Thursday, May 12, 2022
– Naomi Judd died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on April 30, her daughter, Ashley, disclosed today.
Ashley Judd made the disclosure in an emotional interview on "Good Morning America." "She used a weapon ... my mother used a firearm," Ashley Judd said. "So that's the piece of information that we are very uncomfortable sharing, but understand that we're in a position that if we don't say it someone else is going to."
Judd, 76, was slated to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame as one-half of The Judds with her other daughter, Wynonna. Naomi had suffered from mental illness issues for years and had been public about them.
"It was a mixed day," Ashley Judd said of the day her mother died. Ashley was on a daily visit to her mother and stepfather before going outside to bring a friend in the house. When she returned, she found her mother upstairs, having shot herself. "I have both grief and trauma from discovering her."
"When we're talking about mental illness, it's very important to be clear and make the distinction between our loved one and the disease," Ashley told Diane Sawyer. "It's very real. It lies, it's savage."
"My mother, our mother, couldn't hang on until she was inducted into the Country Hall of Fame by her peers. I mean, that is the level of catastrophe of what was going on inside of her because the barrier between the regard in which they held her couldn't penetrate into her heart...her brain hurt. Her brain physically hurt."
Judd said she did the interview and cited the cause of death before this would "become public without our control whether it's the autopsy or the exact manner of her death. That's really the impetus of this timing. Otherwise, it's obviously way too soon."
"I've thought about this so much, because once I say it, it cannot be unsaid," Ashley said of the disclosure about the manner of her mother's death. "My mother is entitled to her dignity and privacy, and so there are some things that we would just like to retain as a family," she said.
Ashley Judd, an actress, urged those needing help to do so. "I want to be very careful when we talk about this today that anyone who is having those ideas or those impulses, to talk to someone, to share, to be open, to be vulnerable," she said. "There is a national suicide hotline."
Ashley Judd invited Sawyer to do the interview at her Tennessee home. During the interview, Ashley Judd read a letter from Wynonna, which said, in part, "I can't believe she's gone." Wynonna said in the letter that she was not yet ready to speak publicly about the tragedy.