Wynonna Judd Admits First CMT Music Awards Without Late Mom Naomi Is 'Bittersweet': 'I've Got Both Agony & Ecstasy Happening'

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Apr. 2 2023, Published 10:14 p.m. ET

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Almost one year after Naomi Judd died by suicide, her daughter Wynonna stepped out to attend the CMT Music Awards.

Given that the star-studded night marked Wynonna's first time at the award ceremony without her musical mom — with whom she formed The Judds in 1980 — the "Tell Me Why" songstress admitted her return was "bittersweet."

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Pointing out that her granddaughter will turn one later this month, Wynonna told a reporter, "I've got both agony and ecstasy happening."

During her emotional performance singing "I Want To Know What Love Is" with Ashley McBryde, Wynonna pointed to the sky and said, "Mama, you need to be here."

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After she took the stage, Wynonna admitted she was debating whether she should give a special shout-out to her mom on her anniversary, noting that the tragic marker of time isn't a unique one.

"I went back and forth between hitting a really high note and being a diva or saying what was on my heart, and it took over, so here we are," said Wynonna. "It's an anniversary and we all have anniversaries. I'm not terminally unique."

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Wynonna went on, "We all have something that we look at and go what the hell? What's going on? I don't understand and that was my 'I don't understand.'"

She added during the Sunday, April 2, event held at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas, that she would use the ceremony celebrating country's biggest artists as an opportunity to help others struggling with their mental health.

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"I'm going to use my time to talk to anyone out there who is struggling," the 58-year-old shared of her appearance at Sunday's awards. "It's an opportunity to help somebody."

Explaining, "I want to help people" after her mom died ahead of the 2022 ceremony, Wynonna offered, "Look at this face, if you're having a crappy day, and just think, 'If I can do it so can you,' because it's not easy."

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As OK! reported, Wynonna's mom died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in her Tennessee home on April 30. She was 76 years old.

Following the tragedy, Wynonna opened up about how she's been coping with the loss, admitting in October 2022 that her emotional state is "somewhere between hell and hallelujah."

ET spoke with Wynonna about her CMT Music Awards appearance.


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