Naomi Judd Reveals Her Struggle With ‘Life-Threatening’ Depression & Sexual Abuse

Good Morning America

Country music’s sweetheart Naomi Judd has continuously been known for musical talents and her lavished lifestyle. However, while the public had yet to see Judd in anything but jewels and praise, the singer admitted that she has struggled with quite the opposite. Opening up to Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts to openly disclose her battle with depression and accepting her heartbreaking encounter with sexual abuse. 

As her career transitioned to retirement, the “Why Not Me” singer began one of the darkest of her battles, visiting several psychiatric wards due to her crippling depression and anxiety. Judd has been overwhelmed by medications that not only cause her to shake against her will, but continues to swell her face in what she explains as feeling “like a balloon.” Despite her setback, the singer jokes that her new looks isn’t due to eating ice cream and candy.

Judd tearfully admits that although her glamorous image was her genuine identity, her depression left her at home for weeks on end and incapable of normal hygiene routines. “It was really bad,” she said. Upon being asked why she is finally coming forward with her struggles, Judd explained,

“Because what I’ve been through is extreme. My final diagnosis was severe depression, treatment resistant because they tried me on every single thing they had in their arsenal. I really felt like if I live through this, I want someone to be able to see that they can survive because there’s 40 million of us out there.” 

While her depression is a barrier she continues to overcome, Judd admits that she had to face a gut wrenching event from her childhood to begin her process to recovery. At the young age of 3 1/2 years old, Judd was molested by her uncle. “I was a cute kid,” she explained. “I smiled and laughed. I was very obedient.” The singer references one particular photo in which she is young and full of personality and life. She transitions to speak of a contrasting photo in which she was asked to stand next to “Uncle Charlie”, the man she accuses of sexually abusing her. “Grandmommy Judd made me stand next to Uncle Charlie, and my personality is completely changed… I look like I’m disgusted and terrified.” 

Judd spoke directly when she said, Nobody was there for me. I had to realize that in a way I had to parent myself… I needed, for the first time in my life, to realize that I got a raw deal. Okay, now I’m a big girl. Put on your big girl pants and deal with it. And I started in therapy.”

She took this opportunity to accept the cards she had been dealt, calling her experience “radical acceptance” and putting her energy in exercising and walking to her famed daughter Ashley Judd’s house for a loving hug when she was home.

Judd’s journey not only inspired her family, but others who have heard her story. Her new book “River of Time: My Descent Into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope” is available now.

You can watch her interview below.