When Naomi Judd, the Grammy-winning country music singer, died last month, her daughter Ashley Judd said she had lost her mother to “mental illness.” On Thursday, Ms. Judd was more candid, saying in a television interview that her mother had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at her home in Tennessee and encouraging those in distress to seek help.
Millisecond. Judd, an actress, told Diane Sawyer on “Good Morning America” that she was speaking out about her mother’s death because her family wanted to share the information before it became “public without our control.”
“We are aware that although we are grieving the loss of a wife and a mother, we are, in a strange way, a public family,” Ms. Judd said. “So that’s really the impetus for this moment. Otherwise, it’s obviously too soon. So it’s important that we say it from the beginning.”
Naomi Judd and her other daughter, Wynonna Judd, dominated the country music charts in the 1980s as the mother-daughter duo, the Judds. Naomi Judd, 76, died on April 30, the day before the duo was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
In Thursday’s interview, Ashley Judd said she was visiting her mother at her home outside of Nashville when she died. Millisecond. Judd said she went out to greet a friend of her mother’s who had stopped by, and when she went upstairs to tell her mother that her friend had arrived, she found her mother dead. her.
“The mother used a firearm,” Mrs. Judd said. “That’s information that we’re very uncomfortable sharing, but please understand that we’re in a position where if we don’t say it, someone else will.”
“Mom was a brilliant conversationalist, she was a star, she was an underrated songwriter,” Mrs. Judd said. “And she was someone who suffered from mental illness, you know, and had a lot of trouble getting off the couch, except to go into town every day to the Cheesecake Factory, where all the staff knew and loved her.”
Naomi Judd was born in Ashland, a coal mining town in northeastern Kentucky, and lived in California before moving to Nashville in 1979 as a single mother of two daughters.
Millisecond. Judd supported his family by working as a nurse while pursuing a music career with Wynonna. Her break came in 1983, when Mrs. Judd treated a patient who turned out to be the daughter of an RCA Records executive. A record deal, nine Country Music Association Awards, five Grammy Awards, and 14 consecutive No. 1 hits.
Ashley Judd said in the interview that her mother was more alive when she was acting.
“I was very isolated in many ways because of the illness,” Ms. Judd said. “And yet there were a lot of people who came forward for her over the years, not just me.”
Millisecond. Judd encouraged people in distress to seek help, citing resources including the National Suicide Hotline and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a mental health organization that also has a hotline.
“And so I want to be very careful when we talk about this today,” Ms. Judd said, “that for anyone who has those ideas or those impulses, you know, talk to someone, share, be open, be vulnerable.”
If you have suicidal thoughts, in the United States call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources. Go here for resources outside the United States.