Ashley Judd is advocating for her family’s privacy. The actress published an essay in the New York Times’ “Opinion” section on August 31 detailing her stance against Tennessee laws that could publicize investigation files about her mother Naomi’s recent death. “The horror of it will only worsen if the details surrounding her death are disclosed,” Judd wrote. Naomi, one-half of country duo the Judds with her daughter Wynonna, died by suicide on April 30, and Judd previously opened up about discovering her mother that day. In her new statement, the younger Judd sister wrote that her family petitioned to keep files on her mother out of public domain. “This profoundly intimate personal and medical information does not belong in the press, on the internet or anywhere except in our memories,” she shared.
Judd went on to say that she “felt cornered and powerless” as she did four police interviews after Naomi’s death, adding that the interviews “felt mandatory.” “I want to be clear that the police were simply following terrible, outdated interview procedures,” Judd continued, noting that she felt “as if I was a possible suspect in my mother’s suicide.” She went on to call for reform in how police deal with trauma and investigate suicide, expressing worry that publicizing details of suicides could be triggering to people dealing with suicidal ideation.
When Judd revealed details of Naomi’s death on Good Morning America in May, she said she wanted to avoid “the gossip economy” and reiterated that stance in her essay. “We ask because privacy in death is a death with more dignity,” Judd continued. “And for those left behind, privacy avoids heaping further harm upon a family that is already permanently and painfully altered.”