Actress Ashley Judd has penned an op-ed in which she makes a case for sealing documents and keeping information out of the public domain following her mother Naomi Judd’s death earlier this year.
In The New York Times article titled, “Ashley Judd: The Right to Keep Private Pain Private,” the actress talked about how April 30, 2022, “was the most shattering day of my life” after discovering her mother took her own life, losing her ongoing battle with mental health.
“The trauma of discovering and then holding her laboring body haunts my nights,” Judd wrote. “As my family and I continue to mourn our loss, the rampant and cruel misinformation that has spread about her death, and about our relationships with her, stalks my days. The horror of it will only worsen if the details surrounding her death are disclosed by the Tennessee law that generally allows police reports, including family interviews, from closed investigations to be made public.”
We have shared our story so openly, to raise awareness, reduce stigma, to help people identify, and make sure we all know we face mental illness together. What more do folks want us to give of our grief? (3/3)@NYTimesOpEd https://t.co/9266UbSAAX
— ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) August 31, 2022
The “Divergent” star said on the day she discovered Naomi had committed suicide, she gave multiple interviews to the police, providing “answers to the many probing questions” that she said she would have never answered on another day.
“…Questions about which I never thought to ask my own questions, including: Is your body camera on?” Judd shared. “Am I being audio recorded again? Where and how will what I am sharing be stored, used and made available to the public?”
“I began a series of interviews that felt mandatory and imposed on me that drew me away from the precious end of my mother’s life,” she added, explaining how family members “each shared everything we could think of about Mom, her mental illness and its agonizing history.”
The “Kiss the Girls” star said she wanted to make it clear the police only did what they had been taught to do. But she added that law enforcement officers need to be better trained in responding to and investigating cases involving trauma. Judd said she felt that the men who responded to the call the day of Naomi’s death made her feel that she was a “possible suspect in my mother’s suicide.”
“At the beginning of August, my family and I filed a petition with the courts to prevent the public disclosure of the investigative file, including interviews the police conducted with us at a time when we were at our most vulnerable and least able to grasp that what we shared so freely that day could enter the public domain,” Ashley wrote. “This profoundly intimate personal and medical information does not belong in the press, on the internet or anywhere except in our memories.”
“We have asked the court to not release these documents not because we have secrets,” she added. “…We ask because privacy in death is a death with more dignity. And for those left behind, privacy avoids heaping further harm upon a family that is already permanently and painfully altered.”
She concluded her letter by sharing that she, her sister, Wynonna Judd, and the rest of their family “hold fast to our belief that what we said and did in the immediate aftermath of Naomi’s death should remain in the private domain — just as it should for all families facing such devastation.”
A temporary injunction was reportedly granted to keep the late country legend’s “graphic” death records sealed from the public in August, as The Daily Wire previously reported. An evidentiary hearing has been set for September.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free hotline for individuals in crisis or distress or for those looking to help someone else. It is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.