/Ashley Judd Shares The Last Words She Said To Her Mom, Naomi Judd, As She Was Dying

Ashley Judd Shares The Last Words She Said To Her Mom, Naomi Judd, As She Was Dying

Warning: The content below is graphic and includes discussion of suicide.

Ashley Judd says she felt empathy for her mother during the last moments of her life.

In 2022, the grief-stricken “Heat” star confirmed publicly that her mother, country music legend Naomi Judd, had died by suicide at age 76.

Over a year later, Ashley Judd reflected on the experience in detail with Anderson Cooper on CNN Audio’s “All There Is” podcast Wednesday.

“I … knew she was walking with mental illness, that her brain hurt and that she was suffering,” Judd prefaced her story 9 minutes into the episode. “But that didn’t necessarily prepare me.”

Judd then revealed to Cooper that she was the one who found her mother, and was the last person to speak to her.

“My mother’s death was traumatic and unexpected, because it was death by suicide and I found her,” Judd said. “My grief was in lockstep with trauma because of the manner of her death and the fact that I found her. What I needed to do first was vomit.”

“I held my mother as she was dying,” she continued.

Ashley Judd and Naomi Judd at a concert benefit in 1992.
Ashley Judd and Naomi Judd at a concert benefit in 1992.

Kevin.Mazur via Getty Images

Despite the traumatic nature of the situation, Judd told Cooper that she was “so glad that I was there.”

Judd recalled finding her mother’s body and saying, “Mama, I see how much you’ve been suffering and it is OK. It is OK to go. It’s OK to go. I am here. It is OK to let go. I love you. Go see your daddy. Go see Papa Judd. Go be with your people.”

“I just got in the bed with her and held her and talked to her and said, ‘Let it all go. Be free. All was forgiven long ago. All was forgiven long ago. Leave it all here. Take nothing with you. Just be free.’ And I did that for, I don’t know what it was, 14, 15 minutes, just held her,” she said.

“It’s an extraordinary blessing that you were able to do that,” Anderson told Judd, a sentiment with which the humanitarian and women’s advocate agreed.

Cooper began the podcast episode by reminding his listeners that a member of his family died by suicide — his older brother, Carter, who died in 1988 at age 23.

In June, Cooper paid tribute to his late brother on the 35th anniversary of his death in an Instagram post.

“I think of him, and miss him, every day,” Cooper wrote in the post.

During the journalist’s conversation with Judd, Cooper got emotional while speaking about his loss.

To hear the two speak frankly about their experiences, head over to “All There Is with Anderson Cooper” to listen to the full episode.

If you or someone you know needs help, call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org for mental health support. Additionally, you can find local mental health and crisis resources at dontcallthepolice.com. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention.

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