On Thursday (September 28), Wynonna Judd was honored with the inaugural Country Champion Award at the first-ever People’s Choice Country Awards. It was an emotional night for Judd, who is still learning to overcome the reality of her mother Naomi Judd‘s suicide last year – Naomi died on April 30, 2022.
During her acceptance speech, Wynonna recalled her final moments with her mother after she was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside her home. Wynonna rushed to her mother’s house, but it was too late as she had already succumbed to her injuries – though she was pronounced dead at the hospital.
“I went to her house, and she died there, but we followed the ambulance anyway to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. And I walked into the room and I held her in my arms and I kissed her on the forehead, shut her eyes and said, ‘I love you, mom,'” she shared during her speech at the 2023 PCCAs.
Wynonna Judd and her mother, Naomi Judd, formed one of the most successful country music duos of all time – the mother-daughter duo rose to fame in the 1980s and were known as ‘The Judds.’ They released seven albums and had 14 No. 1 hits before disbanding in 1991 – when Wynonna began her solo career.
“And I walked out of that room, went home, got up the next morning and showed up at the Country Music Hall of Fame to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. You know why? Because that’s how much we love music regardless of what has happened to me and who I show up and I show out,” Wynonna continued.
In an interview with E! News on the red carpet prior to the awards ceremony, Wynonna Judd spoke about what it means to be honored with the Country Champion Award. “It means that my son and daughter realize how hard I’ve work and it pays off,” she said, referring to her two kids – Elijah, 28, and Grace, 27.
“It’s easy to stand up here with sparkles and hair and everything grand, but I’ll go home tonight and wake up, get on a plane and fly to Denver to do one show—because that’s what we do,” the 59-year-old country music legend continued – adding that she’s ‘turning my pain into passion’ as she moves forward.
Wynonna Judd Knows She’s the ‘Matriarch’ in Her Family Now
In November 2022 – roughly seven months after her mother’s suicide – Wynonna Judd spoke with E! News and talked about how she’s keeping the memory of her late mother alive. At the time, her family was preparing for their first holiday season without Naomi Judd – making it quite an emotional season.
I’m the matriarch now, so I’ve got my Naomi Judd cookbook and I’m going to be making the recipes as close to hers as I can possibly make them,” she said of her mother. She also revealed one of the many holiday traditions her mother instilled in her – reading the Christmas story about Jesus in the woods.
“She took us out in the woods and made us sit still in the cold and read us the Christmas story about Jesus. I used to complain about having to go to the bathroom because we had so much clothes on,” she said – adding that she’s ‘going to miss those times’ and revealing she plans ‘to do it to my grandchildren.’
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It has now been more than a year and a half since Naomi Judd committed suicide. Wynonna Judd and her sister, Ashley Judd, are getting ready for their second holiday season without their mother. Luckily, they have each other – and their respective families – by their side as they continue to honor Naomi.
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