Ashley Judd shares details about mother’s death from mental illness

‘Mother used a firearm,’ Judd tells ABC News’ Diane Sawyer

Ashley Judd opened up in an interview about her mother's death and mental health.

NEW YORK – Actress Ashley Judd spoke to “Good Morning America” Thursday, confirming that her mother, country music star Naomi Judd, died after shooting herself.

“Mother used a firearm,” Ashley Judd told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer. “That’s the piece of information that we are very uncomfortable sharing, but understand that we’re in a position that -- if we don’t say it, someone else is going to.”

Ashley Judd said she was visiting her 76-year-old mother’s home in Nashville, Tennessee, when she found her mom’s body on April 30.

“Mom said to me, ‘Will you stay with me?’ And I said, ‘Of course I will,’” Judd said.

Judd said she later went outside to greet her mother’s friend who had arrived.

FILE - Naomi Judd poses at the Hero Dog Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., Oct. 6, 2012. Judd, the Kentucky-born matriarch of the Grammy-winning duo The Judds and mother of Wynonna and Ashley Judd, has died, her family announced Saturday, April 30, 2022. She was 76. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

“I went upstairs to let her know that the friend was there and I discovered her,” Judd said.

Naomi Judd died just one day before she and her other daughter, Wynonna Judd, were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Ashley Judd said she is suffering from both trauma and grief after discovering her mother’s body.

“We’re aware that although grieving the loss of a wife and a mother, we are, in an uncanny way, a public family,” Judd said. “So that’s really the impetus for this timing. Otherwise, it’s obviously way too soon. So that’s important for us to say up front.”

Naomi Judd was open about her health struggles, as well as severe depression and anxiety. In her memoir, “River of Time,” she described her diagnosis of hepatitis C, which she said she unknowingly contracted during her time as a nurse. She said that by 1995, her doctors had told her she was completely free of the virus.

In the memoir, she described feeling like she had lost her identity when she returned home after a 2010 reunion tour, isolating herself at her home and dealing with crippling panic attacks. She also said that she had been dealing with trauma from childhood sexual abuse. She was admitted to a psychiatric ward at a hospital and spent time in an outpatient treatment program.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.


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Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for Local10.com.