When a star like Naomi Judd dies, people around the globe feel the loss. Fans and colleagues mourn alongside the surviving family. At the same time, tabloids and rumor mills set their sights on making money from the sordid details. Ashley Judd, still deeply in mourning for her mother, sat down with Good Morning America today in hopes of avoiding the tabloid onslaught.
It has only been twelve days since Naomi Judd died. As a result, the wounds are still very fresh for the Judds. After much internal discussion, the Judd family decided that Ashley should be the one to speak to Good Morning America. She explained to Diane Sawyer why she chose to speak out now and why she was doing so alone.
“Both Sister and Pop have sort of deputized me, in certain ways, to speak on behalf of the family at this early time,” she explained to Sawyer. Ashely went on to say that they wanted to make a public statement before, “things about the 30th of April become public without our control. Whether it’s the autopsy or the exact manner of her death. So, that’s really the impetus for this timing. Otherwise, it’s obviously way too soon. That’s important for us to say upfront.” You can watch the entire interview below:
Touching Moments from Ashely Judd’s Good Morning America Appearance
Frankly, this isn’t an easy interview to watch. Ashley Judd’s strength is the real highlight of her Good Morning America interview. The way she’s able to speak so openly about her mother’s suicide with an understanding of mental health is inspiring. At the same time, it’s heartbreaking.
Ashley on Her Relationship with Naomi
During the Good Morning America interview, Ashley Judd said that she visited with her parents every day if she was home in Tennessee. They lived in separate houses but were only minutes apart. Later, she opened up about her relationship with Naomi. “I really accepted the love that my mother was capable of giving me because I knew she was fragile,” Ashley said. When Ashley would come into Naomi’s house, her mother would “light up.” Ashely cherished those moments. “Every time we hugged and she drank me in I was very present for those tactile experiences because I knew there would come a time when she would be gone. Whether it was sooner or later. Whether it was by the disease or another cause.”
The Judd Family Asks for Privacy
During her Good Morning America interview, Ashley Judd revealed that Naomi ended her life with a firearm. Additionally, Ashley said that she was at the house with Naomi when she died. She had stepped outside to speak to a friend who had just arrived. When she went upstairs, she found Naomi’s body. After that, Ashley added, “My mother is entitled to her dignity and her privacy. So, there are some things that we would like to retain as a family.”
Ashley Judd Puts the Spotlight on Mental Health on Good Morning America
Naomi Judd suffered from depression and other mental health issues for years before she took her own life. As a result, her death has started a conversation about how important mental health is. Ashely Judd touched on this many times during her Good Morning America interview.
Ashley Judd pointed out that her mother –and others who battle the same issues – was more than her mental illness. “Mom was a brilliant conversationalist, she was a star, she was an underrated songwriter, and she was someone who suffered with mental illness.”
“When we’re talking about mental illness, it’s important to be clear and to make the distinction between our loved one and the disease,” Ashley explained. About mental illness, she said, “It lies. It’s savage and my mother, our mother, couldn’t hang on until she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by her peers. I mean, that is the level of catastrophe of what was going on inside of her.”
After discussing the manner of her mother’s death, Ashley Judd addressed the Good Morning America audience. “I want to be very careful when we talk about this today,” she said. “For anyone who is having those ideas or those impulses to talk to someone, to share, to be vulnerable. There is a National Suicide Hotline.”
Remember to reach out to your friends and loved ones. If it gets to be too much, there’s always someone you can talk to. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Additionally, you can dial 211 to find mental health and other community resources in your area. You’re not alone.