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Watch Wynonna And Ashley Judd's Emotional Country Music Hall Of Fame Acceptance One Day After Naomi Judd's Death

The Judds perform at the 2022 CMT Awards.
(Image credit: CMT)

Just one day after country singer Naomi Judd’s death at the age of 76, the mother-daughter duo The Judds were inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Wynonna Judd — the pair's younger half — was supposed to take the stage with her mom on May 1 to receive the honor. And while it would have been perfectly understandable for all involved to pull out of the ceremonly, Wynonna took the stage accompanied by her sister, actress Ashley Judd, in tearfully paying tribute to the legendary singer. 

Watch Ashley and Wynonna Judds’ emotional tribute to their Hall-of-Fame mother below:

On April 30, less than three weeks after The Judds' now-final performance, Naomi Judd’s daughters released a statement confirming their mother’s death. No cause of death was given, but Wynonna and Ashley shared that, “We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness.” Naomi’s family requested that the Country Music Hall of Fame induction go on as planned, but the pain of their mother’s loss was still fresh as the sisters took the stage. Ashley Judd tearfully thanked the audience and relayed her mother’s appreciation for her fans:

My mama loved you so much, and she appreciated your love for her. And I’m sorry that she couldn’t hang on until today. Your esteem for her and your regard for her really penetrated her heart, and it was your affection for her that did keep her going in these last years.

The mother-daughter duo is known for such country classics as "Mama He's Crazy," "Why Not Me" and “Love Can Build a Bridge” — which fans may recognize from the documentary Framing Britney Spears as the song the young pop star sang on Star Search.  The Judds have sold more than 20 million albums and had 14 No. 1 singles. They have won eight Academy of Country Music Awards, nine Country Music Association Awards, five Grammy Awards and, as of May 1, are members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. The induction is well-deserved, and would ideally have inspired a night of celebrations for the family members, as opposed to the mourning period they're in now.

Ever the entertainer, Wynonna Judd elicited laughs from the audience members who'd gathered to honor her and her mother — first with her deadpan look at the crowd after Ashley Judd called her “a GOAT,” and then with a gentle joke at her mom’s expense:

I didn’t prepare anything tonight, because I knew Mom would probably talk the most. I’m gonna make this fast, because my heart’s broken. And I feel so blessed, and it’s a very strange dynamic to be this broken and this blessed.

Well if that doesn’t sound like a country song in the making… While Ashley Judd may be the family's most celebrated actress, The Judds also stepped in front of the camera periodically, particularly to help spread cheer around the holidays in the compulsively rewatchable Hallmark Christmas Movies. Wynonna appeared A Nashville Christmas Carol in 2020, and Naomi was in 2013's Winter Wonderland

Following news of Naomi Judd's passing, a representative for the singer released a statement (per TODAY) requesting privacy for the family — including Naomi’s husband of 32 years, Larry Strickland — as they process this difficult loss, saying no further details will be released at this time.

Ahead of the induction, Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum also released a statement, stating the sisters’ wishes to proceed with ceremony:

We are shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Naomi Judd, who enters the Country Music Hall of Fame tomorrow as a member of mother-daughter duo The Judds. Naomi overcame incredible adversity on her way to a significant place in music history. Her triumphant life story overshadows today’s tragic news. Her family has asked that we continue with The Judds’ official Hall of Fame induction on Sunday. We will do so, with heavy hearts and weighted minds. Naomi and daughter Wynonna’s music will endure.

Wynonna Judd echoed that sentiment in her acceptance speech. Their music will endure following the induction, just not in the way anyone expected when it was first announced. The Judds had recently announced their first tour in over a decade, a 10-date arena tour dubbed The Final Tour. It was set to run September 30-October 28. Wynonna hasn't announced what will become of that concert, but one way or another, her voice will continue to be heard:

Though my heart’s broken, I will continue to sing, because that’s what we do.

In addition to The Judds, Eddie Bayers, Ray Charles and Pete Drake were also inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on May 1. Our hearts go out to the family, friends and fans of Naomi Judd at this time. 

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.