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Naomi Judd Shares How She Found Strength to Overcome ‘Tragedy After Tragedy’

Grammy Award–winning singer, actress, and author Naomi Judd is one of country music’s most beloved icons. But despite her bright spirit and decades of success, Naomi has also battled illness, depression, and anxiety. Here, the dynamo catches up with Woman’s World about how she finds silver linings in every storm — and how family, friends, and faith make all the difference!

Sitting in the kitchen of her Tennessee home, Naomi Judd is the personification of a steel magnolia. A striking blend of beauty, grace, and fortitude, she smiles as she sits down with Woman’s World, just months after turning 75 — a milestone that has Naomi reflecting on all she has overcome.

“Thinking about the past, from abuse to hepatitis C, I can’t help but think, Well, I got through that!” she says. Once a struggling single mom, Naomi turned adversity into triumph when she and her daughter Wynonna forged one of the most successful careers in country music history as the duo The Judds. The pair shot to stardom as Naomi went on to add other accolades, such as actress, songwriter, and author, to her résumé.

But of all the hats she’s worn, Naomi is first and foremost a survivor. “I’ve had a hard life, with tragedy after tragedy,” she says. “But it gives me strength to face what comes next.” One such struggle is her battle against depression and anxiety. “It’s a disease,” she says of the invisible culprit. “But I found the perfect doctor for me and the right medication. And I’m doing real well!”

These days, Naomi is focusing on the positives in life, like her family, friends, her beloved dogs (Bijou and Maudie), helping others and her work, which includes her upcoming movie, Ruby. “With faith and family, there’s nothing you can’t overcome!” enthuses Naomi. Here, her secrets for living your best life, no matter what you face.

Find Your ‘Love Tribe’

“It’s important to have a group of people you love and trust,” Naomi says. “An archeologist once took me to his lab and showed me some ancient skulls. You look at them and you say, ‘How did they survive?’ They protected each other in tribes! My tribe is a group of good girlfriends I call the ‘Ya-Ya Sisterhood,’ after the book. We dress weird, with flowers in our hair, sit in a circle and everyone sings, dances and laughs together. It’s so fun. When you get a bunch of women together, there’s an incredible energy that illuminates any darkness!”

Nix Self-Doubt with This Phrase

“I’ve lived too long to put up with people who drain my energy,” Naomi laughs. “For anyone suffering with confidence issues, I say get rid of any energy vampires in your life! To restore my peace, I try to identify people who drain my self-esteem, then I assure myself, ‘I’m okay just as I am.’ Say those words to yourself in the mirror and say them constantly — it works wonders!”

Build Strength with Family Ties

“When I was given three years to live after I was diagnosed with hepatitis C, I realized I didn’t have any friends at the time,” Naomi recalls. “But then I read a book by Dr. Dean Ornish called Love & Survival (Buy on Amazon, $9.19), where he talks about the groups of people that live longer than they are supposed to — and it’s all because of family! I’m lucky because I have a loving husband and my girls live right nearby. Just having my family close is what’s most important — it keeps us alive!”

Beat the Blues with Furry Friends

“Laughter is one of the most important things in fighting depression and sadness,” Naomi says. “These days, my daughters are a great source of joy and laughter, but so are my dogs, Bijou and Maudie. We take them everywhere: They love to go in the car with us and are a source of fun and happiness every day!”

Dare to Dream

“I celebrated my 75th birthday a few months ago — and it was really hard,” Naomi admits. “You look back at the totality of your life and think of things you haven’t done. My bucket list has one thing on it: I want to finish playing Rachmaninoff’s ‘Prelude in C Sharp minor’ on the piano. It’s six pages and right now, I’m on page two. That’s my goal: Experience the joy of fulfilling that dream!”

Share Kindness

“We’re all searching for purpose in life,” Naomi says. “The way I do it is to go to the psychiatric hospital nearby to volunteer. I can’t practice as a nurse, but hugs are free and those kids need hugs! They need somebody to listen to them. They gave me a book that says ‘nothing can dim the light that shines from within,’ and I cherish it. It brings me so much peace.”

Don’t miss Naomi’s new movie!

Be on the lookout for Naomi’s latest film, Ruby, airing on March 20 on Lifetime (check local listings). “It’s the first of four movies to air on Lifetime based on V.C. Andrews’ popular Landry Family book series — which I found very inspiring!” Naomi gushes. “In it, I’m like a medicine woman trying to protect my granddaughter. I just really enjoyed being on this movie set and working on this — I hope viewers love it too!”

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