"It is equally a deep violation of our right to a modicum of decency and privacy in death," said Ashley Judd.
Trigger Warning: The following article mentions death by suicide which some readers may find distressing.
The death of a loved one is never easy. It is even more difficult if they ended their own life. Ashley Judd also faced this. To add to her pain, tabloids released graphic images of her mother, Naomi Judd's suicide. After this, the Grammy-winning country musician’s daughter had to “double down” on the trauma therapy work that she did to grieve.
The actress, who spoke to The Guardian in an interview said, “I re-enrolled myself … just to make sure that my healing was concretized and stout and was going to hold." She revealed her need to resume EMDR illustrating the traumatizing effect such an editorial decision can have. Judd and her family are also trying to reform the state law that gave the media outlets access to the information.
“The dark past, in God’s hands, becomes our greatest asset,” Judd said of the legislative effort she’s helped mount. “With it, we can avert misery and death for others."
Naomi Judd fought a long battle with anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder but she died by suicide at her home on the morning of April 30, 2022. It was a day before she and her daughter Wynonna were to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville after a run that saw their duo, the Judds, rack up 14 No 1 hits, five Grammy wins, and more than 11 million album sales.
Ashley Judd found her mom on the day she died and called first responders for help. She did not realize, that photographs, officers’ body-worn camera video, and other evidence taken by police could be obtained through public records requests. Media outlets filed a request for this material and cited a Tennessee state law which they argued considered it a matter of public record.
Ashley Judd also released a statement on her Instagram, a week ago that detailed the distress her family is experiencing over the "irresponsible publication of and ongoing requests and details and images of our beloved mother and wife's death by suicide." "This so-called 'journalism' is merely the crudest monetization of a family's suffering and despair, and a flagrant cynical disregard for public welfare," Ashley Judd said. "It is equally a deep violation of our right to a modicum of decency and privacy in death."
"The note that was left came from the complex disease of mental illness and not from her mother's heart," she added. "We hope the public and elected officials now see, with us, the keen importance of strengthening and changing state privacy laws so that police reports in the event of death by suicide are not, in fact, public record."
"The consequence of the law as it presently serves only the craven gossip economy and has no public value or good," Ashley Judd said. Ashley Judd also opened up to Good Morning America about her mother's mental health struggles. "It's very real," she said at the time. "It lies. It's savage."
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Astrid Stawiarz