Ashley Judd Talks Trauma and Mental Health Following Naomi Judd's Suicide

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A vibrant-looking white woman with red hair smiles broadly , seated before a bookcase.
Country star Naomi Judd died by suicide following a long struggle with mental illness. Her daughter, Ashley Judd, said that it was important to make a distinction "between our loved one and the disease." (Stephen Cohen/Getty Images)

Ashley Judd revealed a number of details about the death of her mother, country star Naomi Judd, in an interview with Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America. Judd said that her mother struggled with mental health. "Her brain hurt," Judd said. "It physically hurt."

Judd revealed that her mother killed herself, saying the family was very uncomfortable sharing the information, "but understand that we're in a position that if we don't say it someone else is going to."

Naomi Judd was part of the famed duo The Judds, with her daughter Wynonna. They dominated the country charts in the 1980s until Naomi Judd was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 1991. Her death was announced in April, a day before she was inducted in to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Ashley Judd said that the praise and accolades of her peers couldn't penetrate her mother's mental illness.

Judd also revealed that she was the one who found her mother the day she died. "I have both grief and trauma from discovering her," said Judd.


There are other details that the family is hoping to keep private, but Judd encouraged anyone else struggling with mental illness to reach out and talk to someone.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

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