Diana Ellen Judd was born to Charles Glen Judd and wife Pauline in Ashland, KY. Her father owned a gas station. At the young age of 18, Diana Judd was a mom with a baby girl to rear. Diana named her daughter Christina Ciminella. She was married to a man named Michael Ciminella. He was not the father of her first daughter. She had a second daughter Ashley. The marriage with Ciminella came to an end, and she raised the two daughters as a single parent. She worked as a nurse in a local infirmary. For entertainment at home, she would sing with her girls. When her oldest daughter relayed her dreams of becoming a country music singer, mom moved the family to Nashville, TN.
Like so many artists, Christina Ciminella performed under a different name. Wynona Judd was the name she used for her country music career. She had received a guitar as a Christmas gift before moving to Nashville; and she learned to play it. Her mother, Diana also performed under a different name. Naomi was the fantastic contralto voice which underlined her daughter Wynonna’s tuneful drawl. The “Judds” were on their way to acquiring a super stardom beyond their wildest dreams.
They signed with RCA in 1983. By 1984, the Judds scored their first of No. 1, with “Mama He’s Crazy”. This would prove to be just the beginning of their famous career in country music. Other big hits and Grammy winning pieces were: “Why Not Me”, “Turn It Loose”, “Girls Night Out”, and “Rockin’ With the Rhythm of the Rain”.
In 1991, the Judds’ reign came to an end with the news of Naomi’s diagnosis of Hepatitis C, a potentially fatal chronic liver disease. It forced her into retirement. After selling more than 20 million albums and videos in the seven year recording period, the Judds were saying goodbye to country music as a duet Their “Farewell” tour was the top grossing act and most successful musical event in cable pay-per-view history.
After the Judds disbanded, Wynonna set out for a solo career in country music. She was a huge success. Naomi created the Naomi Judd Education and Research Fund to raise awareness of the deadly Hepatitis C virus. She also used her own experience as spokesperson for the American Liver Foundation.
Naomi and Wynonna did a special New Year’s Eve concert at the America West Arena in Phoenix, AZ in 1999. Ashley Judd served as the emcee. In 2000, The Judds embarked on their “Power to Change Tour”. They performed to over 300,000 people in thirty states. This famous duo was nominated for the prestigious Academy of Country Music’s Top Vocal Duo of the Year in 2001.
The Judds were reunited for a concert in 2008 at the Stagecoach Festival in Indio, California. They also did two shows in Canada. They performed at the CMA Music Festival in Nashville in 2009.
Each of these ladies has moved on with individual careers. Ashley Judd is a big star on film and screen. Wynonna is a solo country music artist with many awards and prestige to her credit. Naomi is still active with fund-raising, awareness programs; she still supports both of her daughters in all their endeavors. Country music fans around the world will forever remember the short-lived, but illustrious career of the country music duo that stole many hearts.