Naomi Judd was the proud mother of two daughters, Ashley Judd, 54, and Wynonna Judd, 57, throughout her 76 years of life. They expressed their sadness about the country singer’s shocking death when they released a statement on April 30, announcing the “tragedy.”
“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness,” the statement said, according to the Associated Press. “We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public. We are in unknown territory.”
Before her death, Naomi would often talk about her relationships with Ashley and Wynonna in interviews, and admitted things were sometimes complicated between them. “Wynonna and I make each other so emotional it’s not healthy,” Naomi told People in 2016 about her connection with Wynonna. “We are so empathic, we can look at each other and absolutely fall in each other’s arms crying without saying a word. We scare each other because we can go so deep.”
Naomi’s relationship with Ashley was put in a rocky spotlight in 2011 when the latter released a memoir about her life and mentioned alleged abuse from Naomi in some of the pages. “I was as honest as I could be with what I knew, but I’m a different person now,” Naomi once said about Ashley’s claims, during an interview on The View.
Find out more about Ashley and Wynonna and the complicated yet close bond they shared with Naomi below.
Wynonna is Naomi’s oldest daughter and was born with the name Christina Claire Ciminella. The late star welcomed her with ex Charles Jordan in May 1964, and gave her the last name of Michael Ciminella, whom she married in that same year after being abandoned by Charles. Like her mother, Wynonna took an interest in country music at a young age and the family moved to Nashville, TN to pursue a music career in 1979, which is what led to her own successful music career.
It was during this time that Naomi changed her name from Diana, and Wynonna followed suit by changed her name after the town Winona, AZ, which was mentioned in the 1946 song “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66.” The mother and daughter started a musical duo called The Judds and were signed to RCA Records in 1983. They went on to release seven album and 26 singles, including 14 that went to number one.
After disbanding in 1991, Wynonna started her successful solo career and as of April 2022, she’s released eight albums and other special live and holiday albums. Several of her songs have also reached number one, including “She Is His Only Need”, “I Saw the Light,” and “No One Else on Earth”.
In her personal life, Wynonna has been married three times and shares two children, Grace and Elijah, with her first husband Arch Kelley III. In 2012, she married her third husband, Cactus Moser.
Wynonna and Naomi were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame for their work in The Judds in 2021.
Ashley is Naomi’s second and youngest daughter, whom she shares with her first husband, Michael. She was born in April 1968 before Naomi and her older sister Wynonna started their musical duo The Judds and made it big in the music industry. Naomi and Michael were married from 1964 until 1972 and Ashley grew up in both Kentucky, where Naomi grew up, and Tennessee after the divorce. She went on to attend and graduate from the University of Kentucky, where she studied French, anthropology, art history, theater, and women’s studies, and tried modeling before moving to Hollywood to pursue acting.
Ashley has appeared in a long list of films and TV series, including Ruby in Paradise, Heat, Double Jeopardy, Where the Heart Is, Divergent, and Barry, over the years, and is a highly recognized actress in the entertainment industry. She was also nominated for an Emmy Award for her role in the 2012 television series Missing.
When she’s not acting, she’s focusing on humanitarian work. The talented star has taken part in issues such as gender equality, sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls, and illness and poverty in other countries such as Cambodia, Kenya, and Rwanda. She’s also taken part in political campaigns as a political activist.
Ashley was married once to Dario Franchitti from 2001 until 2013.