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Wynonna Judd Felt Mom Dampened Her Chance to Date Husband – They Made a Family Decades Later

Junie Sihlangu
May 05, 2022
01:00 P.M.
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Wynonna Judd couldn't date a man she was interested in because of her mother, Naomi Judd's, presence. Little did Wynonna know that fate would play a hand in her future with that man.


In Noami Judd's book, "River of Time," she revealed how she raised her daughters, Wynonna and Ashley Judd, as a single parent. She recalled how she struggled to make money to take care of her children. 

The trio would move around and live in hotel rooms filled with roaches, dilapidated apartments, rented drafty houses, and broken down cabins. 


Naomi was abandoned by her boyfriend and Wynonna's father, Charles Jordan when she gave birth at age 18 in 1964. Ashely was welcomed in 1968, while Naomi was married to Michael Ciminella.

However, the couple's relationship was troubled and eventually ended after four years, leading the girl's mother to raise them independently. Being a single parent meant Naomi had to help her daughters with homework after school.


The singer would do laundry, use food stamps to buy groceries, return to their one-bedroom apartment to feed the children, and put them to bed before going back to her waitressing job. She knocked off at 2 a.m. and started the same cycle again four hours later. 

Naomi's life finally changed when she started a music career with Wynonna. The change led them out of poverty and straight into the spotlight, and Wynnona met men she would fall in love with and marry.


Naomi and Wynonna Judd singing in concert in 1990. | Source: Ron Wolfson/Getty Images


After starting their musical careers in the 1980s, Wynonna and Naomi's country music stardom catapulted in 1983. The single that got them recognition was "Had a Dream (for the Heart)," and then they topped the charts with their first album, "Why Not Me," a year later. 

The duo's popularity was growing in leaps and bounds from that point onward. While Wynonna was touring with her mother in 1989, she met her future husband, Michael Scott "Cactus" Moser, who happened to be on tour with them.

Wynonna Judd, Arch Kelley, and Elijah Kelley seen at the Los Angeles International Airport on June 21, 1995. | Source: Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images


Wynonna confessed that she was "smitten" with him but couldn't ask for a date because her mother was around. The songstress and Moser were eventually forced to go their separate ways after the tour. 

Wynonna ended up getting married to Arch Kelley III and welcomed two children, daughter Grace, and son Elijah. Sadly, their marriage concluded after two years in 1998, and they divorced a year later, with the vocalist reflecting:

"I don't care how much you don't care for someone, it's a death, it's a somewhat of a feeling of failure."

Wynonna said her first divorce proceedings didn't leave her feeling good or fabulous about herself when she left the lawyer's office. However, she was destined to meet and fall in love with another man who she would marry.



Wynonna Judd and D.R. Roach at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards on February 6, 2004. | Source: Ron Wolfson/WireImage/Getty Images

Wynonna gave marriage another go when she tied the knot with her longtime bodyguard, Daniel R. Roach, in 2003. The couple kept their marriage going by attending couples counseling sessions and doing workshops. 


The singer and her husband learned how to say what they felt and confront each other about issues. They learned how not to shame or blame one another and say precisely what they were upset about so they could be set free.

Wynonna Judd during the PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300 on September 9, 2007, in Joliet, Illinois. | Source: Jamie Squire/Getty Images


During their marriage, Wynonna and Roach considered having children. The vocalist's daughter once mentioned that she'd like a black brother or sister because her mother's backup singers were the race she was exposed to, and Wynonna thought she might adopt but didn't.

On March 22, 2007, Roach was arrested in Texas for attempted sexual assault of a minor. Five days later, Wynonna filed for divorce from him and cited irreconcilable differences.

Wynonna Judd performs A Christmas Classic live on November 26, 2007, in Hollywood, Florida. | Source: Jeff Daly/FilmMagic/Getty Images


Speaking to People magazine in August 2007, Wynonna revealed that her first response to the news about Roach was to go into mother mode to protect her children. She kicked him out of their home within the first hour of her arrival and set firm boundaries. 

The singer, however, explained that she knew what she was getting into when she married Roach. She knew they both had addiction issues but thought she could change him if she loved him enough. 

Wynonna Judd at the world premiere of Cirque du Soleil's "Viva ELVIS" production on February 19, 2010, in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images


During her 2010 appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," Wynonna shared how she'd aired her dirty laundry because she wanted to teach others. She wanted people to learn from her mistakes and victories and revealed how she'd felt about Roach, stating:

"I trusted him with my life, and I didn't want to stop trusting [people]. It's a little tough because once burned, forever fears the fire."

Wynonna Judd performs at Kenny Rogers: The First 50 Years on April 10, 2010, in Ledyard, Connecticut. | Source: Rahav Segev/WireImage/Getty Images


The star explained that there was more to the story about her ex-husband, but she couldn't talk about it because of the minor involved. Wynonna shared how she felt betrayed by her ex-husband. 

She thought of handling the situation by writing "man-hater songs" and making jokes about the whole thing. The songstress found the strength to pass the trial by focusing on what was best for her children and herself. 



Things in Wynonna's life seemed to be getting better when she and Moser's paths crossed, and they started dating in 2009 after having kept in touch. Their relationship finally led to marriage in 2012 on the singer's Leiper's Fork, Tennessee farm.

The private country wedding event was held in the summer. Then tragedy struck on August 18, 2012, a few months after the couple's marriage, when Moser was involved in a motorcycle accident that almost took his life.


Sadly, the drummer had to have his left leg amputated soon after the crash. A week after the incident, Wynonna released a statement sharing how her husband was improving daily and was starting rehabilitation.

Fifteen months after the accident, Moser was back on the road again! He said having a life was "the most exciting gift every single day" and shared how he couldn't wait to start going to gigs. 



Elijah, Wynonna's first child, proposed on December 22, 2017, to his longtime girlfriend of seven years. He proposed by presenting the love of his life, Hailey, with an engagement ring on bended knee.

Glowing cubes laid out outside during the night proposal spelled out "Marry Me?" Wynonna, Moser, and other family members were there to celebrate the special occasion with the happy couple, with the songstress writing on Instagram:

"I am one proud Mama! Merry Christmas indeed!!!"


While Elijah appeared to have his life on track, his sister, Grace, struggled with the law. On December 18, 2015, Wynonna's daughter, Grace, was arrested in Nashville's Walgreens store parking lot. 

She [Wynonna Judd] kept her humor intact sharing how she hadn't prepared much because she assumed her mother [Naomi Judd] was going to do all the talking.

Wynonna Judd and daughter Grace Kelley backstage at "Little Women" on Broadway on March 23, 2005. | Source: Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic/Getty Images


She and an accomplice were arrested after the police found them with ingredients typically used to make meth. The singer's daughter got off lightly when she pled guilty to the lesser charge of possession.

On February 20, 2017, Grace was arrested for the third time for running away from the law. The following year she was sentenced to eight years after ditching the drug recovery program she had been required to attend in November 2017.



Grace wasn't the only daughter struggling in life as her mother became estranged from Naomi. During a 2016 "Good Morning America" interview, Wynonna's mother revealed that they were "on a break from each other" and "estranged."   

In her book, Naomi also shared how she only found out about Wynonna's wedding to Moser in June 2012 through People magazine. She and Ashley were both not invited to the ceremony. 


Wynonna and her mother had reunited for a brief tour and recently announced another one that would start in the fall of 2022. In March 2022, the mother and daughter also performed on television for the first time in years at the CMT Music Awards.

Sadly, on April 30, 2022, Naomi died by suicide at age 76, a day before she and Wynonna were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Naomi's daughters attended the induction ceremony.


A tearful Ashley told the crowd that her mother had loved them a lot; the actress said she was sorry "she couldn't hang on until today." The siblings broke down in tears as they publicly mourned their late mother.

They cited the Psalm 23 Bible verse, and Wynonna said, "Though my heart is broken, I will continue to sing." She kept her humor intact, sharing how she hadn't prepared much because she assumed her mother would do all the talking. 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at

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