One of the most important people to Wynonna Judd was her mother, Naomi. Both women formed their iconic country music duo, The Judds, in the 1980s and went on to become one of the most highly regarded collaborations in the music industry. After her mom died in 2022, Wynonna — the host of the 2023 Christmas at the Opry — and her family have had to adjust to life without Naomi. Keep reading to learn more about Wynonna’s mom, Naomi, and their family dynamic.
How Many Kids Does Naomi Judd Have?
Naomi’s two daughters, Wynonna and Ashley Judd, both pursued careers in the entertainment business. Wynonna is known for her music, having recorded hit songs such as “I Saw the Light” and “No One Else on Earth.” Ashley, on the other hand, is an actress who is known for a variety of movies, such as Divergent, and has been nominated for an Emmy Award.
What Happened to Naomi Judd?
Naomi was found dead at 76 years old in April 2022 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. As her daughters later pointed out, the Country Music Hall of Fame member struggled with depression for a while.
“Today, we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness,” Ashley and Wynonna tweeted at the time. “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.”
During a subsequent interview with PEOPLE, Wynonna explained that she still struggled to come to terms with her mother’s death.
“I can’t quite wrap my head around it, and I don’t know that I ever will. That she left the way she did,” Wynonna noted. “That’s how baffling and cunning mental illness is. You have to make peace with the fact that you don’t know. Sometimes there are no answers.”
While recalling her mother’s strong-willed personality, Wynonna pointed out that Naomi “was always so determined. No matter what happened to her — being fired. Being forgotten. A single white female raising two babies by herself. On welfare and food stamps. She never gave up.”
Fortunately, Wynonna’s last words to her mother were “I love you,” she said during her interview, adding, “I’ve accepted [her death] as much as I possibly, humanly can. Acceptance and then surrender, and what comes after is finding meaning.”
Naomi Judd’s Health
Throughout her life, Naomi was open about her mental and physical health. The Grammy Award winner battled hepatitis C after she contracted the illness from a needle while she was working as a nurse prior to her singing career.
“When I was told I had Hepatitis C, I was on top of the world, selling out arenas,”she said, per The Daily Record. “Then, I was told I had three stinkin’ years to live.”
In 2014, Naomi opened up about the moment she found out she had beat the illness in an essay that she wrote for Everyday Health. “I remember being in a hotel in New York City with my actress daughter Ashley when I received the call,” she recalled. “When [the doctor] told me I was completely free of the virus, Ashley and I began to cry, and there was even a catch in his voice. Ashley and I walked down the street in New York City to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral where we thanked God for such a miraculous cure.”
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Wynonna is hosting NBC’s Christmas at the Opry special on December 7.