Getty Images | YouTube.com/Good Morning America
Source: Getty Images | YouTube.com/Good Morning America

Naomi Judd Used 'A Weapon' to End Her Life after Years of Battling 'Mental Illness,' Her Daughter Reveals

Junie Sihlangu
May 13, 2022
03:20 P.M.
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According to Naomi Judd's daughter, Ashley Judd, the songstress sadly passed away in 2022 by using something that has been a debate amongst many Americans. The real killer, however, was Naomi's lifelong illness. 

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Depression is one of those diseases that work in stealth mode where its effects aren't readily visible to everyone. According to Naomi Judd's 2017 NBC News piece, while diabetes is a disease of the pancreas, depression, is a disease of the brain.

The iconic vocalist also noted how heart disease was an ailment of the heart. Naomi explained in her article that her brain didn't make the chemicals that are supposed to make her happy like in other people.

Naomi and Wynonna Judd perform "Mama, He's Crazy" at the 5th Annual TV Land Awards on April 14, 2007. | Source: Lester Cohen/WireImage/Getty Images

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The star said she had to use medication to get that natural effect and for her to have a chance at life. Naomi revealed how she had positive conversations with herself in front of the mirror, saying:

"I'm Naomi freaking Judd. I got this."

She even wrote the words out and taped them against the mirror for more encouragement. However, because the problem was her brain and how she was thinking and living daily, she couldn't easily pull off the positive mantras.

HOW IT ALL STARTED FOR NAOMI - THE REASONS FOR HER AILMENT

Naomi Judd visits the SiriusXM Studios on December 8, 2017, in New York City. | Source: Cindy Ord/Getty Images

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How did Naomi end up having to struggle with depression on a daily? The answer lies in her background, according to her 2017 piece, where she confessed that she'd lived a traumatic life.

The singer explained how she'd lived without emotional or financial support when she was younger. Naomi said she had no one to watch out for her or be her mentor, and she just never dealt with the things that happened to her.

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Not dealing with any hard stuff meant it had to come out somehow, and it did; "sideways." Her issues manifested themselves as anxiety and depression; however, the star did admit that it also had to go with genetics.

Naomi revealed how depression was "partly genetic." She explained how the gene ran on both sides of her family; her mother and father's side all faced this illusive brain defect.

JUDD STRUGGLED WITH DEPRESSION AND TRIED HELPING OTHER SUFFERERS

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In December 2017, the star appeared on "Megyn Kelly Today" to open up about her brave battle with depression. Naomi was diagnosed with severe treatment-resistant depression and anxiety before doctors tried various drugs to help her. 

The musician found some relief by traveling the country, openly talking about her battle with the disease, and motivating others. However, her struggle was dark, deep, and felt like a hole she "couldn't get out" from.

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The star would become inert, leaving her stuck on the couch for around two years. Naomi had days when she couldn't eat much or would go without brushing her teeth, and her girlfriends would try to rescue her.

They'd beg the singer to come out with them for lunch, pedicures, or anything else. When they tried to fetch her, Naomi would lock her door and hide behind her curtains. 

Naomi Judd attends the Pet Hero Awards on October 7, 2016, in New York City. | Source: Mike Pont/Getty Images

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In 2016, she told People magazine how she'd tried breaking out of the depression by going out to Bed Bath & Beyond and Kroger to be normal and smile at people. However, they stared at her, and sometimes this hurt her feelings, adding:

“Nobody can understand it unless you’ve been there."

NAOMI'S HUSBAND, LARRY, KNEW EVERYTHING SHE STRUGGLED WITH

Larry Strickland and Naomi Judd at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards on February 6, 2004. | Source: R. Diamond/WireImage/Getty Images

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In November 2013, Naomi told Closer Weekly that she had a successful marriage with her husband, Larry Strickland, despite her ailment. She seemed different as she spoke about their secret to a happy and long-lasting marriage —separate bathrooms!

The singer also mentioned how having "common backgrounds" strengthened their connection. The Grammy Award-winning star said she and Strickland came from blue-collar families of six.

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Her husband grew up working in tobacco fields every summer, and Naomi's father taught her about having a hard work ethic while running a gas station. She described her husband as one of the most humble people she'd ever met. 

The pair lived normal lives on their farm. In 2008, Naomi and Strickland had been married for 27 years, and when asked what their other secret was to a happy marriage, she jokingly revealed "a snore guard!"

Larry Strickland and Naomi Judd during the 32nd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Universal City, California, on April 23, 1997. | Source: Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection/Images

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The singer explained that was the gift her husband had once gotten for her for Valentine's Day. He bought the snore guard for himself, and although it wasn't a very romantic gesture, she loved it!

So it came as no surprise when Naomi shared that Strickland knew she had severe depression and was devastated by the diagnosis. He even offered to get her professional help because she didn't know what to do. 

DEATH BY "MENTAL ILLNESS"

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Sadly on April 30, 2022, Naomi's daughter, Ashley Judd, had the heartbreaking task of announcing her mother's death. In a Twitter post, the actress shared how she and her sister, Wynonna Judd, had suffered a tragedy, writing:

"We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness. We are shattered."

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Ashley shared how she and Wynonna were now navigating a life filled with immense grief. She acknowledged how as much as they'd loved her, the public also felt the same. 

The actress [Ashley Judd] said depression lied and told her mother [Naomi Judd] she wasn't loved, worthy, or enough.

The actress concluded her post by noting how they and the fans were now in "unknown territory." Naomi was 76 when she passed and just a day away from being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on May 1, 2022.

THE CAUSE OF NAOMI'S DEATH, AS REVEALED BY ASHLEY

Naomi and Ashley Judd at the screening of the film "The Idenitical" at the Nashville Film Festival on April 26, 2014, in Nashville, Tennessee. | Source: Beth Gwinn/Getty Images

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On May 12, 2022, Ashley had an interview with "Good Morning America" at her Tennesee home, where she opened up about the grief her family was going through. The actress began by thanking everyone for their condolences and love during this difficult time.

She explained that she was representing her family and speaking up about her mother's death because they wanted to control the narrative. The emotional star shared how Naomi had known that she was heard and seen in her anguish.

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Ashley noted how depression lied and was savage in its ways. She shared how her mother failed to hang on until her induction because of how catastrophic the battle Naomi was fighting was.

The actress said her mother falsely thought she wasn't loved, worthy, or enough. With tears in her eyes, Ashley uncomfortably revealed how Naomi had used a weapon, a firearm, to end her life.

Another thing that the star shared was who found her mother's body. The actress revealed that she had the unfortunate and traumatic task of walking in after the deed was done.

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

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