NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Encouraging people to seek help for their mental health, Ashley Judd spoke about her grieving process after the loss of her mother, country music star Naomi Judd.
In a broadcast interview Speaking to Good Morning America on Thursday, the movie star said she wanted to address her mother’s struggle with depression. Judd said she was with her mother at their home in Tennessee the day Naomi died on April 30.
Judd also encouraged anyone with thoughts of harming themselves to contact The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Naomi Judd died at the age of 76, a day before she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame with her duo partner and daughter Wynonna Judd. In a statement to The Associated Press, the family said they lost her to “the sickness of mental illness.”
“When we’re talking about mental illness, it’s very important to be clear and differentiate between our loved one and the illness,” Judd said in the interview. “It’s lying. It’s wild. And you know, my mother, our mother, couldn’t last until she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by her peers. I mean, that’s the level of catastrophe of what was going on inside her, because the barrier between – the respect she had for her couldn’t penetrate her heart. And the lie that the disease told her was so convincing.”
Ashley Judd said her mother shot herself with a gun but asked for privacy about other details of the death. Naomi Judd was open about her depression and anxiety in her memoir River of Time, and daughter Ashley said it made her cherish every moment she spent with her mother.
“I really accepted the love my mom could give me because I knew it was fragile,” Judd said. “So when I walked around the back of her house and walked in through the kitchen door, she said, ‘There’s my darling, there’s my baby.’ And she lit up. I enjoyed those moments.”
Naomi and Wynonna Judd scored 14 No. 1 songs in a career that spanned nearly three decades. Combining traditional Appalachian bluegrass sounds with polished pop styling, the red-headed duo racked up hit after hit throughout the 1980s. Wynonna led the duo with her powerful vocals while Naomi provided harmonies and stylish looks on stage.
The Judds released six studio albums and one EP between 1984 and 1991 and won nine Country Music Association Awards and seven from the Academy of Country Music. With hits like “Why Not Me” and “Give A Little Love,” they won a total of five Grammy Awards together, and Naomi earned a sixth Grammy for writing “Love Can Build a Bridge.”