'She was getting weak': Larry Strickland reveals wife Naomi Judd's 'very chaotic and hectic' final months
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE: Larry Strickland revealed new insight into late wife Naomi Judd's final months before she died by suicide in April, one day before she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. While pondering on his late wife's death, the 76-year-old gospel singer revealed that she was seeing "several therapists" and that "her energy level had gotten really low."
"It was a very chaotic, hectic, hectic time," Strickland, 76, told People on December 14. "It was extremely hard. She had several therapists that she was seeing, and her energy level had gotten really low. She was getting really weak." In his efforts to assist Naomi, Strickland acknowledged that he "might have overdone it." “I was trying to get her to eat. I was trying to get her to exercise. I handled her medications and had to make sure she had what she needed. I was trying every way I could," he recalled.
Inside Naomi Judd and Larry Strickland's 33-year marriage as late singer leaves him $25M fortune
Wynnona Judd 'upset' as mom Naomi Judd CUT Ashley Judd and her from $25M will: 'I contributed to her success'
The former Elvis Presley backup vocalist admitted that he now regrets how he handled Naomi's difficulties with his mental health. “If I had known where she was, I would’ve been much softer on her,” he admitted. “I would’ve been gentler and more understanding instead of tired and exhausted because it was wearing me out, too.” Strickland elaborated, “To know now that she was contemplating [suicide], I look back and just wish I had been holding her and comforting her instead of pushing her. I don’t know if that would’ve helped, but it certainly wouldn’t have hurt.”
In addition, Strickland stated that he had been by Naomi's side "24/7... for the past 13 years or more" as his worries for her welfare grew. "For the past 13 years or more, I was with her 24/7," Strickland says. "I never left the house without Naomi knowing where I was going and when I would be back. As far as taking care of myself, I'm not sure that fits my situation. When you have a mate that has a mental illness, you walk that path with them."
In order to get over his ongoing grief over his 33-year marriage, Strickland has been able to rely on Naomi's well-known children, country singer Wynonna Judd, and actress Ashley Judd. “We need each other so much to cling to, and the comfort of our relationship,” he said of Wynonna, 58, and Ashley, 54. “We have to have that.”
Another form of healing for Strickland has been talking about his own mental health journey on The Check-In, a Lifting Lives web series produced by the Academy of Country Music. The platform includes interviews with renowned country music performers regarding their recent psychological and emotional issues, as well as how they overcame them. "I was used to staying in the background," he says. "But after going through what our family's gone through — the tragedy, the trauma — it changes you."