Ashley Judd: Naomi's Suffering Shouldn't Be Public Spectacle

In 'NYT' essay, she argues that police records about her mom's death shouldn't be unsealed
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2022 10:50 AM CDT
Ashley Judd: My Mom's Final Moments Should Be Private
A 2013 photo of Ashley Judd, right, and her mother, Naomi.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

The family of Naomi Judd wants the police records about her suicide kept sealed, and daughter Ashley Judd lays out the reasons why in a poignant New York Times essay. She writes that memories of discovering Naomi in her final moments "haunts my nights," while fears that the details of those moments will be made public "stalks my days." Investigators following "terrible, outdated" police protocol subjected her to four separate interviews that day, she writes, adding that in the shock of the moment, she "gushed answers" about Naomi's personal demons. Now, all those details might be made public unless a Tennessee judge rules otherwise.

As her mother's life was ending, "I wanted to be comforting her, telling her how she was about to see her daddy and younger brother as she 'went away home,' as we say in Appalachia," writes Ashley. "Instead, without it being indicated I had any choices about when, where, and how to participate, I began a series of interviews that felt mandatory and imposed on me that drew me away from the precious end of my mother's life." Naomi should be remembered for her "goofy humor, glory onstage, and unfailing kindness off it—not for the private details of how she suffered when she died." Read the full essay. (Read more Naomi Judd stories.)

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