Ashley Judd Opens Up About Her Grief, How She Remembers Late Mom Naomi Judd

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Ashley Judd shared a vulnerable conversation with Anderson Cooper about her experience with grief and how she still feel’s her late mother’s presence in her life. Judd — and actress, activist and mental health advocate — appeared in the latest episode of All There Is with Anderson Cooper on Wednesday (January 10), reflecting on the loss of her mother, beloved country star Naomi Judd in 2022.

Naomi, one-half of iconic mother-daughter duo The Judds with daughter Wynonna Judd, died unexpectedly on April 30, 2022, one day before The Judds were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. She was 76. She would have turned 78 on Thursday (January 11). Judd and her sister announced in a statement at that time that they’d “lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness.” Judd has since opened up about the loss and more, including in an interview on Good Morning America and in a guest op-ed in the New York Times.

“When I would go to their house, I always went around the side of the house to the back porch, and I never had on shoes,” Judd, who still grieves the loss of her mother in different ways, said in an emotional moment during the podcast interview, speaking to how she chooses to remember her mother. “And the side of the house and the backer walls, floor to ceiling glass. And she would be on her sofa where she stayed because of the depression. But when she saw me, she would get up. Invariably, she got up no matter how sick she was. And she would light up. And she would come to the back door and open it, and she would exclaim, ‘there's my darling, there's my girl, there's my baby!’ And that's how I see my mom.”

Judd also shared advice to grieving those who may be suffering with mental illness. She said in the podcast interview that”there’s always help and hope for friends and families, and we have the right to lead our own lives with dignity and wellness and pleasure. And we're not betraying our loved ones. By pursuing a good life for ourselves when they are sick and suffering. You know, my mother took so much pleasure and the goodness of my life, and she was so tremendously proud of me. And my social activism, my advocacy, my voice. It gave her so much delight.

“I am responsible for my own life,” Judd continued. “And if that means I'm responsible for my own life, it also means that other adults are responsible for their own lives, and I can walk beside them, but I can't get inside their skin and live it and do it for them. And I can have compassion and say. I see you, I hear you. Is there something I can do to support you right now? But understand that that support should not go so far as enabling them, you know, to love them, but not do for them what they can and should do for themselves.”

If you or someone you know is considering suicide or is in emotional distress, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to