"When we're talking about mental illness, it's very important to be clear and to make the distinction between our loved one and the disease. It's very real … it lies, it's savage," said Ashley about her mom's illness.
Trigger Warning: This story contains details of suicide that readers may find disturbing
Singer Naomi Judd's untimely demise in April came as a shock to all her fans. Now her daughter, Ashley, is opening up about the cause of her death. During an emotional interview on Good Morning America, the 54-year-old actress told Diane Sawyer that her mom "used a weapon" which ultimately caused her death.
"Because we don't want it to be part of the gossip economy I will share with you that she used a weapon; my mother used a firearm," said Ashley of Naomi's death by suicide. "So that's the piece of information 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’s family just revealed that she died by gun suicide.— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) May 12, 2022
Tragically, two-thirds of all gun deaths in the U.S. are suicides, resulting in an average of 64 deaths per day. Over the past decade, the U.S. firearm suicide rate has increased by 13%. https://t.co/oBkYOQEGSB
She added that Naomi, who was 76 at the time of her death, "was seen and she was heard in her anguish, and she was walked homed." She continued, "When we're talking about mental illness, it's very important to be clear and to make the distinction between our loved one and the disease. It's very real … it lies, it's savage."
The country legend's death happened just a day before her family's induction into the Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame "I'm gonna make this fast because my heart's broken — and I feel so blessed, I mean, it's a very strange dynamic to be this broken and this blessed," said Wynonna Judd who alongside her sister Ashley attended the ceremony to accept the honor.
Meanwhile Ashley told Sawyer during Thursday's interview, "Our mother couldn't hang on until she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by her peers. That is the level of catastrophe of what was going on inside of her, because the barrier between the regard in which they held her couldn't penetrate into her heart, and the lie that the disease told her was so convincing."
In honor of Naomi's life, CMT and Sandbox Entertainment announced that they would be teaming up with the Judd family to air a live event: Naomi Judd: A River of Time Celebration.
"We are sincerely privileged to work alongside Wynonna, Ashley and Larry to present this live celebration of life for their mother and wife Naomi. While we all continue to deeply mourn the loss of such a legendary artist, we are honored to commemorate her legacy alongside the country community, her friends, family and legions of fans across the world at the perfect venue: The Mother Church of Country Music," read the statement of the CMT Producers.
"This special will celebrate her timeless voice, unforgettable spirit and the immense impact she left on our genre through the best form of healing we have — music," they added.
Disclaimer: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is, please contact The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
Cover image source: Getty | Photo by Michael Loccisano