The sad history of the Judd family

Naomi Judd along with her daughters, Wynonna and Ashley, have a truly complicated relationship. Together, they've experienced a number of ups and downs that have both brought them closer and divided them. Unfortunately, their dark secrets always returned to light, leaving these women battled and bruised in the public eye. While Wynonna and Ashley's struggles started in their childhood, Naomi's drama also started long before her legendary country-music career. Here's a wide-ranging round-up of their troubles, family dramas and tragedies.

Ashley was sexually abused

Ashley, 48, opened the doors to a painful and disturbing past in her 2011 memoir All That is Bitter & Sweet. In it, she reveals numerous incidents in which men took sexual advances against her, even as a young child.

Her disturbing accounts start as she describes being a 15-year-old girl modeling in Japan. "There was a creepy Frenchman who hung out at the bar… He offered me a ride home… I was so young and confused that I had no idea that what followed was rape," she wrote, according to Today.

And it just got worse as she continued to pursue her modeling career. "An adult male model who lived above me… attempted to force me to perform oral sex on him, and I was able to persuade him to stop," Ashley wrote in her memoir.

But her painful revelations didn't end there. Ashley confessed to being molested by a family member as a child. She didn't give any names, but says that trauma nearly drove her to suicide.

While Ashley certainly grew up in loving household, she also saw her mother and step-father, Larry Strickland, engage in inappropriate behavior. "Mom and pop were wildly sexually inappropriate in front of my sister and me," she wrote. "A horrific reality for me was that when pop was around I would have to listen to a lot of loud sex in a house with thin walls… I now know this situation is called covert sexual abuse."

In the time since Ashley's damning revelations, both her mother Naomi and sister Wynonna have confessed to being sexually abused by men in their lives as well.

Sisters who spy

In 2013, Ashley uncovered a tracking device on her car and immediately filed a police report suggesting her half-sister Wynonna, 52, was to blame, according to ABC News. Come to find out, the device was registered to a private investigator working for Wynonna. Police reports say the device was passed off from Wynonna to her ex-husband, Arch Kelley III, who tagged the car. In a bizarre twist, the car was never driven by Ashley, but by Wynonna and Arch's 17-year-old daughter, Grace. Ashley believed the device was planted due to an ongoing custody dispute between her and Wynonna as the girl was in Ashley's care.

According to another article by ABC News, Ashley released a statement about the family drama saying, "The issue at hand is the illegal violation of my privacy in that a tracking device was secretly and unlawfully placed on my vehicle. For my safety and that of everyone around me, I naturally filed a police report, as any citizen would and should."

She also slammed the police department for leaking details of the report to the media. "A very fine career detective has been suspended for a moment of poor judgment for succumbing to media invasiveness [sic]," she added. "It is my, and everyone's, responsibility to take routine action when any law is broken."

Wynonna's husband's arrest

In 2007, Wynonna's life would be changed forever after learning that her second husband, D.R. Roach, was arrested on child sex assault and battery charges. At the time, the couple had only been married for four years.

"My first response when it happened was, I am a mother first and foremost," Wynnona told Ladies' Home Journal (via People) after hearing the shocking details. Despite the news, Wynonna knew the type of man she married. She delivered a shocking confession saying, "I knew what I was getting into and I tried to change it. I knew that both Roach and I had issues with addiction when I married him. I know my life. I know the people I chose, I know why I chose them and I really thought that I could change people through loving them enough. It doesn't work that way." Five days after Roach's arrest, Wynonna filed for divorce. She claims that singular action "blew the door open to my soul."

Years later in 2010, Wynonna appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and gave an update. She confessed to knowing the victim and explained the healing phase had begun for his or her family. "They're in the [healing] process, and it's none of my business," she told Oprah (via CNN). "I had to separate from it or it would have killed me. I literally had to physically, emotionally and spiritually literally place them at the feet of Jesus."

She adds that Roach was in recovery. "He's sober, and that's all that matters to me now," she said. As for her personal life, she's trashed anything that reminded her of Roach's memory. "[I] haven't forgotten, but I have forgiven," she added. "Enough that I humanly can. I don't wish him dead or anything like that. I just wish to be one of those people that doesn't spend my life being defined by that."

Family diss

Important days like weddings usually call for heaps of family and fun. That wasn't the case for Wynonna, who tied the knot for the third time sans her mom and sister's blessing.

According to Us Weekly, Wyonna wed Cactus Moser in June of 2012, with only her children and her new husband's children present. No other family members were notified of the ceremony. What makes the situation so shocking is the close proximity the Judd family lives within each other. "Mom is at 11 o'clock, Ashley is like at 1 o'clock and I'm at 6 o'clock," Wyonna said of their home positions on the grand family farm in Tennessee.

"I didn't want it to be about anyone but Cactus and me," Wynonna said about not inviting others. "Because to me, at the end of the day, it's the children, Cactus, and me. I was so concerned about making this feel special for them, everything fell away."

She also claims her self esteem would have plummeted if her family was present adding, "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!"

Naomi's debilitating mental illness

Despite all the fame and country-music glory, Naomi's life hasn't been easy. In 2016, she confessed to suffering from terrible depression.

"What I've been through is extreme," Naomi, 70, told Good Morning America. "My final diagnosis was severe depression." The mental illness is so severe that no type of treatment or medication could treat it, she says. "Treatment resistant because they tried me on every single thing they had in their arsenal," Naomi explained. "It really felt like, if I live through this I want someone to be able to see that they can survive."

Naomi says there were times she'd come home off the road and be confined to her house for weeks on end — neglecting the very life she worked so hard to build. "They see me in rhinestones, you know, with glitter in my hair, that really is who I am," she explained. "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."

And as if that wasn't bad enough, treating her mental condition has taken a physical toll. The years of treatment and medication caused her face to visibly swell and her hands to shake.

Naomi's battle with hepatitis C

Long before Naomi was a music queen with cowboy boots, she was a nurse in Nashville, Tennessee. According to an article Naomi penned for Everyday Health, she worked in the intensive care unit, ICU, for years. During that crazy time, Naomi saw patients under dizzying circumstances and was accidentally stuck with a needle. It's unclear when exactly that incident took place, but her health began to decline in late '80s.

Namoi says in 1989 she began to lose steam and suffered from headaches and nausea. She chalked it up to her grueling tour schedule but later decided to see a doctor, who in 1991 diagnosed her with hepatitis C. She was given just three years to live.

After years on medication, Naomi emerged better than ever, reports the Chicago Tribune. "I'm cured," she told the newspaper in 1998. "I've not only overcome and survived, but I've thrived… When you are told by medical authorities you have three years on this planet, that you're going to be taking a six-foot dirt nap and that this is an absolutely incurable terminal illness, the sense of entrapment is so suffocating, so claustrophobic."

She owes her life to the experimental drug called alpha interferon.

Wynonna's food dependency

Over the years, the tabloids have ruthlessly kept tabs on Wynonna's weight — judging her every photo and commenting if she's gained any weight. But in 2003, Wynonna ran to Oprah in hopes of gaining control of her life and her eating habits.

"I've dedicated my life to country music, I home school my children, I worked three years on my record, I support, you know, 40 to 50 families, I have for 18 years, and I never stopped," Wynonna candidly said. "And I'm in trouble because I lost myself. I'm the woman who forgot to put herself on the list. And I'm real tired…I don't have it together. I'm losing my way here."

The country vocalist claims her weight drama started in her childhood after her parents divorced. "I had been so alone those years of my life my parents were divorced that I would get so hungry, I would get panicky," she said. Those bad habits followed her all the way through her teens. She reached her heaviest point in 1998 after divorcing her first husband, Arch Kelley III.

Some years later in 2010, Wynonna managed to grab control of her life, yet again. This time, dropping a whopping 55 pounds, according to People. But it was two near-death experiences — a devastating car crash and blood clot found in her lungs — that truly pushed her to success. "My weight was a symptom and not the problem," Wynonna said. "I used food to soothe and reward and I don't do that anymore."

Ashley enters rehab

In 2006, Ashley checked herself into the Texas-based rehab facility, Shades of Hope Treatment Center. She stayed a total of 47 days, seeking treatment for depression, isolation and co-dependency of relationships, according to Glamour (via People).

"I needed help," Ashley said frankly. "I was in so much pain." Her decision to seek treatment came in a rather peculiar way. Ashley was visiting sister Wynonna, who was getting help for food addiction when counselors approached her about the idea. "They said, 'No one ever does an intervention on people like you. You look too good. You're too smart and together. But you (and Wynonna) come from the same family, so you come from the same wound.' No one had validated my pain before," she recalled.

Who is Wynonna's father?

It's a popular opinion that no mother should ever hold secrets from her child — especially secrets that are life-altering. Naomi was guilty of said action when she withheld news that Wynonna and Ashley shared different fathers. Wynonna's father is Charles Jordan, according to ABC, not Michael C. Ciminella whom Naomi rushed to marry in 1964, the same year Wynonna was born. Michael and Naomi welcomed daughter Ashley in 1968.

"The first thing I said was, 'It's okay,'" Wynonna divulged to Oprah in 2003. "And of course I'm raging inside… and I've just now come to realize nine years later, I'm really angry. Being authentic and knowing who you are, not just what you do, is sacred and I'm doing it now, and all the work is painful."

Naomi opened up about her decision to keep quiet saying, "I don't know that I thought about it every day of my life, but there were certainly very few days that I didn't live with this secret and I think it does something to a child."

To make matters worse, Ashley confessed to knowing the dark secret long before anyone else. "I think not knowing the truth is what has messed her up rather than having found out," Ashley told Oprah. "I had more compassion and understanding for her because I knew. It's interesting that I didn't consider it my place to tell her."

Moving forward

There's no doubt the Judd family has had a rough ride over the last 25 years or more. The tabloids have had a front row seat at witnessing these elements destroy, and sometimes bring together, this troubled family. With so many dark secrets in the Judd family past, they're poised to move forward in the new light of a new year.