Naomi Judd is opening about her life-long struggles in her new memoir River of Time

By Char Adams
December 06, 2016 11:35 AM
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It’s been years since country music star Naomi Judd left the public eye. Now, the star is back and opening up about her life-long battle with mental illness.

“What I’ve been through is extreme. My final diagnosis was severe depression,” Judd told ABC’s Robin Roberts in an interview aired Tuesday on Good Morning America.

“Treatment resistant because they tried me on every single thing they had in their arsenal. It really felt like, if I live through this I want someone to be able to see that they can survive.”

Judd, 70, was part of a country music duo comprised of herself and her now-52-year-old daughter Wynonna Judd — The Judds. The Grammy award-winning pair rose to the top of the country music charts — but not without some struggles.

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Credit: Courtesy Naomi Judd

“They see me in rhinestones, you know, with glitter in my hair, that really is who I am,” she said. “But then I would come home and not leave the house for three weeks, and not get out of my pajamas, and not practice normal hygiene. It was really bad.”

Her condition has landed her several stints in psychiatric wards and on different medications — which she said has caused her hands to shake and her face to swell up “like a balloon.”

“I really haven’t been eating ice cream and candy,” she joked. “I really haven’t.”

Judd wrote of her troubles in her new memoir River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope, in which she tells about her struggles and her road to “radical acceptance.”

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Credit: Brien Foy

“Every day I exercised. I would walk up to Ashley’s house … and I would holler at her from her front step,” she said of her youngest daughter. “If she was home she’d come out and give me a hug. Ashley and I are so stinking much alike. We have the same mannerisms. We both read a whole lot. We both love new places. There’s such similarities.”

As for her relationship with Wynonna, Judd said the pair are on a “break.”

“Through the decades, we kind of grew up together and I’m always telling her, ‘If I’d known better I would’ve done better,’ ” she said. “Wy bore the brunt of all of the mistakes I made and we talk about ’em. We’ve been through a lot of therapy together.” The two grew apart during the filming of their 2011 OWN reality series The Judds and their final tour.

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“I love her but there are just times we need a break from each other,” Judd said of Wynonna. “We’re still a little estranged from each other. And that happens with mother, daughters. 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. I think she’ll say, ‘Good for you, Mom, for finally being willing to talk about the bad stuff.'”