Naomi judd hepatitis c

Singer Naomi Judd Speaks Out About Her Battle With Hepatitis C

Country music legend Naomi Judd recently opened up about her long battle with the hepatitis C virus (HCV), in a new guest column on Everyday Health. The article is worth a read for anyone living with the deadly liver disease today.
In the post, Judd, a long-time HCV advocate, explains that before she “made it” as a world-touring singer-songwriter, she was a registered nurse in Nashville, Tennessee, working mainly in the intensive care units of local hospitals. Because of the high-paced nature of her work, she was stuck “many times” with needles and exposed to body fluids while on the job.
In the early 1990s, after experiencing a long bout of fatigue, headaches and nausea while on tour, Judd decided to get a blood test. The star was subsequently diagnosed with non-A, non-B hepatitis, which is how doctors classified hep C before a comprehensive screening test for the virus came out in 1992. After getting liver enzyme tests, Judd was told that she had as few as three years left to live.
The singer chose to retire from her career in the music industry and eventually started on the first wave of interferon treatments. By 1995, after a long struggle with the side-effects-heavy drugs, Judd was declared “cured” of hepatitis C.
Today, Judd remains an outspoken ambassador for further hep C research. She currently has a SiriusXM radio series about hepatitis C called Think Twice and regularly speaks in public about her battle with liver disease.
To read her full guest column on Everyday Health, .

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Naomi Judd

Naomi Judd has lived a successful life comprised of several careers, singing and songwriting making her name synonymous with fame.

Originally a single mom from a small-town in Kentucky, she went on to become a nurse at intensive care units in Nashville, Tennessee where it was routine to be stuck with needles or get bodily fluids on herself.

In 1984, Naomi made a decision to leave the medical field and enter the more glittery and glamorous world of entertainment. She looked good and felt even better as she performed alongside her daughter and singing partner Wynonna Judd. Together they went on several tours and sang at the Super Bowl halftime, the London Palladium, Madison Square Garden and even Carnegie Hall. They sold 20 million records, made 15 #1 hits and received more than 60 awards including six Grammys and seven CMA Vocal Group of the Year trophies. They were unstoppable for five years until 1989, when Naomi started losing her energy at a drastic rate.

Naomi’s symptoms came in the form of exhaustion, headaches, nausea and muscle aches. She decided to visit one of the doctors she had known from years past and after an analysis was told that her ALT/AST liver enzymes were a little elevated. The doctor made nothing serious of it, as he believed that her strenuous lifestyle was most likely the cause. But knowing herself and her body very well, Naomi knew something was off. It was then that the head of her record label made an appointment for her at the Mayo Clinic where it was concluded that she had contracted Hepatitis C, most possibly from an infected needle while working as a nurse. She was given three years to live and was forced to say goodbye to her fans.

Initial treatment consisted of Interferon injections three times a week. Doctors advised the treatment would slow down the mutation and replication of hepatitis C but not cure it. The side effects were off-putting and comparable to a having a severe flu. There were times Naomi was so weak she couldn’t even get out of bed or change her clothes. With unwavering determination she continued treatment even when the hepatits C seemed to outwit the Interferon. Within a matter of time a newer version of the medication was released, and in 1995 Naomi received the call she had been waiting for and was told she was completely cured.

The experience changed her life and led her to become an advocate of health and wellness as a form of self-empowerment. In 2004 she published a New York Times bestseller “20 Choices to Transform Your Life,” and in 2008, “Naomi’s Guide to Aging Gratefully: Facts, Myths, and Good News for Boomers.” She has also had her own docu-series on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, and her own radio show “Think Twice” on SiriusXM radio series.

29 Years Ago: Naomi Judd Announces Her Retirement

Oct. 17, 1990, was undoubtedly one of the most difficult days for the Judds, and especially for Naomi Judd. It was on that date that Judd made the surprise announcement that she was retiring from the award-winning duo she had formed with her daughter Wynonna Judd, and from music entirely, because of her diagnosis of Hepatitis C — a potentially fatal disease that affects the liver.

The Judds were in the middle of their successful Love Can Build a Bridge Tour when then-44-year-old Naomi Judd was given the devastating news. “I have always told Wy and our fans the only thing that could stop me from this career that I so desperately love is my health,” Judd said (quote via the Los Angeles Times). “Unfortunately, that has happened.”

When Naomi Judd announced her retirement, it was also announced that Wynonna Judd would continue making music as a solo artist. The elder Judd was expected to step out of the limelight and focus solely on her health — but, to everyone’s surprise, including herself maybe most of all, her retirement became more of a resurgence. After the Judds wrapped their farewell tour in 1991, Naomi Judd became an active spokesperson for the American Liver Foundation and also created the Naomi Judd Education and Research Fund; she devoted much of her time and resources to education and support for those dealing with the deadly disorder.

In 1999, Judd starred in a TV movie, A Holiday Romance, and returned to the stage with her daughter, performing together for a New Year’s Eve concert in Phoenix, Ariz. She followed that performance by a marked return to the spotlight, joining her daughter on their cross-country Power to Change Tour in 2000 and appearing on several TV shows, including Hallmark’s Naomi’s New Morning in 2005 and as a judge on CMT’s Can You Duet in 2008. Judd also authored several books, including Naomi’s Guide to Aging Gracefully.

While it is uncommon for people with Hepatitis C to lead such a productive life, the Kentucky native says that a combination of conventional and alternative medicine, including taking plenty of vitamins each day and eating a healthy diet, helped cure her of the illness. “I feel strongly about antioxidants,” Judd says (quote via “I’m fortunate in that I live in the wilderness and have clean air and pure water. Any time I go into the city, I double my antioxidant dosages.”

Since Judd’s miraculous recovery, the mother and daughter have reunited onstage, in 2010, for their final tour, The Last Encore, and appeared together on a reality show, in 2011, on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network. Judd also acted in a Hallmark movie, Nearlyweds, in 2013, and continues to make appearances speaking about her battle with and recovery from Hepatitis C. More recently, in August of 2015, the Judds announced that they would be playing a residency, Girls Night Out, at the Venetian in Las Vegas, Nev.

See the Judds Through the Years

— — Naomi Judd is part of country music royalty who, with her daughter Wynonna Judd, skyrocketed to the top of country music fame as The Judds.

Naomi Judd, 70, is now revealing that six years ago, out of the spotlight, she began to battle a “completely debilitating and life-threatening” depression that led to several stints in psychiatric wards.

“They think, because they see me in rhinestones, you know, with glitter in my hair, that really is who I am,” Naomi Judd told ABC News’ Robin Roberts, speaking of her fans. “I’m sort of a fantasy ’cause I want to provide that for them.

“But then I would come home and not leave the house for three weeks and not get outta my pajamas, not practice normal hygiene,” she added. “It was really bad.”

Naomi Judd, who is also mother to actress Ashley Judd, details her battle with depression, anxiety and panic attacks in her new book, “River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope.” The book represents a comeback for Judd, not with music but with a powerful message.

“Because what I’ve been through is extreme,” Naomi Judd said when asked why she is going public with her depression. “Because it was so deep and so completely debilitating and life-threatening and because I have processed and worked so hard for these last four years.”

Naomi Judd said she thought in her dark moments, “If I live through this, I want someone to be able to see that they can survive.”

Naomi Judd retired from her country music career as The Judds in 1991 after revealing she was diagnosed with hepatitis C. She declared herself “cured” of the disease in 1998 and resumed some performances with her daughter Wynonna Judd in the years after.

‘Radical Acceptance’

The “Girls Night Out” singer said a part of her treatment for depression was to confront a difficult past that she said includes being molested by a member of her family at the age of 3 1/2 years old.

“I think that’s one of the reasons I wanted to write the book … because I never acknowledged all the bad stuff that people did to me,” she said.

Naomi Judd said her immediately family members were not there to help her so she was left to rely on and trust only herself at a young age.

“I had to realize that in a way I had to parent myself,” Naomi Judd said. “We all have this inner child, and I needed, for the first time in my life, to realize that I got a raw deal, OK, now I’m a big girl. Put on your big girl pants and deal with it.”

“I started in therapy and I call it radical acceptance,” she said. “Every day I exercised.”

‘A Little Estranged’ From Wynonna Judd

Naomi Judd said she would walk to her daughter Ashley Judd’s house one mile away and, if she was home, her 48-year-old daughter would come out to give her a comforting hug.

“Ashley and I are so stinkin’ much alike,” she said. “I mean we have the same mannerisms. We both read a whole lot. We both love new places. I mean there’s such similarities.”

Naomi Judd admits her relationship with Wynonna Judd, 52, is trickier.

“From the day I knew she existed, it was the two of us against the world and then through the decades we kind of grew up together, ’cause it was really just the two of us,” Naomi Judd said. “And I’m always tellin’ her, ‘If I’d known better, I would have done better.’

“So Wy bore the brunt of all of the mistakes I made and we talk about ’em,” she said. “We’ve been through a lot of therapy together.”

The mother-daughter act last toured together in 2010 and filmed a docuseries together, “The Judds,” on OWN that same year. Judd, who reunited with her daughter last year for the “Girls Night Out” residency at the Venetian in Las Vegas, says the pair are now “a little estranged from each other.”

“If she sees this, and I hope she does, ’cause the smartest thing is for all of us to feel known, no matter what’s goin’ on. Be truthful,” Naomi Judd said. “I think she’ll say, ‘Good for you, Mom, for finally being willing to talk about the bad stuff.’”

‘I Have Told My Story’

Naomi Judd said what she describes as the swollen appearance in her face and shaking in her hands are a result of medication to treat her depression.

“I really haven’t been eating ice cream and candy,” she said with a laugh. “I really haven’t.”

Naomi Judd said her treatment has gotten her to a place where she now finds joy in her everyday life. She writes in her book that she laughs a lot and is “content and at peace.”

By her side through it all has been her husband of 27 years, Larry Strickland, who has a message for the loved ones of people with depression.

“Get ready to walk that path with them, because they’re gonna need, they’re gonna need you every minute,” he said.

Naomi Judd has her own message for those walking the path of depression.

“I have told my story. Now you know and you can tell yours,” she said, reading a passage from her book. “You’re not alone. I am still here.”

You can visit the National Institute of Mental Health’s website to find general information about mental health and depression and a locator for treatment services in your area.

The 2019 Exchange: Featuring Speaker Naomi Judd

The 2019 Exchange connects key healthcare stakeholders, advocates and patients in an effort to create awareness and support patients in affording life-saving treatments that lead to more good days. We are pleased to announce Naomi Judd as a featured speaker during this annual event.

Naomi Judd is a tour-de-force. She made country music history and charmed Hollywood, but her story is far more than a heartwarming rags-to-riches tale. It is a quintessentially American lesson in perseverance and the life-altering power of positive thinking.

The single mom and registered nurse from small-town Kentucky first captured the hearts of the world performing with her daughter Wynonna. The Judds sold 20 million records, scored fifteen #1 hits, and received more than sixty industry awards, including six Grammys and seven consecutive CMA Vocal Group of the Year trophies.

But, the incredible journey of the mother-daughter duo was cut short when Naomi was stricken with Hepatitis C, a potentially fatal chronic liver disease that she contracted from an infected needle while working as a nurse. The Mayo Clinic gave Naomi three years to live, and in 1991, The Judds bid their fans farewell.

Instead of submitting to her devastating diagnosis, Naomi fought back, both physically and mentally. Today, she is more than a survivor. She is Hepatitis C-free–a medically documented miracle. Along with the combination of her medical teams and the unyielding support she received from friends and colleagues, she attributes much of her amazing recovery to her own stubborn optimism.

In addition to profoundly changing her life personally, the experience led Naomi to her current mission: to empower people through holistic health and wellness advocacy that incorporates the mind, body, and spirit.
Naomi’s tenacity, empathy, and intellectual curiosity have made her the ideal bridge between medical leaders and everyday people. She understands the concerns and fears of the single mom and the sick, the poor and the downtrodden, because she has traveled those same roads.

“My message is to help people understand that our thoughts can help us or hurt us,” Naomi says. “Whatever we believe becomes our biology.”

In 2004, Naomi published the self-penned Naomi’s Breakthrough Guide: 20 Choices to Transform Your Life, which remained on the New York Times bestseller list for more than eight weeks. Naomi’s Guide to Aging Gratefully: Facts, Myths, and Good News for Boomers hit shelves and impressed critics, medical professionals, and fans in 2008. In 2012, she hosted a six-week SiriusXM radio series entitled “Think Twice.”

The first national spokesperson for the American Liver Foundation and a current member of Dr. Andrew Weil’s board of directors, Naomi is a sought-after partner for social awareness campaigns and associations. She is also an accomplished children’s and cook book author, veteran talk show host, and versatile actress. Music and mentorship remain two of her deepest passions, evidenced when she helped launch CMT’s reality music competition Can You Duet in 2008 and 2009, along with her 2010 reunion with Wynonna, “The Judds: The Last Encore Tour,” chronicled by the hit docu-series “The Judds,” which aired on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network in 2011.

A devoted humanitarian and born activist, she also continues her work with the National Humane Society, River Cities Harvest, the Saint Louis University Liver Center, M.A.D.D., Parents Television Council, Make-A-Difference Day, Women’s World Peace Initiative, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and her own event, the July 4th Judd’s Annual Food Drive, which benefits the families of Appalachia.

Join Good Days for our 11th Annual Exchange! Learn more about the event by clicking here.

Remember When Naomi Judd Announced Her Retirement?

Naomi Judd stunned the music world when she abruptly announced her retirement in 1990 — but as it turned out, she didn’t really go anywhere.

Judd was 44 and on top of the country music world as one-half of the mother-daughter duo the Judds when she dropped the news completely by surprise on Oct. 17, 1990. Judd revealed that she had been diagnosed with Hepatitis C, forcing her to retire from the Judds and her music career to deal with the potentially fatal side effects of the disease, which affects the liver. She also announced that her daughter, Wynonna, would continue into a solo career without her.

“I have always told Wy and our fans the only thing that could stop me from this career that I so desperately love is my health,” Judd said (quote via the Los Angeles Times). “Unfortunately, that has happened.”

The Judds were in the midst of their Love Can Build a Bridge Tour at the time of Judd’s announcement, and they said what they thought would be their final goodbye to their fans on their Farewell Tour in 1991. But that did not turn out to be the last fans heard from either Naomi Judd or the duo — not by a longshot.

Naomi Judd became a spokesperson for the American Liver Foundation following her retirement, and she founded the Naomi Judd Education and Research Fund, which provided education and support about Hepatitis C. She starred in a TV movie titled A Holiday Romance in 1999, and returned to the stage for a Judds New Year’s Eve concert in Phoenix, Ariz, that year.

The Judds reunited for the Power to Change Tour in 2000, and again in 2010 for what they said would be their final tour, the Last Encore Tour. Naomi Judd has continued a busy schedule as a speaker, author, reality TV personality and more, and she attributes her revitalized health to a “mind, body and spirit approach” that combined conventional medicine with acupuncture, meditation and other alternative medicine, according to an interview with Lifescript. She says she’s been in remission since 1999, and uses the word “cured” to describe herself today.

See the Judds Through the Years

Naomi Judd is a Grammy-winning legend who’s been a part of the fabric of country music for decades. And while her life has been full of challenges and tragedies along with the triumphs, she’s always bounced back.

But in 2011, everything changed overnight. She’d just wrapped a tour with her fellow country music star and daughter Wynonna (Judd is also mom to actress Ashley Judd) when a hammer seemed to come down over her life, and she felt paralyzed.

Naomi Judd opens up about her struggle with depression

Dec. 5, 201704:16

“I didn’t get off my couch for two years,” she revealed on TODAY Tuesday. “I was so depressed that I couldn’t move … My husband (Larry Strickland) and my girlfriends and Ashley would come over and I would just go upstairs and lock the door to my bedroom … You become immobilized.”

Trending stories,celebrity news and all the best of TODAY.

It really did come out of nowhere, but that’s one of the points Judd wanted to emphasize: it wasn’t about being happy or sad, it was a chemical imbalance. She likened it to when the body ceases creating insulin in diabetic patients. “We don’t make enough of the good neurochemicals in the brain,” the 71-year-old said. “It’s a disease. It has nothing to do with our character.”

Still, it took a while before she realized she required professional help, by which time she admitted, “I was dangerously depressed.”

Naomi Judd reveals her struggle with depression: ‘I couldn’t get out’

Dec. 5, 201709:03

Suicide was an option she considered, even scoping out a nearby bridge. “That’s how bad it can get,” she said. “It’s hard to describe. You go down in this deep, dark hole of depression and you don’t think that there’s another minute.'”

Finally, her husband and Ashley called 911 “in the middle of the night” and Judd entered therapy. But it wasn’t an overnight fix. She explained she had severe treatment resistance and even underwent electroconvulsive therapy (ECT or “shock” therapy) to hopefully “jump start” the chemicals in her brain.

Once she stabilized, she decided to include her experiences in a new book, “River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope,” which she says is a “survivor’s manual about how to survive depression and anxiety.”

Center Street

As she noted, it’s about facing your challenges head on and not pretending they don’t exist. “One of the things that happens with depression is throughout my life I’ve had a lot of tragedies … and you just keep squelching it down, you just keep suppressing it and all of a sudden one day if you don’t deal with it, this starts coming out sideways.”

“River of Time” will be published on Dec. 6.

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Even 1 hour of exercise a week can help fight depression, expert says

Oct. 3, 201704:25

The Judds on How Their American Dream Became a Reality

by Samantha Stephens 8/14/2018

So many have dreams of country music stardom and glory, but sadly not all of those dreams will come true — and don’t think that realization is lost on Naomi and Wynonna Judd.

The revered mother-daughter duo is still in awe of their journey in music, and perhaps even more so now that they have their own exhibit in Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum called The Judds: Dream Chasers.

To fans, friends, family and peers, it’s no surprise whatsoever — but for these two blue Kentucky girls, who’ve famously weathered many personal and professional storms over the years, it still feels completely surreal.

The two toured their exhibit last week during an invitation-only media preview.

“In one of our biggest fights, we talked about which one of us would be institutionalized. So, here we stand together. I have not stopped crying all freaking day,” Wynonna told family and friends gathered at last week’s preview.

“I don’t know what to say,” she continued. “When you’re eighteen years old, you’re supposed to get an apartment, have hangovers, and be late on your rent. Yet, a dream come true—I share a bus with you,” she said to her mother, Naomi.

“Whoa. Thank you, God.”

For Naomi, seeing the exhibit brought back a flood of memories of the days before anyone knew who she was or the musical gifts that both she and her daughter share in spades.

“I was taking care of a couple bratty girls who were teenagers. I was trying to raise them with little money,” she said. “It was really rough, I have to say. But then one magical day, Joe Galante helped change our lives forever. Brent Maher helped change our lives forever and ever.”

Naomi, then a nurse at Williamson County Hospital, was taking care of Maher’s daughter Diana when their meeting occurred.

“I brought her pain shots on time, I was a really good nurse,” Naomi recalled. “I waited until they were discharging her from the hospital. I took our demo tape to Brent.”

The demo tape in question had been recorded on one tape recorder, where they then pressed play and recorded onto a second tape recorder.

“We were high-tech,” Naomi joked. “That was our audition tape. We didn’t need an 8×10 or a bio.”

The rest, as they say, is history, a storied journey we’re all familiar with, but the early parts of the journey before stardom, well, that’s the best part. And it’s fully captured in their intimate exhibit.

“It’s a real kick that we have this in the museum,” Naomi added. “Some mother’s keep stuff like a lock of hair, their first tooth, baby booties. I just kept every stinking thing there is. You’ll see it over in the museum. I am this close to being a hoarder!”

But don’t think that just because they’re in the museum that Wynonna is getting any ideas to retire.

“My son Elijah said to me yesterday, ‘I Googled you yesterday, Mom.’ They’re so into your phones and he said,’ You were really, really famous. I looked at your net worth. You’re really not worth that much, are you? I told him, ‘I’ve only just begun.’ What a legacy we leave behind,” she said.

“This moment in time will come and go. It’s hard to believe that tomorrow I will be back on the farm doing chores, but today we are standing here as people see us — the American Dream,” Wynonna said.

“It’s so weird, because you know that with Country Music, to our fans, we are family — and all of you are family. We spent more time with you than our own relatives, honestly. You and I have been through so much together – and we made it. We actually made it, and we did it together.”

Among the sweet artifacts found in the exhibit is a Valentine’s Day card a young Wy sent to Asleep at the Wheel harmonica player Johnny Nicholas, who was a family friend. Nicholas is responsible for the first suggestion of “Wynonna” as a stage name for the singer, born Christina Ciminella. In the note, Wy writes to him, “Everyone loves my new name. Just remember you gave me that wonderful name.”

The Judds: Dream Chasers is open until July 14, 2019.

Samantha is a country radio insider with a deep love for the music and its stars. She can often be found on a red carpet or at a late-night guitar pull.

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Naomi Judd says mental illness has kept her out of the spotlight in recent years.

“What I’ve been through is extreme. My final diagnosis was severe depression,” the 70-year-old singer said Tuesday on “Good Morning America.”

Judd said she has dealt with anxiety and severe depression since she and daughter Wynonna stopped touring as The Judds five years ago.

“(Fans) see me in rhinestones, you know, with glitter in my hair, that really is who I am,” said Judd. “But then I would come home and not leave the house for three weeks, and not get out of my pajamas, and not practice normal hygiene. It was really bad.”

Judd said her relationship with younger daughter Ashley has helped, she and Wynonna have drifted apart since they filmed a reality series, “The Judds,” in 2011.

Wynonna and Naomi Judd back together again in concert at the San Jose Arena on March 3, 2000.

“I love her but sometimes we just need a break from one another … We’re still a little estranged from one another, but that happens with mothers-daughters.”

Judd said her visible tremors and changed appearance are caused by medication. She’;s written a book about the experience, “River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope,” according to Page Six.

“If I live through this, I want someone to be able to see that they can survive because there are 40 million of us out there,” Judd said.

Naomi Judd

Naomi Judd’s Main Accomplishments Include . . .
From humble beginnings as a single Mom in a small Kentucky town, to her meteoric rise as a country music superstar and American icon, Naomi Judd’s incredible lifelong journey is an inspiring story of overcoming the odds through optimism and hard work.

Naomi Judd was first known to the world as half of country music’s mother/daughter duo, The Judds. Reaching unprecedented success throughout the 80’s and 90’s, The Judds sold 20 million records, scored fifteen #1 hits and received over sixty industry awards, including six Grammy’s and seven consecutive CMA “Vocal Group of the Year” awards and the ACM’s “Top Vocal Duet” award. At the pinnacle of their career, Naomi Judd was stricken with Hepatitis C, a potentially fatal chronic liver disease, incurred from an infected needle when she worked as a registered nurse, cutting short her musical career and forcing her into retirement to battle the disease. The Judds bid farewell to the fans in 1991, but Naomi Judd did not step out of the public spotlight for long.

Today, Naomi Judd is a survivor of Hepatitis C and served as the first national spokesperson for the American Liver Foundation. Using her fame, her experience as a former RN and her passion to help people, Naomi Judd has re-directed her energies into communicating her findings and research and educating audiences about the scientific link between mind, body and spirit in the healing process as a keynote speaker. A member of Dr. Andrew Weil’s board of directors, Naomi Judd advocates an integrative holistic approach to medicine along with the latest in modern technology. Naomi Judd helps to bridge the conversation between academia, medical communities and the everyday person about health and family-related issues whether her audience is the National Institutes of Health or a group of uninsured, single working mothers.

In 2004, Naomi Judd’s self-penned bestseller, Naomi’s Breakthrough Guide, 20 Choices to Transform Your Life, remained on The New York Times best-seller list for over eight weeks. In 2005, Naomi wrote her third children’s book, Gertie the Goldfish, and in 2006, The Transparent Life hit the shelves. Hallmark Channel tapped Naomi Judd to host, Naomi’s New Morning, a weekly talk show that aired 2005 to 2007. In 2007, Naomi Judd released yet another best-seller titled Naomi’s Guide to Aging Gratefully which was a message of empowerment to the millions of Baby Boomers in this country. She also served as spokesperson for Partners Against Pain, Post Cereal’s “Heart Health” campaign, Prilosec and AARP. And coming full circle to where the world first encountered this unique, captivating personality, Naomi Judd helped launch CMT’s reality competition hit, Can You Duet? as a talent judge.

More About Naomi Judd . . .

Naomi Judd continues humanitarian efforts including: River Cities Harvest, the Saint Louis University Liver Center, M.A.D.D., Parents Television Council, Make-A-Difference Day, Women’s World Peace Initiative, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and created her own July 4th Judd’s Annual Food Drive to benefit families of Appalachia. Described as the “Star Next Door” for her extraordinary talents and “tell it like it is” candor, Naomi Judd provides an authentic voice to communicate complicated issues that touch upon subjects ranging from health and wellness, aging, parenting, and the power of the mind, body, spirit connection.

In an exclusive interview with Closer Weekly, country legend Naomi Judd opens up about overcoming her incredible battles and how she is celebrating life now at 71 years old. “It’s a miracle that I’m still here! I don’t know how I’ve made it this far,” Naomi admits to Closer of her health. “But here I am, fully oriented to life, and an overachiever!”

She is well-known for conquering the country music world with her daughter Wynonna, but she’s also survived abuse, severe depression, a trip to the psych ward, and a 1990 hepatitis C diagnosis, during which doctors gave her three years to live. Naomi says the support of her family — daughters Wynonna, 53, and actress Ashley Judd, 49, and her husband of 28 years, singer-manager Larry Strickland, 71 — certainly helped.

Naomi and Larry in 2004.

Naomi reveals when she was first diagnosed with severe treatment-resistant depression and extreme panic disorder, that nothing worked. “Finally, with months-long therapy sessions, I figured out all the stuff I’d stuffed down my whole life,” she explains. “The first memory I had was being molested by my uncle. I was beaten and raped by an ex-con on heroin when I was 22. My great-grandfather was a mass murderer, and after his son became my grandfather, my grandmother murdered him.”

“Some brilliant experts on mental disorders helped me recover and realize how much control I have in my current life,” she tells Closer. “And after dealing with this, I’m now the healthiest that I’ve ever been!”

For more on Naomi, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for exclusive news!

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn.—Actress Ashley Judd, the star of more than 20 Hollywood films, including last year’s “Big Stone Gap,” spoke about her troubled childhood and mental health issues Friday at East Tennessee State University.

The 48-year-old actress, who appeared later Friday at a Frontier Health gala, walked in the Martha Street Culp Auditorium and declared, “Hi, y’all. I am Ashley Judd and I am recovering from depression and I have no shame.”

Judd, who now speaks across the country and writes about her experiences, says she was neglected and sexually abused as a child. Those experiences caused depression and thoughts of suicide, she said.

“When the Judds signed their contract with RCA, they went on the road,” she said. “And I stayed home. To be more explicit, I got left at home in a little clapboard house in Franklin, Tennessee, and I stayed in that house by myself for an entire year.”

With her family on the road, Judd said her sister’s boyfriend was supposed to look out for her, but she was basically alone.

“I did all kinds of inappropriate things and it’s a miracle that I am alive,” Judd said.

She eventually got in touch with her father and went to live with him in Fayette County, Tennessee. But he only stayed with her for about six weeks, she said.

“I lived alone for an entire year,” she said.

Judd can’t remember some parts of her childhood as she has blocked it out of her mind, she said.

In 2006, the actress went to the Shades of Hope Treatment Center in Texas, where her sister was receiving treatment for an eating disorder. It was family week and the facility’s staff asked her to stay.

“That childhood started to come up when I was in a safe place and I felt like I was paper mache and they were throwing buckets of water on me,” Judd recalled. “I couldn’t do anything about it.”

She took part in inpatient treatment for 47 days.

“I went into that treatment center and I proceeded to fall apart,” Judd said. “By the grace of God and the tools they gave me, I have been made new, I have been made whole and I have come back together in a way that is a standard-bearer for my entire family.”

Judd said her parents loved and adored her, but her childhood “sucked.”

“No parent says, ‘Hot dog, this is a great day to screw up my kid’s life,’” she said in one of the many moments that laughter erupted in the auditorium.

Judd answered a number of audience questions, including one about how to open up and get the necessary help. The actress said there are many professionals, including locally, who can help. Those suffering from depression must be able to seek help, she added.

University counselors were on hand for those needing assistance.

Twitter: @RSorrellBHC

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