Wynonna, Ashley Judd tearful at country hall of fame event


The late Naomi Judd was inducted Sunday into the Country Music Hall of Fame alongside her daughter and music partner, Wynonna, a day after the matriarch’s death at age 76. Through tears, Wynonna and her sister, actor Ashley Judd, accepted the honor on behalf of their mother.

“My mama loved you so much, and she appreciated your love for her,” Ashley Judd told the audience. “I’m sorry that she couldn’t hang on until today. Your esteem for her and your regard for her really penetrated her heart. And it was your affection for her that did keep her going in these last years.”

“While this is so much about the Judds as a duo, I do want to take a moment to recognize my sister — a G.O.A.T.,” she added, turning to Wynonna beside her. “Do you know what that means?”

(For anyone who doesn’t: G.O.A.T. stands for “greatest of all time.”)

“I know that we’re talking a lot about Mom tonight — as we should be. Our beautiful mother,” Ashley Judd continued, her voice breaking. Naomi Judd died Saturday near Nashville.

“I want you to know that you [Wynonna] also are being inducted to the Hall of Fame tonight,” she said. “Newspapers don’t get much right these days, but when the Los Angeles Times said you were Elvis-like, they got it right.”

During her turn to speak, Wynonna joked that she didn’t prepare any remarks because she knew her mother “would probably talk the most.”

“I’m gonna make this fast because my heart’s broken,” the singer said. “I feel so blessed, and it’s a very strange dynamic to be this broken and this blessed.”

In a statement, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum confirmed Saturday that it would move forward with the Medallion Ceremony immediately after Naomi Judd’s death. Joining the Judds in the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday were Eddie Bayers, Ray Charles and Pete Drake.

“We are shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Naomi Judd, who enters the Country Music Hall of Fame tomorrow as a member of mother-daughter duo the Judds,” Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, said Saturday.

“Naomi overcame incredible adversity on her way to a significant place in music history. Her triumphant life story overshadows today’s tragic news. Her family has asked that we continue with the Judds’ official Hall of Fame induction on Sunday. We will do so, with heavy hearts and weighted minds. Naomi and daughter Wynonna’s music will endure.”

Over the course of three decades, the Judds recorded 14 No. 1 songs, released six studio albums and collected a slew of country music and Grammy awards. Among their greatest hits are “Love Can Build a Bridge” (1990), “Mama He’s Crazy” (1984), “Why Not Me” (1984), “Turn It Loose” (1988), “Girls Night Out” (1985), “Grandpa” (1986) and “Rockin’ With the Rhythm of the Rain” (1986).

Not long before Naomi Judd’s death, the Judds performed at the 2022 CMT Music Awards and announced that their first concert tour in more than a decade would begin this fall.

“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy,” Wynonna and Ashley Judd said Saturday in a joint statement. “We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness. We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public. We are in unknown territory.”

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