Ashley Judd says mom Naomi shot herself moments after asking her to stay with her
Ashley was the first person to discover her mother and singer Naomi Judd dead
Trigger Warning: This article includes comments about suicide and depression
Ashley Judd shared an emotional interview with Diane Sawyer on 'Good Morning America' on Thursday, May 12, in which she disclosed that Naomi Judd killed herself with a pistol and that she discovered her mother during a regular visit to her Tennessee home. Judd said, “I would start with, my mother knew that she was seen and she was heard in her anguish, and … she was walked home. She was walked home.”
Her sister Wynonna Judd was not ready to speak publicly, according to Ashley, so her family had 'deputized' Ashley to speak about Naomi Judd's suicide. Judd said, “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 can’t be unsaid. And because I don’t want it to be part of the gossip economy, I will share with you that she used a weapon. Mother used a firearm. So that’s the piece of information that we are very uncomfortable sharing, but we understand … if we don’t say it, someone else is going to.”
Judd claimed she went to her mother's house every day when she was in Tennessee, including the day she died last month. She described the day as a ‘mixed day’ adding, “I visit with my mom and pop every day when I’m in Tennessee. … Mom said to me, ‘Will you stay with me?’ and I said ‘Of course, I will.'” According to Ashley, then after some time, someone arrived at the house, and Judd went upstairs to let Naomi know someone was there for her.
She explains, “I went upstairs to let her know the friend was there, and I discovered her. I have both grief and trauma from discovering her. 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.” Everyone close to Naomi was aware of her issues with mental health and severe depression, which the singer openly discussed while alive. She once wrote on PEOPLE, that her sickness did not react to treatment and that she would spend days and weeks in bed.
Ashley said to the GMA host, “I knew she was fragile. Every time we hugged, and she drank me in, I was very present for those tactile experiences because I knew there would come a time when she could be gone. Whether it was by the disease or another cause.” According to Ashley, her mother was deeply adored by her peers however but the seriousness of her disease outweighed any amount of love from the outside.
Meanwhile, Naomi Judd died in late April, just days before she and her daughter Wynonna were set to be honored as ‘The Judds’ in the ‘Country Music Hall of Fame.’ “When we’re talking about mental illness, it’s very important to make the distinction between our loved one and the disease. It lies. It’s savage. Our mother couldn’t hang on until she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by her peers. That was the level of catastrophe that was going no inside … the regard they had for her couldn’t penetrate her heart,” Ashley remarked.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).