Naomi Judd shot herself with a gun a day before she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, her heartbroken daughter has revealed.
The singer killed herself with the firearm at her Tennessee farm on April 30 aged 76 after battling her mental health, Ashley told Good Morning America on Thursday.
Ashley choked back tears as she drip-fed more details about the iconic singer’s suicide last month in her first television interview on the tragedy.
She and her sister Wynonna – who performed with Naomi for years in The Judds – first open up about her death at the Country Music Hall of Fame ceremony on May 1.
Meanwhile widowed husband Larry Strickland released a short statement asking for privacy, adding they were going through a ‘heartbreaking time’.
Country Music Hall of Famer Naomi Judd (right) killed herself with a gun, her daughter has revealed. Naomi is picture wither her daughters Wynonna (left) and Ashley (center)
‘She used a weapon…a firearm,’ heartbroken Ashley Judd shared in an interview with Good Morning America. ‘So that’s the piece of information we’re very uncomfortable sharing’
Ashley told GMA: ‘I appreciate so deeply and really want to start by thanking everyone for their outpouring of love and condolences and that my sister and I, we have a depth of gratitude.
‘I’m here as an individual sitting with you by myself, but both my sister and Pop have sort of deputized me in certain ways to speak on behalf of the family at this early time – before things about the 30th of April become public without our control.
‘She used a weapon…a firearm,’ heartbroken Ashley revealed. ‘So, that’s the piece of information we’re very uncomfortable sharing.’ .
Ashley, who was visiting Naomi’s Tennessee home on the day she died, also detailed her last moments with her mother.
‘It was a mixed day,’ Ashley said. ‘I was at the house visiting, as I am every day, and mom said to me ‘will you stay with me?’ and I said: ‘Of course I will.’
The actress stepped outside to greet a family friend. When she went to notify her mother that their guest had arrived, she found her dead.
‘I went upstairs to let her know that the friend was there and I discovered her,’ Ashley shared. ‘I have both grief and trauma from discovering her.’
The actress, sharing the details of her mother’s death before the release of her autopsy report, reiterated that Naomi was ‘entitled to her dignity and her privacy’ and they will not be disclosing anything else.
Ashley discovered Naomi shortly after she killed herself. The singer died at her home in Franklin, Tennessee (pictured) on April 30
Wynonna Judd and Naomi Judd are pictured at the 2022 CMT Awards on April 11
Naomi took her own life the day before she and Wynonna were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
‘Our mother couldn’t hang on until she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by her peers,’ Ashley shared in the GMA interview, which aired Thursday.
‘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 the disease told her was so convincing.’
Despite the family’s immense grief, Wynonna attended the induction ceremony on May 1.
‘I didn’t prepare anything tonight because I knew Mom would probably talk the most,’ Wynonna told the audience attending the Nashville ceremony.
‘I’m gonna make this fast, because my heart’s broken, and I feel so blessed. It’s a very strange dynamic, to be this broken and this blessed…. Though my heart’s broken, I will continue to sing, because that’s what we do.’
‘I went upstairs to let her know that the friend was there and I discovered her,’ Ashley shared. ‘I have both grief and trauma from discovering her’
Naomi Judd is pictured with her daughters, Wynonna and Ashley in an undated photograph
Naomi struggled with her mental health for many years, having previously admitted to undergoing electro-shock therapy and considering suicide in recent years.
‘Mom was a brilliant conversationalist. She was a star, an underrated songwriter, and she was someone who suffered from mental illness, who had trouble getting off the sofa,’ Ashley shared.
The actress explained that while she was worried about her mother, she remained appreciative of the good moments they shared.
‘I really accepted the love my mother was capable of giving me because I knew she was fragile,’ Ashley said.
‘I savored those moments and 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 would be gone, whether it was sooner or whether it was later, whether it was by the disease or another cause.’
Ashley also described what it’s like to love someone struggling with mental illness.
‘Her brain hurt. It physically hurt,’ she said of Naomi, noting how her mother was often trying to combat the ‘lies’ she heard in her head.
‘That you’re not enough, that you’re not loved. That you’re not worthy.’
‘When you’re talking about mental illness, it’s important to make the distinction between the loved one and the disease,’ Ashley said. ‘My mother knew that she was seen and she was heard in her anguish and she was walked home.’
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones. For confidential help, call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or click here.