Naomi Judd Reveals Battle With ‘Life-Threatening’ Depression

Singing a different tune: Naomi Judd revealed on Good Morning America Tuesday, December 6, that she’s been battling “severe depression.” For the last six years, Judd, 70, has been in and out of psychiatric wards and on heavy medication.

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“I would come home and not leave the house for three weeks and not get outta my pajamas, not practice normal hygiene,” she said. “My hands shake really bad … medication, nothing I can do about it. And my face, I feel like a balloon. My face is all swollen because of the medication. I really haven’t been eating ice cream and candy, I really haven’t!”

Asked by host Robin Roberts why she decided to share her story now, the country icon replied, “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 also shared some untold stories from her past. In her new book, River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope, she claims she was molested by a family member when she was 3 years old. “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 told Roberts.

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Naomi Judd depression
Naomi Judd

Judd previously battled hepatitis C, which caused her to end her country music career in 1991. Four years later, Naomi was told she was cured of the disease and continued performing with daughter Wynonna, 52, through 2010. Though the mother-daughter duo reunited last year for a Las Vegas residency, the “Why Not Me” songstress and her oldest child are “a little estranged from each other.”

“If she sees this, and I hope she does, ’cause the smartest thing is for all of us to feel known, no matter what’s goin’ on. Be truthful,” added the Kentucky native. “I think she’ll say, ‘Good for you, Mom, for finally being willing to talk about the bad stuff.’”

Younger daughter Ashley, who has also battled depression, has supported her mom, always offering a comforting hug when Naomi took the one-mile walk to her house. “Ashley and I are so stinkin’ much alike,” the Judds performer said of the actress, 48. “I mean we have the same mannerisms. We both read a whole lot. We both love new places. I mean, there’s such similarities.”

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Ultimately, Naomi wants her journey to give others hope, declaring on the morning show, “If I live through this, I want someone to be able to see that they can survive.”

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