Ashley Judd Opens Up About Her Mother’s Mental Illness and Death

Naomi Judd was a country star making up one-half of the group The Judds, her daughter, Wynonna Judd the other half. The Judds earned 5 grammies, 9 CMA awards, 7 ACM awards and had 14 chart-topping songs. 

Having fame and career success didn’t mean that Naomi’s life was perfect. Far from it. She struggled with mental illness and openly wrote about her struggles in her memoir “River of Time.” She knew she was still susceptible to suicidal thoughts and actions due to mental illness, and on April 30, 2022, she lost the battle with mental illness. She died by suicide.

Her daughters Wynonna and actress Ashley Judd broke the news on Instagram explaining that they were “shattered” and “navigating profound grief.”

It has been less than two weeks since their mom died, but Ashley has decided to speak out and speak on behalf of her family.

Diane Sawyer met with Ashely at her home in Tennessee. Ashley started the conversation by explaining that her sister, Wynonna, and her step-father, who she calls Pop, both appointed Ashley to be the family’s spokesperson “at this early time.” She wanted to talk on behalf of the family “before things about the 30th of April become public without our control.” That is the only reason she has decided to speak out so soon. Otherwise, Ashely emphasized, “Otherwise, it’s obviously way too soon.”

While Wynonna didn’t join her sister for the interview, she did give Ashely a letter explaining why she didn’t join her. Watch the video below to hear what Ashely wanted to share about her mother, about mental illness and about the day her mother chose to end her life.

As mentioned in the video, if you or anyone who you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, text “TALK” to 741-741, or visit