Who Is Wynonna Judd's Biological Father?
The Judd family has been in the public eye for many years, and their tragedies continue to attract a lot of attention. One grave misfortune was the discovery of a family secret.
Ashley Judd's mother, country singer Naomi Judd, died in April 2022 after taking her own life. The actress shared the tragic news with the public via her Instagram account.
She also went to ABC News to talk about the death of her mom with Diane Sawyer. Ashley read aloud a letter from her sister Wynonna who was not yet ready to speak publicly about their mom's death.
WHO IS CHARLES JORDAN?
While the sisters have the same mother, they learned much later in life that they have different fathers. It turned out that the man Wynonna thought was her dad for almost her entire life, Michael Ciminella, was, in fact, not biologically related to her at all.
Her biological dad was a man named Charles Jordan, an ex-boyfriend who left an 18-year-old Naomi when she was pregnant with Wynonna. The singer only discovered this information in 1993 when she was pregnant with her son Elijah at 30 years old, whom she shares with ex-husband Arch Kelley.
Sadly, she never managed to meet her biological father as he passed away a month before their planned meeting.
TACKLING FAMILY DEMONS
Besides Elijah, Wynonna also has a daughter, Grace, but they've had a strained relationship throughout the years. At one point in 2013, Ashley gained temporary custody of Grace.
Ashley has opened up about incest and abuse in her tell-all memoir. The actress also spoke about her experience with depression.
Grace started using drugs as she got older and landed behind bars several times. In 2020, she was sentenced to eight years in prison for violating her probation for a previous drug-related case.
In 2021 she was released on parole on the condition that she takes part in substance abuse treatment and undergoes drug tests. A spokesperson for the Tennessee Board of Parole stated:
"The Board reached a final decision on April 22, 2021, recommending releasing her to parole supervision with post-release conditions."
Rather than shaming her daughter for her substance abuse, Wynonna publicly praised her for her strength and became passionate about criminal justice reform.
Like many others, the Judd family is plagued by demons: from suicide to drug abuse to family secrets. Ashley has opened up about incest and abuse in her tell-all memoir. The actress also spoke about her experience with depression.
On top of their inner turmoil, growing up under a single mother who was then paid a nurse's salary was challenging for the family. Before Naomi shot to fame, her children were said to have worn second-hand clothing and sometimes even gone without plumbing or electricity.
With the release of her book, Ashley has been able to find healing after using her memoir as a space for expression.
MUSIC IN HER VEINS
Wynonna also uses her art form to express herself and takes after her mother as a country singer. Through her melodies, she opens up about moments like finding out about her half-brother later in life. Music is how she processes her pain and connects with others. As she expressed:
"That's what country music is: stories about real life. I want to breathe life into the fans. I want to breathe life into people by singing from my toenails, that aching part of life and that joy part of life. And it's intertwined."
Ashley said that her mom felt that performing was like flying; she had a passion for music, just like her country artist daughter.
So, while Wynonna never connected with her biological father, she had a bond with her mom especially onstage, where they sang in harmony.
Wynonna and her late mom formed a musical duo, The Judds, and were signed with RCA Records. It marked the beginning of a musical career that her gifted mother inspired.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.
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