed away 35 years ago, which was hard to handle. She described how it felt for her in an interview with People: “Nobody can understand it unless you’ve been there. Think of the very worst day of your whole life – someone passed away, you lost your job, you found out you were being betrayed, that your child had a rare disease – you can take all of those at once and put them together and that’s what depression feels like.”

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She Took Her Own Life

On the day of her mother’s death, Judd said she was home in Tennessee and went to visit her mother as she always did. In an interview with Good Morning America, Judd opened up to how she disovered her Naomi.

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“Mom said to me, ‘Will you stay with me?’ And I said, ‘Of course I will,’” Judd said. Later, Judd went outside to greet a friend of her mother’s who arrived. “I went upstairs to let her know the friend was there, and I discovered her. I have both grief and trauma from discovering her. My mother is entitled to her dignity and her privacy. And so there are some things that we would just like to retain as a family.” 

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Saying Goodbye

Ashley Judd made a post on Twitter, announcing their mother’s death: “Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness. And we are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public. We are in unknown territory.”

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Wynnona was not up to any public speaking, so the family asked Ashley to do so. There were many questions being asked about their mother’s death, and they feared someone else would beat them to it if they did not make some kind of announcement. Ashley said to the host on GMA: 

“I am tasked with the exceedingly difficult task in disclosing the manner of the way my mother chose not to continue to live. And have thought about this too much, because once I’ve said it, it can’t be unsaid. And, because I do not want it to be part of the gossip economy. I will share with you that she used a weapon. My mother used a firearm. That is the piece of information that we are very uncomfortable sharing, but we understand that if we don’t say it, someone else will.”

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Sources:

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  1. Ashley Judd says mom Naomi shot herself moments after asking her to stay with her.Meaww. Tuhin Chakraborty. May 12, 2022
  2. “Country Legend Naomi Judd Died by Suicide After Longtime Struggle with Mental Health: Sources” People. May 02, 2022
  3. “Naomi Judd Offers Hope to Those Battling Depression During Mental Illness Awareness Week” People. October 2, 2018.
  4. “Ashley Judd speaks about her mother’s passing, puts spotlight on mental health” GMA. May 12, 2022
Jade Small
Freelance Writer
Jade is a freelance writer and content creator from South Africa with over 7 years experience writing and creating. She's also a proud single mom to a super 13 year old boy.
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