Just one week after the tragic death of Naomi Judd, Ashley Judd paid tribute to her mom in USA Today. Ashley wrote about how her mother’s teenage pregnancy led Naomi down a road that included “poverty and gender-based violence.” Ashley wrote that, while she was grieving Naomi, she also felt “incandescent rage” because her mother’s death was ultimately caused “by the wounds she carried from a lifetime of injustices that started when she was a girl.” The “Divergent” star wrote that her mother “experienced an unintended pregnancy at age 17,” and urged readers to honor Naomi by making “motherhood safe and healthy for all women.”
The Judd family matriarch was open about her struggle with severe depression and childhood sexual abuse. Naomi was an ambassador for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), writing a book about her mental health struggles in 2016. Naomi also took to Instagram to encourage others to speak out. “Only by telling the truth will we stop the stigma,” she wrote. “I’ve told my story. And now you can tell yours. You are not alone.”
In a 2020 interview on Candy O’Terry’s “Country Music Success Stories” podcast, the country star shared that she got pregnant with eldest daughter Wynonna the first time she had sex. Naomi said when she called the father to say she was pregnant, she never heard from him again, via the New York Post. Ashley subsequently emphasized the need for reproductive choice and how even her successful mother struggled with this lack of freedom as a young woman.