Also Credited As:Wynnona
|Actor, Producer, Music|
|May 30, 1964|
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She was born Christina Claire Ciminella on May 30, 1964 in Ashland, KY, named after Michael Ciminella, the man whom her mother married after Judd's biological father, Charles Jordan, abandoned the family. Her mother, registered nurse Naomi, gave birth when she was just 18 years old. Judd had a younger half-sister named Ashley, who went on to act in critically acclaimed films such as "Heat" (1995) and "Kiss the Girls (1997). As the eldest of Naomi's children, Judd was largely influenced by her mother's love of country music. In 1979, Judd moved to Nashville, TN with her mother in pursuit of a professional music career. RCA Records signed the mother-daughter duo in 1983 and released their debut album, Wynonna & Naomi that year. They topped the album charts with their sophomore release, Why Not Me, which spawned the No. 1 singles "Mama He's Crazy" and "Why Not Me." Fueled by their sweet melodies and Southern charm, The Judds earned their first Grammy Award in 1985 for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for "Mama He's Crazy" and went on to dominate in the same category for the next several years. They also won top honors during the 1980s and early '90s at the Academy of Country Music (ACM) and Country Music Association (CMA) awards. In 1990, The Judds released Love Can Build a Bridge, their final album as a duo, which scored another Top 10 for the title track.
Contracting hepatitis C at the age of 46 forced Naomi to shockingly retire from the music business, opening the door for her daughter to pursue a solo career. She released her self-titled debut in 1992 and once again hit the top of the country charts with the lead single, "She is His Only Need." Her follow-up album, Tell Me Why (1993) peaked at No. 1 on the country album chart and yielded five consecutive Top 10 singles, including the Mary Chapin Carpenter-written track, "Girls with Guitars." Her powerful vocals and commanding stage presence helped Judd succeed as a solo artist. She added producer to her résumé with her fifth album, New Day Dawning (2003), where she explored other genres of music, including even rock and dance pop. The album included the singles "You Are," which was previously featured in the soundtrack of Judd's sister Ashley's film "Someone Like You" (2001), and "Flies on the Butter (You Can't Go Home Again)," which Naomi sang backup vocals on. Judd gave acting a try several times throughout her career, landing guest-starring roles on the drama series "Touched by an Angel" (CBS, 1994-2003) and the comedy "Hope & Faith" (ABC, 2003-06).
Her success in the entertainment industry eclipsed the tumultuous relationship between Judd and her mother. Even though Judd sang lead vocals, it was widely reported that Naomi essentially ran the show throughout their career as a country duo. The family matriarch controlled every aspect of their work and often criticized Judd's performances and personal life. The singer also had a lifelong battle with her weight, a subject that her family never discussed until 2004, when she appeared along with Naomi and sister Ashley on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Judd's public cry for help prompted her mother to confess on the show that she was aware of her daughter's health issues, yet she did not try hard enough to help her. Such personal and candid interviews were just one of Judd's 17 appearances on Winfrey's hit daytime talk show, where she (often with her mother) revealed the bickering with Naomi, her dependency on food and alcohol, and sibling rivalry.
The new millennium brought an onslaught of personal dilemmas for Judd; from a DUI arrest in 2003, to her filing for divorce in 2007 after her estranged husband D.R. Roach was charged with three counts of aggravated sexual battery against a minor. Judd published two New York Times bestsellers: a candid memoir in 2005 titled Coming Home to Myself and the novel "Restless Heart" in 2011. In April of that year, Judd and her mother reunited for the docu-series "The Judds" on Winfrey's network, OWN. Cameras followed the outspoken mother-daughter duo as they prepare for their first tour together in 10 years. Days before the show premiered, Judd's sister Ashley released her memoir All That is Bitter & Sweet (2011) and claimed as a child, she was a victim of sexual abuse and incest by an unnamed family member. During a promotional appearance on "The View" (ABC, 1997- ), Judd and her mother Naomi revealed that they were also victims of sexual abuse while growing up.