Ashley Judd was choking back emotion in a new interview as she made her first public comments about the death of her mother, Naomi Judd.
Naomi, 76, took her own life on April 30, one day before she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame with her other daughter, Wynonna, as part of the legendary country music group The Judds.
Ashley Judd, an actress, spoke about her mother’s death and the mental illness that slowly conquered her during an interview that aired Thursday on “Good Morning America.”
“I’m tasked with an exceedingly difficult task in disclosing the manner of the way my mother chose not to continue to live. And I’ve thought about this so much because once I say it, it cannot be unsaid and so — because we don’t want it to be a part of the gossip economy — I will share with you that she used a weapon,” Ashley Judd said.
“Mother used a firearm, so that’s the piece of information that we are very uncomfortable sharing, but understand, we’re in a position that, if we don’t say it, someone else is going to.”
I really appreciate the way Ashley Judd is speaking about her mother’s mental illness and suicide. Wish more people would discuss the ways in which a person’s brain lies to them no matter what is going on outside of it.
— Ali (@wordninja_ali) May 12, 2022
Ashley Judd said her mother “knew that she was seen and she was heard in her anguish and that she was walked home. She was walked home.”
“When we’re talking about mental illness, it’s very important to be clear and to make the distinction between our loved one and the disease.
Should we focus more on our nation’s mental health system?
Yes: 96% (493 Votes)
No: 4% (23 Votes)
“It’s very real, and it is enough to — 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,” Ashley said.
She said the disease of mental illness warped how her mother viewed the world and how she viewed herself.
“That is the level of catastrophe of what was going on inside of her, because the barrier between the regard in which they held her couldn’t penetrate into her heart, and the lie that the disease told her was so convincing,” Ashley said.
She said the lie was “that you’re not enough, that you’re not loved. That you’re not worthy, and I mean her brain hurt. It physically hurt.”
Ashley recalled the day her mother died.
“It was a mixed day,” she said. “I visit with my mom and Pop every day when I’m home in Tennessee. So I was at the house visiting, as I am every day, and mom said to me: ‘Will you stay with me?’
“I said, ‘Of course I will,” Ashley Judd said.
She then went outside to greet visitors.
“I went upstairs to let her know that the friend was there, and I discovered her. I have both grief and trauma from discovering her,” Ashley said, drawing a curtain on the rest of her emotions.
“My mother is entitled to her dignity and her privacy, and so there are some things that we would just like to retain as a family,” she said.
We know that reaching out for help can be scary, but it’s one of the bravest things you can do. Learn what to expect when you call the Lifeline below & know that we’re here for you, 24/7/365 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). #MentalHealthMonth https://t.co/dAVJODTJNa
— The Lifeline (@800273TALK) May 12, 2022
Ashley Judd urged anyone who has thought about suicide to reach out for help.
“I want to be very careful when we talk about this today that for anyone who is having those ideas or those impulses, to talk to someone, to share, to be open, to be vulnerable. There is a national suicide hotline,” she said.