Wynonna Judd will go on tour without mother Naomi Judd: ‘That is what she would want’

A woman with long, red hair holding a microphone and looking upward.
Wynonna Judd looks up after singing a tribute to her late mother, Naomi Judd, on Sunday in Nashville.
(Mark Humphrey / Associated Press)

Wynonna Judd announced Sunday that the Judds’ final concert tour will move forward without her late mother and singing partner, Naomi Judd.

During a TV special celebrating the life and career of the country music legend, Wynonna Judd vowed to “continue to sing” in her mother’s honor “because that is what [the fans] would want.”

Hosted by Robin Roberts, “Naomi Judd: A River of Time Celebration” aired Sunday evening on CMT. Naomi Judd died near Nashville on April 30 at age 76.


After the family initially announced that Naomi had died of “the disease of mental illness,” her other daughter, actor Ashley Judd, confirmed last week that her mother had committed suicide.

“Bono once told me, ‘Give [the fans] what they want — not what you want,’” Wynonna Judd told the audience Sunday.

“Plus, there are 2,500 roses up here. So tonight, as we close I say, ‘The show must go on.’ As hard as it may be, we will show up together.”

The Judds’ farewell tour will kick off Sept. 30 in Grand Rapids, Mich., and conclude Oct. 28 in Nashville. A full schedule and tickets are available on the country duo’s website.

On ‘Good Morning America’ on Thursday, actor Ashley Judd said her mother, country star Naomi Judd, used a firearm to take her life on April 30.

“You will carry me, as you carried me for 38 years, once again because I honestly didn’t think I should do it,” Wynonna Judd continued on Sunday.

“I didn’t know If I could go on without her. ... Life is so strange. It is so devastatingly beautiful what happened here tonight. We will continue this spectacle — that is what she would want, right?”

Among the entertainers who participated in the commemorative broadcast were Bono, Ashley McBryde, Brad Paisley, Brandi Carlile, Little Big Town, Bette Midler, Oprah Winfrey, Morgan Freeman, Reese Witherspoon, Salma Hayek and Martina McBride. Ashley Judd and Naomi Judd’s husband, Larry Strickland, also were in attendance.

Throughout the emotional evening, Naomi‘s family, friends and musical peers shared fond memories of and tributes to the beloved musician, who was recently and posthumously inducted alongside her daughter into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Wynonna Judd opened the show with a performance of “River of Time,” followed by a duet with Carlile of “The Rose.” Wynonna also closed out the night with a powerful rendition of “Love Can Build a Bridge,” which received a standing ovation at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.

Suicide prevention and crisis counseling resources

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, seek help from a professional and call 9-8-8. The United States’ first nationwide three-digit mental health crisis hotline 988 will connect callers with trained mental health counselors. Text “HOME” to 741741 in the U.S. and Canada to reach the Crisis Text Line.

“This is where Mom wanted her public celebration to take place,” Ashley Judd said at the top of the broadcast.

“Thank you for being in community and in fellowship with us. Because we can pretend to care, but we cannot pretend to show up. So thank you for showing up for our mom.”