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Who Is Wynonna Judd's Biological Father?

Dayna Remus
May 13, 2022
11:15 A.M.
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The Judd family has been in the public eye for many years now. So, their tragedies continue to produce high levels of attention. One deep misfortune is the discovery of a painstaking lie.

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Well-known actress Ashley Judd's mother, died earlier this year after taking her own life. At the time, Ashley chose to step forward and share the tragic news with the public via her Instagram. 

She took to ABC News to talk about the death of her mom Naomi with Diane Sawyer. Ashley brought a letter from her sister Wynonna Judd who felt she did not have the wherewithal to speak publically about their mom's death at that moment. 

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WHO IS CHARLES JORDAN?

While these two siblings share this same mother, it became slightly confusing as to who the biological father of Wynonna was. 

It turned out that the man Wynonna thought was her dad for almost her entire life, Michael Ciminella, was, in fact, not blood-related to her at all. 

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Instead, a man named Charles Jordan, an ex-boyfriend to her late mother, left an 18-year-old Naomi when she was pregnant with Wynonna.

Wynonna only discovered this information in 1993 when she was pregnant with her son Elijah at 30 years old, who she conceived with ex-husband Arch Kelley.

Sadly, she never managed to meet her biological father in the flesh, as she planned to do so around a month before he passed away. 

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TACKLING FAMILY DEMONS

Besides Elijah, Wynonna also gave birth to her daughter Grace, with whom she has had a strained relationship throughout the years. In 2013, it got to the point where Ashley gained temporary custody of Grace. 

Ashley has also opened up about incest and abuse in her tell-all memoir. The actress spoke about her experience with depression too.

Grace fell into drugs as she grew older, finding herself behind bars. In 2020, she was sentenced to eight years in prison for violating her probation in a previous case related to methamphetamines.   

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In 2021, however, they were released on parole with the condition that she take part in multiple drug treatments and 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 for her drug use, Grace's mother embraces her daughter with unconditional love, emphasizing her child's strength.

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Like many, this family is plagued by demons, from suicide to abusing drugs and hiding one's actual relatives from one another. 

Ashley has also opened up about incest and abuse in her tell-all memoir. The actress spoke about her experience with depression too. 

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On top of their inner turmoil, growing up under a single mother who was then paid a nurse's salary proved challenging for everyone in the family.

Before the singer shot to fame, Naomi's children were said to have worn second-hand clothing and sometimes even gone without plumbing or electricity. 

With the release of her book, which she claims was healing, one of these sisters, Ashley, has been able to move forward using her memoir as a space for expression.

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MUSIC IN OUR VEINS

Wynonna also uses her art form, taking after her mother as a country singer. Meddling with melodies, as she opened up about only finding her brother later in life, 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 would say performing was like flying, akin to her country music daughter's passion for music.

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So, while Wynonna may never connect with her biological father, she can always find her mom on stage, where they can sing in harmony for that little while. 

Wynonna and her late mom connected over music early on, forming a musical duo. The Judds, under RCA Records -- This was just the beginning of a career inspired by her gifted mother. 

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

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