HOLLYWOOD—So many celebrities struggle with mental health, one of them was Naomi Judd, the iconic country star of the mother-daughter duo The Judds. She took her own life on April 30, following a longtime battle with mental illness at 76 years old, according to published reports. A rep for the late singer hasn’t commented. Naomi’s daughters, Ashley Judd and Wynonna Judd, announced their mother’s death in an emotional statement.
“Today we sisters experience a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness. We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public,” the statement read. “We are in unknown territory.” An additional statement from Naomi’s husband of 32 years, Larry Strickland reads: “Naomi Judd’s family request privacy during this heartbreaking time. No additional information will be released at this time.”
Naomi was a longtime advocate for mental wellness, and she wrote an open letter for Mental Health Awareness Week in 2018. The country musician had also been open about her mental health in her 2016 book, River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I emerged with Hope, revealing she had suffered from suicidal depression. Naomi once said, “Think of your very worst day of your whole life-someone passed away, you lost your job, you found out you were being betrayed, that your child had a rare disease-you can take all of those at once and put them together and that’s what depression feels like.”
The successful team were loved by everyone in the country music industry. Over the decades-long careers as the mother-daughter duo, The Judds, Naomi and 57-year-old Wynonna earned 14 chart-topping songs including “Mama He’s Crazy,” “Why Not Me,” “Turn It Loose,” “Change of Heart,” and “Let Me Tell You About Love.” They also earned five Grammys, nine CMA awards and seven ACM Awards.
The duo stopped performing back in 1991 when doctors diagnosed Naomi with hepatitis C, which she contracted while working as a nurse. The pair had just appeared on the CMT Music Awards show stage earlier this month, where they made their first televised appearance in 20 years. They were accompanied by a choir of gospel singers, the duo belted out their 1990 hit “Love Can Build a Bridge” and came together at the end for a touching family moment. They had also recently announced their first tour in over a decade, titled The Final Tour. The 10-date arena tour, which was nearly sold-out, was set to kick off on September 30 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and would conclude in Nashville on October 28.
Truly sad that the Judds were also set to celebrate their induction into Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame on May 1. The day after her passing, Wynonna attended the ceremony to accept the honor and gave a tearful but composed speech. In her speech she said, “I’m gonna make this fast because my heart’s broken- and I feel so blessed,” Wynonna told the 800 people that gathered in Nashville’s CMA Theater for the Country Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony. “I mean, it’s a very strange dynamic to be this broken and this blessed.” A week before Mother’s Day, I truly feel for the sisters and the family. Please remember you can turn to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1800-273-8255 or go to.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
One of the biggest stars at country music’s biggest festival had quite the weekend. Carrie Underwood paid tribute to Naomi Judd at the Stagecoach Festival held in Indio, California. The former “American Idol” winner also brought out a special guest. Guns N’ Roses front-man Axl Rose, and the pair rocked out to his band’s hits “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “Paradise City.” Underwood is a huge fan of Guns N’ Roses.
Rose’s Scoop: Wishing everyone a very Happy Mother’s Day! Stay safe and blessed!