NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE. – The family of the late country music matriarch Naomi Judd is to think about their legacy ahead of an 11-city tour that will give fans a chance to say goodbye to music and enjoy the music that has become the soundtrack of their lives.
Daughters Wynonna Judd and Ashley Judd, in interview snippets with The Associated Press, recalled their mother as a beautiful, talented, smart and colorfully complex woman who had ups and downs and was honest about her mental health journey.
Actress and humanist Ashley Judd has devoted her life to social justice issues and became one Goodwill Ambassador for UNFPA and was a key leader in the Time’s Up organization. Her mother also used her platform to speak out about her mental illness and has been a tireless supporter of animal rescue. The two seemed cut from the same cloth.
“I definitely think our advocacy was mutual and reciprocal,” Ashley Judd said. “I know that after many of my more public forums, she said directly to both me and her friends, and then it would get through to her friends that she was blown away by my boldness.”
But Judd said they both understand how trauma can impact their own mental health.
“She had a very tender soul. And so one of the phrases we used together was that you can’t fail to see what you’ve seen,” Judd said. “So she had to be very careful with herself when it came to entering certain traumatic spaces. And yet it was very important to her to do as much as she could. She wanted to help alleviate and alleviate the suffering of people who were also traveling with mental illness. And she had no qualms about reducing stigma and shame.”
While the mother-daughter relationship was difficult due to The Judds’ success and constant touring, Ashley Judd said in later years they repaired the bond between them.
“Mom and I had a pretty glorious recurrence that began in 2006 when I was given the gift of coming into recovery. And for all the time that she and I missed growing up, we had the gift of so much time together over those ensuing 17 years,” Judd said.
After Ashley Judd crushed her leg while hiking in a Congolese rainforest Over the past year, her mother has been by her side at numerous doctor’s appointments and joined her at a cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains after Judd recovered.
“We had a great time together and as I was able to tell her at the end, it’s all taken,” Judd said. “And that redemption narrative is strong for us.”
They debuted in the early ’80s with Grammy-winning songs like ” Mom, he’s crazy ‘ and ‘Why Not Me’ changed her life in the blink of an eye and fans identified with her down-to-earth charm and background.
“Before hair extensions and veneers and shiny, pretty dresses that are new, we were two girls from eastern Kentucky who knew nothing about show business,” said Wynonna Judd. “And I think they got to know us when we were the rawest. And when you’re so new to the scene and so naive, I think they saw the vulnerability in me. I was 17.5 years old when we signed with RCA. It was like winning the lottery.”
Unfortunately, the duo’s career was cut short when Naomi Judd retired in the early ’90s due to her hepatitis C infection Country Music Hall of Fame. Wynonna Judd said fans have become nostalgic for music that brings back fond memories.
“I think people want something real. I think they want something to remember,” said Wynonna Judd. “I’m going back in time because we want something to remind us that there’s still hope.” Love can build a bridge reminds us that love can build a bridge. And they believe us when we sing it together because we are mother and daughter. And even through our dysfunction, there’s a sense of unity between two very different women.”
In the months since her mother’s death, Wynonna Judd has reached out and sought help, but also taken time to be alone with her grief. This includes hanging out with her pet pigs and more than two dozen cats who live with her.
“I often do things that make me feel alive, and then I call my grief counselor and I’m like, ‘I’m really struggling today to understand how she was able to leave me even though she knew this tour was happening and she’s not here to help me with this tour.’ And we’re going to talk about that,” Judd said. “So reaching out is absolutely critical, and I’m better at it now than I used to be because I come from the martyr background of ‘I’m fine.’ And I no longer agree with that. And so I have my people to turn to.”
__ For more on AP’s interviews with the Judd sisters, see: http://apne.ws/1WJxsfQ
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https://www.local10.com/entertainment/2022/09/30/judd-sisters-on-mom-naomi-redemption-advocacy-and-grief/ Judd Sisters on Mother Naomi, redemption, intercession and grief