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Ashley Judd has come to better “understand” her late mother’s battle with mental illness in the months after Naomi Judd’s suicide.
The “Double Jeopardy” star said in a new podcast interview that she now knows that decisions or behaviors the country singer engaged in were caused by the disease and not by her kids.
“I look back on my childhood, and I realize I grew up with a mom who had an undiagnosed and untreated mental illness,” Ashley, 54, said on “Healing with David Kessler” Tuesday.
“And there are different behavioral expressions, interactions, flights of fancy, choices that she made that I understand were an expression of the disease, and I understand that and know that she was in pain and can today understand that she was absolutely doing the best she could, and if she could have done it differently, she would have.”
Naomi died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound on April 30 at age 76 after a years-long battle with depression. The “Someone Like You” actress and her sister, Wynonna Judd, initially announced that their mom had died from “the disease of mental illness.”
“We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public. We are in unknown territory,” they said in a joint statement at the time.
Ashley said in Tuesday’s podcast episode that her “most ardent wish” is that Naomi was “able to let go of any guilt or shame that she carried for any shortcomings she may have had” as a parent “when she transitioned.”
“Because certainly on my end, all was forgiven long ago,” she added.
Wynonna, 58, and her mother, who comprised the musical duo The Judds, were scheduled to be inducted into Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame the day after Naomi’s death. Instead, Wynonna and Ashley took the stage and tearfully thanked viewers for loving their mother.
“My mama loved you so much,” Ashley told the audience, “and I’m sorry that she couldn’t hang on until today.
“Your esteem for her and your regard for her really penetrated her heart,” she continued, “and it was your affection for her that did keep her going in the last years.”
If you or someone you know is affected by any of the issues raised in this story, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text Crisis Text Line at 741741.
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