Ashley Judd Memoir Peels Layers Off Years Of Childhood Neglect
In Ashley Judds new memoir, All That Is Bitter & Sweet, released Tuesday, the actress writes candidly about her childhood, during which she says she was sexually abused and neglected by her mother, country music icon Naomi Judd.
The memoir was written with the consent of Judd’s mother and sister, Wynonna claims the actress, despite the fact that it reveals some unflattering family secrets.This could make for an awkward exchange at the dinner table next Thanksgiving.
The actress appeared on The TODAY Show this morning, where she chatted with co-host Meredith Vieira about the book, in which writes about her past rocky relationship with her singing star mom.
First of all, my mother loves and adores me and my dad absolutely loves and adores me; they did then, and they do now, said Judd, the star of box office dramas such as Kiss the Girls and Someone Like You. We came from a dysfunctional family system that didnt work very well. So, the kinds of things that happened to me are very typical and standard and indicative of a family system that doesnt work very well.
The younger Judd writes in one excerpt: “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. She and my sister [Wynonna] have been quoted as saying that our family put the ‘fun’ in dysfunction. I wondered: ‘Who, exactly, was having all the fun? What was I missing?’”
In the book, Ashley makes claims about past inappropriate incidences with her mom and stepdad Larry Strickland.
Mom and pop were wildly sexually inappropriate in front of my sister and me a horrific reality for me was that when pop was around I would have to listen to a lot of loud sex in a house with thin walls “ she writes.
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Ashley recalls that her father became prone to drug use after her parents’ divorce, and Naomi moved ia boyfriend with an “abusive full-blown heroin addict with a criminal record” into the Judd home.
“I was taught to believe that our lifestyle was normal and never to question it or complain, even when I was left alone for hours, sometimes days at a time, or when I was passed without warning to yet another relative,” Judd wrote. “I loved my mother, but at the same time I dreaded the mayhem and uncertainty that followed her everywhere … I often felt like an outsider observing my mom’s life as she followed her own dreams.”
The actress said a 2006 stint in rehab for depression inspired her to write the tell-all.
I just didnt know quite what was wrong with me, she said. I looked really good on the outside [but] I had a lot of anxiety and insomnia, and I realized eventually that I was really powerless over my childhood, and the coping strategies that I developed had made my adult life unmanageable.
Naomi issued a statement to TODAY, rallyng behind her daughter, even though the story of her life won’t win her any awards for Mother of the Year.
I love my daughter. I hope her book does well.
Im very grateful for my mothers exquisitely gracious attitude toward my right to share my narrative, Ashley told Meredith.