The actress says ongoing molestation during her traumatic childhood made her think about suicide — and that her country star mother Naomi and sister Wyonna weren’t there to help her!
Ashley Judd seemed to soar effortlessly to the top ranks of Hollywood actresses — but she was haunted by dark family secrets stemming from her girlhood exposure to abuse, neglect and drug-ravaged adults, she writes in All That Is Bitter & Sweet, her shocking new book.
The star of Double Jeopardy, Kiss The Girls and Tooth Fairy says she felt unloved and unwanted as her mother Naomi Judd and sister Wyonna hit on the road to build their country-music career. That left her suffering from depression as a little girl.
“My mother, while she was transforming herself into the country legend Naomi Judd, created an origin myth for the Judds that did not match my reality,” Ashley, 42, writes, according to excerpts obtained by Radaronline.com.
Ashley’s parents divorced when she was just 4, and she says Naomi’s fights with boyfriends left her traumatized — especially when she saw Naomi pull a gun on a man. Ashley writes that she once loaded the gun herself, gave the chamber a spin and put it to her head!
One man who moved in with them was an “abusive full-blown heroin addict with a criminal record.” Ashley says that the chaotic atmosphere at home exposed her inappropriately to sexuality — and led to her being abused repeatedly. She writes that she was an incest victim but does not name her abuser.
Ashley also recounts being pulled into the dark corner of a pizza place by “an old man everyone knew” who then “offered me a quarter for the pinball machine at the pizza place if I’d sit on his lap. He opened his arms, I climbed up, and I was shocked when he suddenly cinched his arms around me, squeezing me and smothering my mouth with his, jabbing his tongue deep into my mouth.”
After winning a high-school beauty contest, Ashley was given a two-month teen modeling contract in Japan. What she hoped would be an escape from her horrific life turned into part of the continuing nightmare. One manager on the trip made sexual advances and a male model attempted to force her to perform oral sex. A Frenchman who gave her a ride tried to rape her in his car.
Now happily married to race-car driver Dario Franchitti, Ashley says she uncovered repressed memories after extensive therapy.
Naomi and Wyonna are preparing to star in a reality series on the Oprah Winfrey Network, starting April 10. The Judds will follow them on their final tour.
During a press conference to promote the show, Naomi told reporters she’s “only read the first couple” of chapters of Ashlely’s book. “As a mom, I want to honor her reality. I want to know my daughter,” she said, adding, “everybody’s going to have a different reality.”
— John Mancini