Naomi Judd breaks down in heartbreaking interview about mental health before death as husband Larry gave sweet message

NAOMI Judd, country singer and half of famous duo The Judds, detailed her struggle with mental health in a heartbreaking interview before her death.

Judd died April 30 at age 76 from "the disease of mental illness", a statement from her family said. An official cause of death has not been given.

Daughters Wynonna and Ashley Judd said: “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.”

In a 2016 interview with ABC's Robin Roberts, Judd revealed the “completely debilitating and life-threatening” depression she battled.

Judd also documented her struggles in her book, "River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope."


Naomi Judd dies day before The Judds are inducted into Country Music Hall Of Fame

When asked why she was willing to talk publicly about her battle, Judd said, "because what I've been through is extreme.”

“Because it was so deep and so completely debilitating and life-threatening and because I have processed and worked so hard for these last four years.”

Judd recalls thinking, “If I live through this, I want someone to be able to see that they can survive.”


Judd said her struggles stemmed from being molested by a family member as a child.

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“I think that's one of the reasons I wanted to write the book … because I never acknowledged all the bad stuff that people did to me," she said.

Judd didn't have immediate family members there to support her, she said, so she had only herself to rely on.

“I had to realize that in a way I had to parent myself,” Judd said.

“We all have this inner child, and I needed, for the first time in my life, to realize that I got a raw deal, OK, now I'm a big girl. Put on your big girl pants and deal with it."

“I started in therapy and I call it radical acceptance,” she said. “Every day I exercised.”


In 2017, Judd said in an interview on TODAY that at one point, "I didn't get off my couch for two years."

"I was so depressed that I couldn't move. My husband and my girlfriends and Ashley would come over and I would just go upstairs and lock the door to my bedroom."

Judd added that she even contemplated suicide.

"That’s how bad it can get,” she added.

“It’s hard to describe. You go down in this deep, dark hole of depression and you don’t think that there’s another minute."

She said at one point, her family called 911 in the middle of the night to get her the help she needed.

Through different treatments and therapies, including electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), Judd was able to stabilize.

"One of the things that happens with depression is throughout my life I've had a lot of tragedies … and you just keep squelching it down, you just keep suppressing it and all of a sudden one day if you don't deal with it, this starts coming out sideways."


Judd's husband, Larry Strickland, stuck by her through the end of her life. The two were married in 1989.

At the time of the interview, when her book was being released and Judd was discussing her battle publicly, Strickland shared a message for those with friends or family who suffer from depression.

“Get ready to walk that path with them, because they're gonna need, they're gonna need you every minute,” Strickland said.

Judd shared a message of her own from her book.

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“I have told my story. Now you know and you can tell yours.

“You're not alone. I am still here."

You’re not alone

SUICIDE is the 10th leading cause of death in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Leading Causes of Death Report from 2018.

There were "more than two and half times as many suicides" in the US than there were homicides, according to the report.

For people ages 10 and 34, suicide was the "second leading cause of death" and the fourth for individuals ages 35 to 54.

Suicide is a vital health concern in the U.S. It affects all genders, races and ages.

This is why launched the You're Not Alone campaign.

The campaign calls on readers to discuss their mental health issues with their family, friends and health professionals. We can all pitch in to help out others who may be suffering and help save lives.

If you are struggling to cope, you are not alone. There are many free and confidential programs in the US aimed to help those who are struggling with their mental health.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health problems, these organizations are here to provide support:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline,, 1-800-273-TALK
  • Crisis Text Line,, Text HOME to 741741
  • Veterans Crisis Hotline,, 1-800-273-8255
  • Trevor Project,, 1-866-488-7386

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