Ashley Judd Opens Up About The Intensity Of Naomi's Struggle With Mental Illness

Ashley Judd is getting very candid about her mom Naomi Judd's mental health struggles. Naomi — who, alongside her daughter and Ashley's sister, Wynonna Judd, formed one half of the country music duo The Judds — died on April 30 aged 76. Ashley and Wynonna confirmed the tragic death of their mother in a statement posted to Ashley's Instagram, which read, "Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness. We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public. We are in unknown territory."

People's sources shared at the time that Naomi had long experienced mental health issues, before Ashley officially confirmed during an emotional appearance on "Good Morning America" on May 12 that her mom died by suicide. "I will share with you that she used a weapon. My mother used a firearm. So that's the piece of information that we are very uncomfortable sharing but understand we're in a position, you know, where if we don't say it someone else is going to," she explained to Diane Sawyer. The actor also shared that she was the one who found her mother's body.

Also during the highly emotional ABC interview, Ashley got very candid about her mom's mental health issues, as well as revealing the true extent to which she felt the effects of the disease.

Ashley Judd's heartbreaking mental health discussion

Ashley Judd spoke eloquently about her Naomi Judd during the touching "Good Morning America" interview, explaining to Diane Sawyer, "When we're talking about mental illness, it's very important to be clear and make the distinction between our loved one and the disease. It's very real. And it lies." Ashley described mental illness as "savage," pointing out it had such a strong hold on her mom that she couldn't even "hang on until" after The Judd's induction into The Country Music Hall of Fame (CMHOF) on May 1, one day after her death. "That was the level of the catastrophe of what was going on inside of her because the barrier between the regard in which they held her couldn't penetrate into her heart. And the lie that the disease told her was so convincing. I mean her brain hurt. It physically hurt," she added.

Ashley and Wynonna Judd attended the CMHOF ceremony together as they paid a highly emotional tribute to their mom. "I'm gonna make this fast, because my heart's broken, and I feel so blessed. It's a very strange dynamic, to be this broken and this blessed," Wynonna explained.

Tragically, Naomi spoke about suicide in 2018 an open letter for Mental Health Awareness Week. "For everyone mourning the death of someone who committed suicide, an inevitable question arises: Why did this happen? Unfortunately, we don't have very good answers," she wrote (via People). Our thoughts continue to be with the Judds.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.