Naomi Judd’s Family ‘Deeply Distressed’ After Tabloids Publish Death Scene Photos
Naomi Judd's family members are speaking out after several celebrity tabloids have posted photos of the late singer's death scene, as well as the contents of a note she reportedly left behind.
In a post to Ashley Judd's Instagram, the family lambast the most recent coverage of Judd's death as "the crudest monetization of a family's suffering and despair, and a flagrant, cynical disregard for public welfare."
How Did Naomi Judd Die?
Judd died from a self-inflicted gunshot on April 20, 2022, one day before she and her oldest daughter, Wynonna Judd, were slated for induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame for their work as the Judds. The ceremony went forward in her absence.
Why Did the Judd Family File a Lawsuit?
Naomi and Ashley Judd and Naomi's husband, Larry Strickland, filed a lawsuit that aimed to prevent media outlets and the general public from seeing and hearing details from the scene, as well as conversations recorded during the very vulnerable moments that followed Judd's death. Ashley Judd also wrote an op-ed in the New York Times, calling for reforms to laws which govern what information becomes public knowledge after a suicide death.
Why Did the Judds Drop Their Lawsuit?
According to the Associated Press, the family filed to drop the lawsuit in December of 2022 after journalists dropped their requests for photos and body camera footage from that day.
However, several celebrity tabloid outlets have gone ahead and published photographs from Judd's bedroom in recent days that depict her bloodstained sheets, as well as a gun on her nightstand. Those outlets also published the contents of a note she reportedly left, writing that Wynonna Judd should not be allowed to attend her funeral due to her own mental illness, as well as the contents of texts and conversations Ashley Judd had with Naomi's therapist that day.
The message on Ashley Judd's social media urges journalists to follow the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's suicide coverage guidelines, "both for public safety and to avoid re-traumatization of survivors of such a devastating tragedy."
"The note that was left came from the complex disease of mental illness and not from her mother's heart," the message continues, before ending with a plea to lawmakers and the public to support changes in the privacy laws that govern what becomes public record in an instance of death by suicide.
"The consequence of the law as it is presently serves only the craven gossip economy and has no public value or good," the family states.
Wynonna Judd has carried on with the Judds' planned Final Tour since her mother's death, enlisting an all-star female lineup to salute her mother's legacy in the shows. The tour has been so successful that she has added additional dates for 2023, with shows in January and February.