An emotional Ashley Judd revealed in an interview Thursday that her mother, country superstar Naomi Judd, died of a self-inflicted firearm wound on April 30.
“She used a weapon … my mother used a firearm,” Ashley told “Good Morning America” on Thursday morning. “So that’s the piece of information that we are very uncomfortable sharing, but understand that we’re in a position that if we don’t say it someone else is going to.”
Naomi Judd, 76, was just a day away from being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame when she took her own life after years of battling mental illness.
“When we’re talking about mental illness, it’s very important to be clear and make the distinction between our loved one and the disease,” Ashley told Diane Sawyer. “It’s very real. It lies, it’s savage.
“My mother, our mother, couldn’t hang on until she was inducted into the Country Hall of Fame by her peers. I mean, that is the level of catastrophe of what was going on inside of her.”
Ashley said that she was speaking on behalf of her family, choosing to tell the story of Naomi’s death themselves before the details are released elsewhere and “become public without our control.” Without that impetus, she said, “it’s obviously way too soon.”
Naomi Judd and daughter Wynonna Judd performed together as the Grammy winning country duo, The Judds, releasing six albums together over eight years.
“I’ve thought about this so much, because once I say it, it cannot be unsaid,” Ashley said of the disclosure about the manner of her mother’s death. She added that she hopes other details will remain private.
“My mother is entitled to her dignity and privacy, and so there are some things that we would just like to retain as a family,” she said.
She went on to urge anyone who is suffering from depression or thinking about suicide to reach out for help.
“I want to be very careful when we talk about this today that anyone who is having those ideas or those impulses, to talk to someone, to share, to be open, to be vulnerable,” she said. “There is a national suicide hotline.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide or struggling with mental health issues, help is available. Here are some resources:
Crisis Text Line — Free 24/7 support for anyone in crisis. Text “Brave” to 741-741.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline — Free 24/7 support for anyone in suicidal crisis. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org