The Judd family is a household name across the country music industry. The family is amongst Hollywood’s A-List and is known as a package: “The Judds.” Two sisters and their mother – Wynonna, Naomi, and Ashley – have been pillars of entertainment since the 1980s. While Wynonna and Naomi Judd are known for sweeping the country scene and becoming one of the most popular country acts of the era. Ashley, however, has made waves as an Emmy-nominated actress.
These women are known for their entertainment, activism, and their strength over the years. From #MeToo activism to failing to invite their each other to a wedding, this family has gone through the ringer time and time again. They have shared their emotional struggle through the years in interviews, memoirs, and even tabloid captures. The family always comes out the other side. This is their story.
The Judds may have different stories, but trauma can be shared among family members and between generations. In a memoir published in 2011, All That is Bitter & Sweet, Ashley Judd opened the floodgates to show the world her disturbing past. The story shared numerous incidents of abuse she dealt with over the years.
The book shares her firsthand accounts of sexual and physical abuse at the hands of multiple people throughout the years. Unfortunately, this abuse spanned across different perpetrators throughout her experiences. She was hurt by family members, colleagues, and supervisors and shared her memoir’s emotional details. She has shared intimate details that might make anyone feel sick.
Scandal follows this family through and through. From accusations of family drama to hiring private investigators against sisters, this family is filled to the brim with intrapersonal issues. In 2013, Ashley Judd found a tracking device on her car. When she filed a police report, she felt it was necessary to suggest her half-sister Wynonna had been the person behind the tracker.
It was believed that the tracker was passed on from Wynonna to her ex-husband, Arch Kelley III, who tagged the car. Strangely enough, the car wasn’t even being driven by Ashley but by her 16-year-old niece Grace. Grace’s parents, Wynonna and Arch, were dealing with an ongoing custody dispute. Grace was living with her aunt Ashley at the time of this incident.
Husbands Stirring the Pot
Wynonna Judd’s life would be forever changed in 2007 after news came out, her second husband, D.R. Roach, was arrested on child sex abuse and battery charges. Though the report was next-level shocking, she told Ladies Home Journal that she knew the type of man she had married, unfortunately. Going into the marriage, she knew they were both a work in progress, and she had hoped she could change his ways.
After first hearing the news, she instantly thought of her child. Though she wanted to work with Roach to change his ways and help him get to a better place, she knew he had the potential to be destructive in her life. She thought she could change him by loving him, but it didn’t seem to be reality. A few days after Roach was arrested, Wynonna Judd filed for divorce.
Weddings Without Family
In one of Wynonna’s many weddings, she decided to go around the family and was wed without her family’s blessing. When she married Cactus Moser in June 2012, she only had their children at the wedding. She did not even notify her sister or mother of the ceremony!
Her reasoning explained that she only wanted the wedding to be about her and her new husband. She believed that she would be scrutinized by inviting her sister or mother, and her self-esteem would plummet. “If I know Ashley, she would have re-positioned my dress, or mom would have given me a Kleenex to stuff in my bra, or told me, I have something in my teeth. I just didn’t want that. I just wanted to get married,” she told Us Weekly.
Battling Mental Illness
Fame and fortune don’t solve all of our problems in life! Regardless of her career successes and associated glory, Naomi Judd struggled with bouts of severe depression. This information was shared with the public when the Judd sister appeared on Good Morning America. She claims it is so powerful that it is untreatable.
Though she had every option for treatment within her reach, she was resistant because no type of medication seemed to work. Years of therapy and medication took a physical toll on her, causing her face to swell and her hands to shake. She hoped to use her personal experiences with depression to show others that they can too if she could get through it.
Unfortunately, Naomi Judd continued to experience health problems through the years. When she was accidentally struck with a needle in the ICU where she worked before her life as a country star, her health quickly deteriorated. In the late 1980s, she began to lose steam and could tell that something was wrong.
After she began her music career suffering headaches and nausea, she believed it was just related to her touring schedule. She finally consulted a doctor, and in 1991, she was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. Doctors had given her only three months to live. She miraculously passed this. She told the Chicago Tribune that she was cured in 1998.
Naomi Judd says she owes her life to a drug called Alpha Interferon. She stated she is one of the lucky 20% of patients whose body is now free of hepatitis C, only after the use of this treatment. Success in her field allowed her to gain access to this life-saving treatment.
She expressed her relief and happiness about her personally positive outcome in an interview with the Chicago Tribune “I’ve not only overcome and survived, but I’ve thrived… When medical authorities tell you, you have three years on this planet, that you’re going to be taking a six-foot dirt nap and that this is an incurable terminal illness, the sense of entrapment is so suffocating, so claustrophobic.”
Addiction to Food
Over the years, Wynonna Judd has been at the center of body weight comments from the tabloids. While it’s always easy to express thoughts based on pictures, we never really know what’s going on behind the scenes. She consulted with Oprah to discuss her eating habits and her attempts to get back in control of her life.
Her eating issues came shortly after her parent’s divorce when she was a child. She described loneliness that would be filled by eating to soothe the panic that would come with those emotions. The dietary habits followed her through her teens, and she was her heaviest when she divorced her first husband, Arch Kelley III.
Ashley Judd had a less than ideal childhood, jumping around between family members’ homes and changed schools constantly, going to 13 schools in 12 years. She tried to present herself as perfectly behaved, which ended up catching up with her and impacting her mental state. She hit a boiling point in 2006 when she checked into a rehab center.
She sought assistance from a Texas-based center, Shades of Hope Treatment Center. She sought help for emotional issues she was dealing with – namely depression, isolation, and co-dependency. She was hurting, and when she came to visit her sister Wynonna, who was dealing with food addiction at the time, counselors from the center approached her and suggested the idea to work out her pains in their program.
Naomi Judd hid the life-changing news that the two had different fathers later in her daughter’s lives. She had initially withheld the information from both her daughters and the public but revealed later that Wynonna’s father is a man named Charles Jordan. He passed away in 2000 in Louisa, Kentucky.
Ashley Judd’s father is Michael C. Ciminella, who married Naomi Judd in 1964, the same year that Wynonna was born. The couple welcomed Ashley in 1968. While Naomi may have had her reasons for holding the information from her children, she eventually decided that it needed to be shared for her daughter’s benefit.
Ashley Judd has been making headlines as part of the #MeToo movement, speaking out about sexual abuse and assault experiences. She was the first actress to speak out against Harvey Weinstein, a captain of the entertainment industry. She contributed to the bombshell New York Times report on the disturbing issue.
This exposé contained allegations from 40 other women in the entertainment industry with similar experiences. If it weren’t for her bravery to share such a traumatic experience, there’s a chance the now-convicted criminal would continue to hurt other women. Thank you for your courage, Ashely Judd – women across the world are grateful for you!
Trouble For Grace
Addiction can often be linked to genetics, so it is unfortunate yet not so shocking when multiple people in a family deal with substance abuse as well. Wynonna Judd was arrested for a DUI in 2003, and a decade or so later, her daughter followed suit. This time, however, Grace Pauline Kelley was arrested in 2015.
Her daughter was arrested for promoting meth manufacturing in a Walgreens parking lot in Nashville, Tennessee. A witness saw Kelley throw a bag of meth out of a passenger side window, or rather a bag with supplies used to make the drug. The bag contained a box of pseudoephedrine and a receipt for the purchase of Coleman fuel.
Trouble With The Law
Kelley had managed to have her charges adjusted from felony to misdemeanor after pleading guilty to her drug possession. Later, though, Radar Online reported that she was arrested only a year later for being a “fugitive from justice.” She lost her probation privilege, and her case was moved to drug court.
She pleaded guilty to manufacturing, selling, delivering, and possession with intent. She also even tried to evade her arrest! This failed effort got her some extra time in jail, more extended probation, and an additional 180 days in court-ordered rehab. She somehow left early and was slapped with an eight-year sentence.
Cactus Rides On
Wynonna Judd seems to have a thing for bad boys. Her husband, Michael Scott Moser, known as “Cactus,” endured a terrifying accident that almost killed him. In 2012, the two set out on a motorcycle ride, CNN reported, before a concert of theirs in Deadwood, South Dakota. The two rode separately, and what happened changed his life.
Cactus Moser drove his motorcycle and collided with an oncoming vehicle. He sustained severe injuries and had to have his leg amputated! She had run back to see him, and he wasn’t moving, and referred to his first breaths after as “the most beautiful sound in the world.”
After the Accident
You may think that a life-altering accident may scare someone out of living their lives, but also, everyone is different! Judd returned to her tour around a month later. Around a month later, he returned to touring himself. This guy had a comeback story for the ages.
Cactus managed to have a mindset that many strive to have. His wife told Entertainment Tonight something memorable – “one day you lose your leg, the next day you go on tour.” We hope you had a safe and easy recovery, Cactus! Not many people can return to life as smoothly as that!
Ashley Takes the Stage
This family has loved and lost. They have made the best of their bad days and worked to overcome them. Some members of the family wanted out and wanted a change. Ashley expressed that she wanted to do something different from an early age and break out on her own.
She told The Telegraph that she wanted to “blow out of town and join the Peace Corps, or bail on that and head to Hollywood.” As we know, she headed into the acting world; she remained close with her family, though she had expressed wanting to get far from her family and the drama that followed.
Moving On, Together
Their family relationship was strained for a while, both publicly and privately. However, the family has seemed to move past issues here and there. In 2016, Naomi told OWN that their relationship had changed over time. She reflected kindly at their recent efforts to improve feelings between them.
She talked about how she loved her daughter Ashley coming through the back door of her home, sitting on the couch in the kitchen, and sharing everything happening in her life. She claimed that her daughter described being at home with her family as her favorite place in the world.
Emmys and Golden Globes
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to find out that this family has managed to stack their many awards. Ashley Judd alone has managed to stack nominations and awards to prove her ability and worth in the entertainment industry. She has been nominated for the Emmys and Golden Globes. Any victories?
To answer that question, yes – she did have some victories. Though she has only been nominated for the Golden Globes and Emmys, she has won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Actress in her role in Ruby in Paradise and quite a few Blockbuster awards! Talk about a throwback.
Ashley Judd is known for some memorable films in her career. She played Ann Dunham, Barack Obama’s mother, in the 2016 Netflix film Barry and made appearances in other notable films throughout her career. She was in the Divergent series from 2014 to 2016. and appeared in a pretty popular series…
This girl is also known for her role as Beverly Paige in Twin Peaks. She played the secretary to a main character in the show and made intimate moves to investigate her boss. She also appeared in a feel-good family film, Dolphin Tale 2.
A Saga: The Many Marriages of Wynonna Judd
As some say, love is a journey. They call it finding love for a reason! If it wasn’t evident from the many marriages of the rich and famous, Wynonna Judd is a living ode to taking a shot at love. She’s had a saga of husbands to date, with some kids along the way.
Like many throughout time, she faced some marriage successes and failures. Some might say it’s unstable, and we think it’s just a search for our missing piece. Read on to take a dive into her marriages in the past and how her love life is going now. Whatever works for you, Wynonna!
Arch Kelley III
There isn’t a ton of public information about her marriage to Arch Kelley III. Together, the pair thrived for some time and ended up having two children together. He was a businessman and the father of her only two biological children. Though times were tough, she managed to see it light with jokes.
In a TODAY Show story, she recalled a conversation with her long-lost sibling. Catching up, she laughed and said something to make light of a tense situation. “I’ve got two children. They’re grown. You know, I’ve got one on parole, one on patrol, baby,” she joked. We love humor to deescalate situations!
This marriage was a little harder to share information about because it might just break your heart. Her first marriage ended in divorce in 1998, and she was soon remarried. In 2003, she remarried D.R. Roach, who later proved to be the last type of person she’d like to have around.
D.R. Roach was her former bodyguard. While the two were married he was charged with aggregated sexual battery against a minor. The person she had known might be a threat ended up proving to be. She took flight for her kids, and he was out of the house within an hour of her finding out.
These through have been through everything and then some together. The two said “I do” on June 10th, 2012; they were on cloud nine. Little did they know that they were going to soon face a major traumatic event together.
Months after she walked barefoot down the aisle in the sand, he had been in a motorcycle accident and had his leg amputated. He bounced back and continued to tour a year and a half later. The two are still married! For better and for worse, through thick and thin.
Did you know that Wynonna Judd also has a brother? The two connected later in life. She recounted in an interview with TODAY that she found out that her father, who left when her mother became pregnant with her, had fathered a child with someone else too. She learned this while she was expecting her son Elijah.
The two are about three years apart in age. They reconnected after she learned that her father was not her father. Her half-brother lives in Kentucky, where the star herself was born. We love a wholesome reunion!
Ashley Judd Doesn’t Want Kids
This famous actress has vocalized her strong beliefs and clearly knows what she wants. She does not have kids herself and has expressed that she won’t be having them at any point in the future. She reflected on her choice in her 2011 memoir, All That is Bitter and Sweet.
She’s firm on her stance, having told the Sunday Mail back in 2006 that “it’s unconscionable to breed with the number of children who are starving to death in impoverished countries.” In her book, she elaborated and expressed her responsibility to help all kids across the world as her own.
In February 2021, Ashley Judd suffered from a traumatic injury while she was spending time in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The actress joined an Instagram Live session with a New York Times reporter from her hospital bed. She had been transferred to an ICU in South Africa because the Congo didn’t have adequate resources.
Judd went on to explain that she had shattered her leg in four places and suffered nerve damage. She tripped on a fallen tree in the forest after her headlamp malfunctioned. She expressed how grateful she was for her privilege to get the medical attention she needed- she highlighted many Congolese people’s lack of access to “a simple pill to kill the pain.”
Elijah Judd is one of Wynonna’s two children. He was born in December 1994 in Nashville, Tennessee. He is the older of Wynonna’s kids. He recently got media attention when he proposed to his long-time girlfriend. His outfit choices might not match ours exactly…
Elijah Judd proposed to his girlfriend of 7 years in front of family and friends but added his twist. He was decked out, wearing his favorite print — camouflage! Wynonna celebrated her son’s engagement with slides of photos on her Instagram account. She was ecstatic to see him move in that direction.
Most of the information available about Wynonna Judd’s daughter, Grace Pauline Kelley, is centered around her harsh history of getting in trouble with the law. She is more than just a celebrity’s daughter who dealt with substance abuse and went to jail; she’s someone working through the throws of life!
As it turns out, Grace supposedly went missing for several days when she had a flight layover en route back from boarding school. She was 15 at the time. Years before she’d go to prison for procurement and sale of hard drugs, she had been at the center of her parent’s messy custody battle. This girl has not had the easiest go at things!
Ashley’s Activism Abroad
Ashley Judd suffered through a horrific accident abroad that left us all shattered… literally! What was it that brought her to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, anyway? She noted at least a couple of reasons why she was there but primarily centered conversations on the research camp they ran.
Her trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo was focused on promoting an endangered species. In an Instagram post, she discussed her love for Bonobos, then went onto describe them. “Egalitarian, matriarchal, peaceful, social stability girded by female collations, they offer hope for humans. They are endangered. We have a small research camp. I am accustomed to being there.” It looks like she is inspired by these apes!
Miraculous Survival Story
Ok, so sure — we’ve already covered that she got into a wild accident. However, there are some details that we hadn’t quite added that make her survival even more impressive, and some that make us so grateful for not being in her shoes.
The star shattered her leg in four places and had unfortunately suffered from nerve damage. After she tried, she and her colleague spent five hours on the forest floor. Her leg was badly misshapen, and the pair remained there while she was “biting a stick and howling like a wild animal” before they were evacuated, via hammock, to medical treatment.
At Home With Naomi
In an interview with Oprah, Naomi Judd reminisced on unique family moments with her daughters. Through the interview, she recalls that even with six Grammys and a one thousand acre farm, her family is still the only thing she needs. After, she took Oprah through her farm, and guess what she saw?
Both of her daughters own homes on the farm’s land! In the great room, she has a movie theater setup with a concession stand. She’s also got a round table for meals because she wants everyone to be able to see each other.
Naomi Judd explained in her interview with Oprah that it only took 60 seconds to get from her door to Ashley’s door. It would take 5-6 minutes to get to her eldest daughter Wynonna’s. Wynonna said she loved living next to her mother, but some people are into that!
Wynonna continued to take her mother to a lake on their property. Wynonna described it as the one place that she could come to and be who she is. The family spends time at their lake whenever they’re able to.
Choosing to Live
People see Naomi Judd and think that her rhinestone, completely done-up facade means that she’s always in tip-top shape and feeling her best. Unfortunately, that’s not the most realistic view of any person! Naomi suffered from drug-resistant depression. When she interviewed with ABC’s Nightline, she shared some shocking details.
Her depression brought her to a point where she wanted to end it all. When thinking about how she wanted to proceed with her depression, she thought about the details of who would be affected. She recalled that if she were to jump off of a bridge, she knew the park ranger who would have found her and dealt with it. She didn’t want to put that pain on anyone and moved on.
The Many Homes of Ashley Judd
Twin Peaks actress Ashley Judd lived in quite a few homes growing up. She changed schools more than ten times, and with that, she changed homes. Though she defines herself as Kentuckian, she was born in the Granada Hills section of Los Angeles. They moved the following year to West Hollywood.
The Hollywood actress’s life would change when her parents divorced in 1971 when she was three. As a result, Ashley along with her sister and mother, moved homes a whopping thirteen times over twelve years. She recalled both haunting and profound memories of the houses with an interview with the Wall Street Journal in 2017.
On The Comeup, Together
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this family has been through it all together. Despite highs and lows, something that every family deals with, they’ve come out stronger and still love each other. Wynonna and her mother actually built their country music career together from the ground up.
The pair landed a star on the coveted walk of fame in 2020. The successful country duo overcame so much together after Naomi learned she was pregnant with Wynonna when she was just seventeen years old. She gave birth to her daughter two weeks before her high school graduation ceremony.
Strength in Spirit
It turns out that even the stars have to overcome struggle sometimes! Naomi Judd moved to Los Angeles with Wynonna before Ashley was born. A few years later, she got divorced and moved her daughters back to small towns across Kentucky. She would soon enroll in nursing school.
Wynonna recalled her days of poverty with her family before they made it big. In their small community, she stated that if they “didn’t make it or grow it, we didn’t have it.” Wynonna and her mother would diffuse tensions by sitting on the back porch by the fire, playing guitar together.
It was actually through Naomi’s nursing career that helped the country star take off. Naomi moved her children to Nashville, Tennessee, because she believed her daughter had a gift. She began working as a nurse there. One of her patients helped the duo land an audition at RCA in front of a studio head.
Her nursing days were spent as an Intensive Care Unit nurse. Not only did she have tough experiences as a nurse, but she also had a tough battle as a patient experiencing hepatitis C in the 1990s.
Moving to Nashville
Naomi Judd packed up her family and headed off to Nashville to showcase her talents in the world of country music. The proud mom saw the talent her daughter was capable of and wanted to highlight it however she could. The two were offered a record deal just hours after meeting with studio heads in Nashville.
While she initially wanted to be in the city, Naomi felt it would be best to bring her daughters to nearby Franklin, Tennessee. She thought the quiet suburbs would do the family some good. The family would spend time at Dotson’s, a now-closed restaurant in the neighborhood with tons of photos of country music singers. Eventually, their own family photo would appear on the wall of country stars!
In their lengthy careers, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Judd family has taken home some Grammy awards through the years. These country ladies have collected awards like they’re collecting chips at a casino! Can you guess the specific award count?
These talented ladies have managed to bring home five Grammy awards for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. They have also taken home eight Country Music Association awards. In their fantastic career as a duo, they had 25 singles on the country music charts between 1983 and 2000. An impressive 14 of those singles made it to number one! Now Wynonna is embracing a solo career. Good luck in the future, ladies!