Ashley Judd Opens Up About Abuse In New Memoir
Growing up with a country superstar as a mother, Ashley Judd was introduced to fame at a young age. But the spotlight wasn't all it's cracked up to be. The 42-year-old actress and daughter of Naomi Judd details her family's experience with drug and sexual abuse, which have affected her to this day, in her new memoir All That Is Bitter & Sweet.
“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 wrote in an excerpt released on RadarOnline.com. “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.” Judd cited the rampant drug use in her home, writing “there was always marijuana inside the house” and that her father, Michael Ciminella, “was prone to taking hallucinogenics with friends on Saturday nights.”
Along with drugs, the Judd family was clouded by lies and mystery. Judd described her mother's efforts to lead Ciminella to believe that he was also the father of her sister Wynonna, when it was truly Charlie Jordan. After her parents’ relationship ended when she was a toddler, Judd’s mother moved in with an abusive, heroin-addicted partner. All of these decisions played an impact on the young girl. “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,” she wrote.
In one of her darkest of revelations, Judd described an experience with sexual abuse as a young girl. “An old man everyone knew beckoned me into a dark, empty corner of the business and offered me a quarter for the pinball machine at the pizza place if I’d sit on his lap,” she wrote. “He opened his arms, I climbed up, and I was shocked when he suddenly cinched his arms around me, squeezing me and smothering my mouth with his, jabbing his tongue deep into my mouth.” According to Judd, this early experience led her into a deep depression later in life. All That Is Bitter & Sweet is released by Ballatine Books on Tuesday April 5. –EMILY EXTON