Ashley Judd Speaks On Naomi’s Death, Says She Can ‘Understand’ Her Mom Was In ‘Pain’ And ‘Doing The Best She Could’

Ashley Judd
Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Ashley Judd is reflecting on her mother Naomi’s suicide and how she’s dealing with the trauma and grief.

The 54-year-old actress shared her thoughts with David Kessler, the host of the “Healing with David Kessler” podcast. She explained how she can sympathize with Naomi’s anguish and doesn’t blame her for past parenting mistakes.

“I look back on my childhood and I realize I grew up with a mom who had an undiagnosed and untreated mental illness,” Ashley said. “And there are different behavioral expressions, interactions, flights of fancy, choices that she made that I understand were an expression of the disease.”

The “Double Jeopardy” star said her mom “was in pain” and that she can “today understand that she was absolutely doing the best she could.”

“If she could have done it differently, she would have,” Judd continued, saying she knows she “didn’t cause” Naomi’s illness. 

“My most ardent wish for my mother is that when she transitioned, she was hopefully able to let go of any guilt or shame that she carried for any shortcomings she may have had in her parenting of my sister and me,” Ashley explained. “Because certainly on my end, all was forgiven long ago, all was forgiven long ago.”

Naomi died from a self-inflicted gunshot on April 30. She had been struggling with mental health issues for years prior. 

Ashley and her sister, musician Wynonna Judd, originally shared that their mom had died from “the disease of mental illness.”

“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,” the sisters wrote in a joint statement.

Wynonna and her mother were scheduled to be inducted into Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame the day after Naomi’s death. Instead, Ashley and Wynonna attended the event and cried while thanking fans for their ongoing support. 

“My mama loved you so much,” Ashley told the audience, “And I’m sorry that she couldn’t hang on until today.”

She continued, “Your esteem for her and your regard for her really penetrated her heart, and it was your affection for her that did keep her going in the last years.”

Judd later explained how Naomi “couldn’t hang on until she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by her peers.”

“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, and the lie the disease told her was so convincing,” Judd shared, per The Daily Wire

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.

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