Skip to content

Naomi Judd Says Her Daughter Ashley "Could've Died" in Serious Accident

Ashley Judd endured a painful and life-threatening injury during a trip to the Congo.

In February, actor Ashley Judd suffered a terrible accident while visiting the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She "shattered" her leg, has nerve damage, and was sent to an intensive care unit in South Africa. Now, the 52-year-old is healing at at home, and her mother, Naomi Judd, has shared a new update on Ashley's condition.

In a Mar. 18 interview on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Naomi told the host that Ashley "could've died" due to the accident, and that she is helping to take care of her as she heals.

Read on to see what else Naomi had to say and about what Ashley has shared regarding the scary experience. And for another famous family, check out Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson's Son Is Following in Their Footsteps.

Ashley's accident was "very serious," Naomi said.

Naomi Judd on "The Kelly Clarkson Show"
The Kelly Clarkson Show/YouTube

While appearing on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Naomi mentioned that she had just spoken to her daughter, because she was soon going to take her to get her stitches removed. "I gotta take Ashley in the morning to get her stitches out after her catastrophic accident," she said. Host Kelly Clarkson asked, "It was a pretty bad one, right?" and Naomi replied, "Very serious. She could've died. And she's surviving. She's very courageous." She added that Ashley "can't get out of bed."

Previously, Naomi shared how her first career qualifies her to help her daughter recover.

Wynonna, Ashley, and Naomi Judd at the premiere of "Kiss the Girls" in 1997
Featureflash Photo Agency /

During an appearance on Watch What Happens Live on Mar. 11, Naomi offered to take out Ashley's stitches herself, because she actually is qualified to do so.

"She's very courageous, and she's healing," Judd said (via Today). "It's really hard to see her like this. She lives next door, so I'm going to go up and take her stitches out when we're done 'cause I used to be a nurse before I became a singer."

According to E! News, Naomi worked as an ICU nurse in Tennessee before her singing career took off.

For more on the Judd family, check out 10 Huge Hollywood Stars Who Live in Small Towns.

Ashley first spoke out about her ordeal last month.

Ashley Judd laying on a floor following her accident
Ashley Judd/Instagram

On Feb. 12, Ashley posted on Instagram that she suffered an injury while in the Congo. Ashley has traveled to the country multiple times to work on research of endangered bonobos.

She then spoke to New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof in an Instagram Live video from her ICU room in South Africa and shared more details. The Double Jeopardy star said that she tripped over a fallen tree and broke her leg. "I had a very powerful stride going, and I just fell over this tree," she said.

Ashley was in a forest and had to remain there for five hours until she was able to be transported out, first by being carried and then on a motorcycle. In the Instagram Live, she noted that she was privileged to be able to get the help she needed. "The difference between a Congolese person and me is disaster insurance that allowed me 55 hours after my accident to get to an operating table in South Africa." She also thanked the Congolese colleagues and others who helped her during the ordeal in a post explaining what happened.

For more celebrity news delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

She has continued to share updates on her slow but steady progress.

Wynonna Judd washing Ashley Judd's hair
Ashley Judd/Instagram

In an Instagram post on Mar. 6, Ashley said that she had gone through "seven hours of intensive, brilliant, inspired surgical work on my bones and nerve" and thanked her doctors and everyone else who worked at the hospital. She also gave a shout out to friends and family who were helping her with her day-to-day life. One photo shows her sister, Wynonna Judd, washing her hair.

Ashley also shared that she was starting physical therapy. "To all who have gone before me and walk beside me with physical therapy, I had no idea. Thank you," she wrote. "I am only at beginning and the combination of drowning in trauma and addressing the physical body is a lot. Yet you have done it, and so will I."

Read about more famous siblings like Wynonna and Ashley in 17 Celebrities You Didn't Know Were Siblings.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
Filed Under