Remember the good times. After Naomi Judd’s April 2022 death, the country singer’s loving family will hold their special moments with her in their hearts.
Wynonna Judd Ashley Judd revealed their mother’s death in a statement on April 30. “Today we sisters experienced a tragedy,” they said in a joint message, shared via Twitter. “We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness. We are devastated. We are in deep grief. We know that her public loved us as much as we loved her. We are in unknown territory.”
Naomi was in a high school love affair with Charles JordanShe was a football player and got pregnant at 17. Her father was away so she got married to another classmate. Michael Ciminella1964. Naomi gave birth to Wynonna (born Christina Claire Ciminella in June 1964), forcing her to miss the graduation ceremony.
In 1968, Ashley was born in Los Angeles, and the new family moved from Kentucky. Naomi and Ciminella split in 1972. Naomi then moved the family back home to her home state. The single mother struggled to raise her daughters, while also working as a nurse. Naomi moved her daughters to Nashville after years of harmonies with her eldest. She was then offered a record deal by The Judds.
“Wynonna and I couldn’t talk to each other, but, low and behold, we could sing together,” Naomi recalled to in Ken Burns’ Country Music documentary. “Their songs were not just a balm between the two of us, but they were teaching Wynonna the history of country music.”
Naomi and Wynonna, who retired in 1991 as The Judds, were replaced by the singer. She remained close to her mother, as did the Heat actress. Naomi explained it in a 2014 episode Andy Cohen Live: Watch What HappensHer daughters still lived close to her.
Wynonna and Ashley expressed respect for the family patriarch.
“I embrace every day how fortunate I am to have a mother who is so proud of me and supports my every endeavor, my voice, leadership, and courage,” Ashley wrote in a January 2020 tribute to her mother via Instagram. “Whether she is hugging me and telling me how beautiful I was to her when I was born (and what a brown little baby I was) or telling me what an extraordinary woman I am today, or holding my hand in church, or picking me up from the airport (an endless errand) she is loving me well today and I am keenly aware of it.”
Wynonna, a woman who suffered from estrangement over many years, revealed her story in 2010. The Sault StarShe was focusing on her mom’s praises, having gained more empathy after raising her children, son Elijah, born December 1994, and daughter Grace, born January 1996. She shares this with her ex-husband Arch Kelley III.
“I think for a long time, she felt like a loner raising two babies in the wilderness,” the singer said. “I think giving her that validation and affirmation has really become my new thing and patting her on the head and saying, ‘You know mom, you’re a good mom.’”
When Naomi spoke to a Houston PBS affiliate, November 2021, Naomi had simple advice.
“[Parents should give kids]They were very generous with their time. That’s why I took them to the mountaintop in Kentucky without any stimulation,” she explained. “Like I said, without a TV or a telephone, and while we were planting a garden, while we were taking care of animals and hunting ginseng in the woods, sitting on the front porch, watching a storm come in from that mountain top, finding their ancestral roots — just the simple day-to-day things that give shape and definition to life, I guarantee you, the girls will say that was a magical time in their life.”
She added, “But also — and I learned this too late — if there was one thing I could change, it would be to listen more.”
The late, in addition to her two daughters, and two grandchildren. River of TimeAuthor is survived by her husband Larry StricklandShe was married to in 1989.
“We come from common backgrounds,” Naomi told Get closer2013. “Larry and I are both from a family of six, very blue-collar. He worked in the tobacco field every summer. My daddy owned a gas station and taught me the importance of hard work. Larry is the most humble person I’ve ever met.”
Scroll down to see photos of the Judd family over the years.